Ian Kennedy could only shake his head after going over his line Friday night.
Three hits and runs over six innings at hitter friendly Coors Field was all the Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander allowed. He made few mistakes in his fourth start of the year.
”If you said that every time you pitch in Coors Field, I’d say that was a pretty good outing,” Kennedy said. ”I gave up a walk in the fourth and a home run and that was pretty much it.”
The home run was to Troy Tulowitzki, a career .176 hitter. The other run came on a sacrifice fly to opposing pitcher Jhoulys Chacin.
”He was fine,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. ”The home run hurt him. We didn’t give him any run support.”
Chacin pitched effectively into the seventh inning and became the first Rockies starter to throw 100 pitches in a game since last June before leaving with an injury as Colorado beat the Diamondbacks 3-1 Friday night.
Tulowitzki hit a two-run homer and Chacin helped himself by driving in a run with a sacrifice fly as the Rockies won their seventh in row and remained unbeaten in seven home games this season.
”That was a pitch that I thought was in, but not in enough,” Kennedy said. ”He got on top of it. It was up and he’s one of the best hitters in the National League.”
Chacin (3-0) was seen grabbing his lower left back after throwing his fourth pitch to Arizona’s Cody Ross with one out in the seventh inning. He was taken out of the game after a conference near the mound with manager Walt Weiss and team trainers and replaced by reliever Wilton Lopez.
”He was tough on us,” Arizona shortstop Didi Gregorius said of Chacin. ”His sinker was really good.”
The last time a Colorado starter reached the century mark in pitches was last June 12, a stretch of 117 games. It was the longest string in the majors since records started being kept by STATS in 1988. Before the Rockies’ streak, the longest string of starters not throwing 100 pitches in a game was held by Washington, which went 33 games from Aug. 31, 2011, to April 10, 2012.
Just prior to the conclusion of the game, the team announced that Chacin exited the game with left oblique tightness and would be re-evaluated Saturday.
Chacin faced the minimum through four innings, inducing Paul Goldschmidt to ground into an inning ending double play after allowing his first hit, a single by Gerardo Parra, to start the fourth.
In the fifth, Chacin worked out of a two-out, bases-loaded jam by fanning his Arizona counterpart, Ian Kennedy. The Diamondbacks got an unearned run on third baseman Chris Nelson’s throwing error in the ninth before Rafael Betancourt closed the game out for his sixth save in six chances.
Kennedy (1-2), who allowed three runs on three hits in six innings, was overpowering early, He retired the first 10 batters he faced, half of them on strikeouts. With one out in the fourth, Josh Rutledge became the first Rockies batter to reach when he was hit by a pitch.
After Carlos Gonzalez struck out, Tulowitzki got hold of Kennedy’s first offering and drove it over the left field wall for his fifth home run of the season. He had come into the at-bat hitting .166 in 18 plate appearances against Kennedy, though it was his second homer off the Diamondbacks’ starter.
The Rockies added another run in the fifth when Nelson tripled over the head of center fielder A.J. Pollock and Chacin followed with a sacrifice fly.
NOTES: Diamondbacks batting coach Don Baylor, who was the Rockies’ inaugural manager and led them to their first postseason berth in 1995, was inducted Thursday into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. … Arizona didn’t arrive in Denver until 4 a.m. after their extra inning game with the New York Yankees on Thursday. … The Diamondbacks are 3-3 in series openers.