Rockies retire 1st 22 in 6-1 win over Indians
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) The Colorado Rockies, more than anything, need better pitching to have any success this season.
And it sure looked good Friday.
Four Colorado pitchers combined to throw seven perfect innings in the Rockies' 6-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
''Guys threw the ball really well,'' manager Walt Weiss said. ''We were good off the mound, really good. That's a good sign. That's where you want to be good. That's where we're really looking to improve this year.''
Starter Chad Bettis threw three innings in his spring debut for the Rockies, striking out three.
The Indians' first 22 batters were retired before the fifth Colorado pitcher, Scott Oberg, walked Mike Napoli with one out in the eighth inning. Adam Moore followed with a double over the center fielder's head to break up the no-hitter.
Bettis matched the first outing of the other leading contender to be Colorado's opening day starter, Jorge De La Rosa, who pitched three perfect innings against the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday.
Weiss said before the game that he had decided on an opening day pitcher and said afterward that he would announce it soon.
Cleveland starter Cody Anderson, competing for a spot in the rotation, went four innings, allowing two runs on five hits.
He struck out three and walked one.
Colorado's Tom Murphy hit his first home run of the spring, a two-run shot off Cody Allen, who gave up four runs in two-thirds inning.
Ten Rockies players had hits. The only one with more than one hit was Brandon Barnes, who was 2 for 3 with an RBI. None of the starters were among the three players who had a hit for Cleveland.
Indians: Anderson concentrated on his fastball in his third outing, second start, of the spring.
The hits and runs, he said, he doesn't worry about, because his pitch selection is different than it would be in the regular season.
''Really just trying to focus on getting my fastball command under control because that's something I live and die on,'' Anderson said. ''I'm not trying to worry about that stuff (the runs and hits he allows). I'm more trying to worry about pounding the ball down in the zone. As soon as I get that, it allows me to do other things.''
Cleveland manager Terry Francona said Anderson came to spring training in great shape.
''This kid has worked his rear end off,'' Francona said, ''completely changed his body. Because of that, his delivery is better. He's able to execute pitches he couldn't two years ago. He should be excited. We're proud of him.''
Rockies: Bettis said his success Friday was a combination of good pitches and aggressive hitters.
''I felt like I was trying to be aggressive in the strike zone,'' he said. ''They were trying to put some good swings on the ball, but I made some pretty good pitches.''
Bettis mixed a slow curve ball with his fastball and change-up.
''Outstanding,'' Weiss said. ''The formula we saw last year was such a separation of velocity, with the big slow curve ball, power fastball, power change-up. He was in complete control.''
Indians: Michael Brantley took batting practice on the field at the team's facility in Goodyear on Friday for the first time this spring. Brantley, who underwent shoulder surgery in November, followed his batting practice by hitting off a tee.
Rockies: Third baseman Daniel Descalso was hit in the left hand by a pitch from Tom Gorzelanny in the sixth inning. Weiss said x-rays were negative. The Rockies said it was a bruised hand and his availability would be evaluated on a day-to-day basis.
Indians: Right-hander Danny Salazar makes his third start of the spring when Cleveland plays at the Padres in Peoria.
Rockies: Right-hander Christian Bergman, who threw two scoreless innings in his spring debut, makes his second start in Colorado's game at Milwaukee in Phoenix.