DENVER (AP) — Ezequiel Tovar lined a go-ahead triple in the fourth and the Rockies beat the Houston Astros 4-3 on Tuesday night in a bullpen game where Colorado used seven pitchers.
This had all the hallmarks of a high-scoring Coors Field affair when it was 3-3 after the first inning. But the pitching took over and the only run allowed after the early fireworks was courtesy of Tovar, who lined a shot off the fence in right-center to score C.J. Cron.
Reliever Jake Bird was roughed up for three runs as he opened the game on the mound for the Rockies. From there, the bullpen surrendered just five hits. Fernando Abad (1-0) earned the win by recording four outs. Justin Lawrence picked up save No. 6 with a perfect ninth.
The Astros finished 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position and hit into two double plays.
Kris Bryant and Ryan McMahon provided the offensive pop in the first with back-to-back homers off Hunter Brown (6-7). Brown settled down after a rocky start and lasted 5 1/3 solid innings.
Chas McCormick, the reigning AL player of the week, had a run-scoring single and a walk for Houston. He was coming off a weekend in which he hit .636 with three homers and five RBIs.
Astros manager Dusty Baker spent a relaxing off day Monday by fishing for trout in a river near Vail, Colorado.
This game at Coors Field — the Astros’ first visit in more than two years — wasn’t nearly as restful for the longtime skipper.
Leading 4-3 in the sixth, the Rockies were looking to add some insurance runs with one out and runners on second and third. Nolan Jones was called for a time violation on a 3-2 count and given a third strike. Tovar then struck out on a Ryne Stanek slider to end the threat.
McCormick lost a high fly to left from Cron in the night sky during the sixth inning. McCormick attempted to dive for the ball at the last moment but it hit off his glove for what was ruled a double.
BAKER VS BLACK
Long before they were managers, Bud Black and Baker squared off against each other as players on June 11, 1985. Black, a left-handed pitcher for Kansas City, kept Baker, an Oakland outfielder, hitless in four plate appearances, which included a strikeout.
“Did he?” Baker asked when told that Black struck him out. “He might have. I was at the end of my career.”
Astros: Baker remains hopeful that lefty Framber Valdez (calf cramp) can make his next start. “He knocked on my door, gave me a wave, a smile, so he must be feeling pretty good,” Baker said. … 2B Jose Altuve (oblique) was slated to hit Tuesday.
Rockies: OF Randal Grichuk (groin) ran the bases before the game. “Looks like he’s on the comeback trail,” Black joked. … OF Charlie Blackmon (fractured right hand) is not quite hitting yet, Black said.
Righty Brandon Bielak (4-5, 3.79 ERA) will throw for the Astros and lefty Austin Gomber (8-7, 6.19) for the Rockies on Wednesday as they finish a two-game series.
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