The Rockies beat up a struggling Philadelphia Phillies team over the weekend, sweeping a series in the City of Brotherly Love for the first time in the history of the club.
Game 1: Rockies 4, Phillies 1 – The Rox bested Phillies’ ace Cole Hamels behind a strong start from Chad Bettis, and a 4-4, two-home run, two-RBI day from shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Hamels, who had earned a win against Colorado at Coors Field on May 18, pitched well, but was outdueled. Bettis went the distance, pitching eight scoreless innings while allowing only two hits and striking out seven. He issued no walks en route to his second victory of the season. Tulo got things started early with a solo shot in the first inning off of Hamels. In his next at-bat in the third inning, Tulo smacked his fourth homer of the year, another solo shot off of Hamels. Rookie Ben Paulsen, who’s hitting .350 for the Rockies this season, hit a two-run shot in the ninth inning to give the Rockies a 4-0 lead. The Phillies scored their lone run in the bottom of the ninth, an unearned run with closer John Axford on the mound.
Game 2: Rockies 5, Phillies 2 – Colorado took game two courtesy of a strong start by Eddie Butler and long balls by third baseman Nolan Arenado, catcher Michael McKenry, and Paulsen. After the Phillies got to Butler early and scored a run in the first inning, Arenado answered with his 11th home run in the second. McKenry launched a solo shot of his own in the same inning to give the Rox a 2-1 lead. One run was all the Phillies would get from Butler. He went six innings, giving up a lone run on four hits while walking one and striking out three. The Rockies added two more runs in the seventh inning thanks to a solo shot from Paulsen and an RBI-single from pinch-hitter Rafael Ynoa. Arenado added one more in the eighth with an RBI-single but the Philadelphia answered, scoring a run off reliever Rafael Betancourt. But Axford came in and shut the lights off on the Phillies, pitching a scoreless ninth and notching his ninth save of the year.
Game 3: Rockies 4, Phillies 1 – Although Rockies starter Jordan Lyles only lasted 1⅓ innings, Colorado completed the sweep thanks to a first inning Arenado two-run home run and an extended relief appearance by Chris Rusin. Lyles, who aggravated a toe injury while dodging a line drive off the bat of the Phillies’ Cody Asche in the second inning, left the game shortly after. Enter Rusin. After allowing a run, which was credited to Lyles, Rusin shut the Phillies down, pitching 4⅔ innings of relief, allowing four hits while walking one and striking out two. The Rox ran into trouble in the seventh. Brooks Brown relieved Rusin in the seventh with the bases loaded and no outs. But Brown held things together and preserved the lead, striking out three in a row to end the inning. After Christian Friedrich pitched a scoreless eighth, Scott Oberg came in and earned his first Major League save by blanking the Phillies and helping the Rockies to a sweep.
After a disastrous start to the month, the Rockies have bounced back to end May. Winners of seven of their last eight games, they begin a four-game series with the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers starting Monday night. Kyle Kendrick will square off against Clayton Kershaw and first pitch is scheduled for 6:40 PM MST.
Contact CU Independent Rockies Beat Writer Justin Guerriero at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @TheHungry_Hippo