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Garland keeps Mets on ice, pitches Rockies to victory

Associated Press
4/18/2013 8:10:17 PM
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DENVER -- Despite throwing in 28-degree weather, Jon Garland was surprised how quickly his pitching hand got cold.

That didn't prevent him from throwing a biting curveball, along with some heaters.

Garland worked seven solid innings to give the Colorado Rockies an 11-3 win over the New York Mets in the wrap-up of a wintry series at Coors Field on Thursday.

"I was surprised at how fast my hand got cold, because it didn't seem that cold out there with the sun," Garland said.

"But besides that, my body felt fine. I was throwing curveballs, sliders, a lot of offspeed. I think the key was early on the curveball was being called for a strike. So, guys couldn't just take it. They had to respect it, and I threw enough fastballs in there for strikes to keep them off balance."

The crowd was announced at 18,341 as the Rockies, winners of six straight, matched a team record for the coldest home start. A game against the Montreal Expos on April 12, 1997, was played in a similarly frigid conditions.

A pair of Mets-Rockies games in the previous three days were postponed because of heavy snow. The day before the Mets arrived in snow-bound Colorado, they had Sunday's game in Minneapolis postponed because of wintry weather.

"This has been a tough trip," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We're glad it's over and we know the weather's going to start changing soon, start getting baseball weather. We didn't swing the bats today either. We didn't get a lot of opportunities. We've got to start taking BP like we normally do and get back on our schedule."

Garland (2-0) allowed two runs and six hits in becoming the first Rockies starter to go seven or more innings since Jhoulys Chacin also went seven against San Diego last Sept. 2.

He walked none and struck out four.

"So far, he's been real good at pitching down and his sinker is even better than I thought it was," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He knows what he's doing out there. He's got a plan and he was able to execute it."

Garland said the Rockies' hot-hitting at the plate has helped him on the mound.

"The confidence is there because you know that at any point, they can strike," Garland said. "So, you're not as picky. You still don't want to give up runs. You want to get as many outs as possible. But in the back of your mind, you know that this team is never out of it."

That was certainly the case against the Mets.

Troy Tulowitzki homered and hit a go-ahead single. Dexter Fowler and Josh Rutledge also hit home runs as the Rockies remained unbeaten in six home games this season.

Eric Young Jr. and Carlos Gonzalez added three hits apiece for Colorado.

"We were able to create situations with a lot of runners on base and take advantage of the opportunities," Gonzalez said. "It was a good series and we've got to continue to play this way against whoever comes to our ballpark."

The Rockies took a 3-2 lead in the sixth when Tulowitzki singled off Jonathon Niese (2-1) to drive in Gonzalez.

The Rockies broke it open with a six-run seventh inning against three relievers.

Colorado got a two-run single from Wilin Rosario, a two-run double from Todd Helton and RBI singles from Chris Nelson and pinch-hitter Reid Brignac. In fact, Brignac batted in place of Jordan Pacheco, who began the inning as a pinch-hitter for Garland.

Helton's double was the 573rd of his career, moving him past Ivan Rodriguez for 20th on baseball's career list.

Fowler connected for his seventh homer and Tulowitzki for his fourth in the eighth off right-hander Jeremy Hefner, who took the mound in relief.

Niese gave up three runs and nine hits in six innings. The Rockies finished with 17 hits, doing most of their damage against the Mets' bullpen.

"I was able to grip the ball better today," said Niese, who also pitched in cold weather last weekend in Minneapolis. "Still made a couple of mistakes, this is a hot team right now and they made us pay for our mistakes."

Rutledge snapped a 1-all tie in the fourth when he drove a changeup from Niese into the left-field bleachers for his second home run of the season.

New York evened the score at 2 on David Wright's second RBI single, a comebacker that glanced off Garland's glove in the sixth.

NOTES: After being snowed out Monday, the Rockies swept a doubleheader Tuesday from the Mets. A game Wednesday that was wiped out by another snowstorm will be made up at Coors Field on June 27 at 4:10 p.m. ... Rockies OF Michael Cuddyer was scratched from the lineup as a precaution because of a tender hamstring. ... Fowler was back in the starting lineup for the first time since fouling a ball off his foot Sunday at San Diego. ... Ike Davis' RBI single in the Mets' eighth inning snapped his string of 10 consecutive games without a run batted in, which had tied a career high. ... Mets RHP Matt Harvey (3-0), the scheduled starter for Friday night's game in New York against Washington and RHP Stephen Strasburg (1-2), travelled back home Thursday ahead of the team. ... RHP Jhoulys Chacin (2-0) is scheduled to pitch the Rockies' series opener Friday against Arizona and RHP Ian Kennedy (1-1).

Jon Garland (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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