Rockies 4, Reds 1

As expected, Drew Pomeranz was quite nervous in his major league
debut.

Only, not on the mound, but with a bat in his hands in his one
and only plate appearance.

Even then, Pomeranz was a success, laying down a perfect
sacrifice bunt. It was just that kind of day for the prized
prospect.

Pomeranz threw five shutout innings and Ty Wigginton homered,
helping the Colorado Rockies to a 4-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds
on Sunday.

Pomeranz (1-0) was a key piece in the deal that sent ace Ubaldo
Jimenez to Cleveland at the trade deadline. He showed exactly why
the Rockies coveted him, allowing just two singles.

And there were hardly any traces of nerves, either, even as he
glanced around expansive Coors Field.

”I try not to think about that when I’m on the mound,”
Pomeranz said with a casual shrug. ”Mentally, I took it as any
other game.”

The 22-year-old lefty threw only 63 pitches before leaving in
the fifth. He is three weeks removed from an emergency appendectomy
and is still building up his arm strength.

Jason Hammel, a starter turned reliever, pitched four innings to
earn his first save of the season.

Pomeranz hasn’t pitched in many games since he was acquired in
the five-player deal with the Indians in late July. Because a
drafted player can’t be traded within a year of his signing,
Pomeranz wasn’t allowed to join the Rockies organization until Aug.
17.

Instead, he threw off a mound in Arizona to keep his arm sharp.
He made his first start for Double-A Tulsa on Aug. 17, throwing
seven scoreless innings.

A few days later, he underwent an appendectomy that slowed his
promotion to the big leagues.

Upon his return last week, Pomeranz threw three scoreless
innings for Tulsa before having his contract selected by the
Rockies on Sunday.

Although Pomeranz wasn’t overpowering, he kept the Reds off
balance with an effective changeup and a 91 mph fastball.

And when Pomeranz found himself in trouble early, he wiggled
free by getting the Reds to ground into double plays in the second
and third innings.

This was precisely the type of performance Rockies manager Jim
Tracy envisioned from Pomeranz. Tracy caught a glimpse of him
during spring training and was instantly intrigued, even asking
around about the pitcher who was hitting 95 mph with his
fastball.

”That’s how much he jumped out at me,” Tracy said.

After the game, Tracy said he was impressed with Pomeranz’s
ability to stay within the moment and not get rattled.

”I see a very, very slow heartbeat,” Tracy said. ”It’s very
encouraging to see.”

Edinson Volquez (5-5) was effective in his first start since
July 5, not allowing a hit until Wigginton’s homer to left in the
fourth. Volquez later gave up an RBI single to Jordan Pacheco.

Volquez, Cincinnati’s opening-day starter, has bounced around
between the Reds and Triple-A Louisville this season in an effort
to find his command.

The right-hander had difficulty locating his breaking ball
against Colorado as he walked four and struck out three.

”Today, I was trying to throw my curve and it didn’t break like
I wanted,” Volquez said.

Still, it was a step in the right direction.

”He had good tempo,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. ”He threw
the ball better.”

Chris Valaika had both hits off Pomeranz before leaving in the
fifth with a strained right knee. Chris Heisey had a triple in the
seventh and Joey Votto homered in the ninth to provide the only
other hits for the Reds as the team wrapped up a 4-5 road trip.

The banged-up Rockies went with a patchwork lineup, with
All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (sore hip), first baseman Todd
Helton (stiff back) and second baseman Mark Ellis (neck) all
sitting out.

Just before the game, Carlos Gonzalez also was scratched with
lower back stiffness and Wigginton went in to play left field.

With an off day Monday, Tracy said he’s hopeful Tulowitzki will
be back in the lineup Tuesday in Milwaukee.

Starting in place of Tulowitzki was Thomas Field, who made his
major league debut after having his contract selected from Tulsa.
He drew a walk his first time up but finished without a hit.

But this will be a day remembered for the debut of Pomeranz.

”He’s really good,” Gonzalez said. ”He’s our future.”

NOTES: Players and coaches for the Rockies and Reds held a giant
American flag in the infield during a tribute to honor the 10th
anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. … The Reds will
start LHP Dontrelle Willis on Monday against the Chicago Cubs. …
Cincinnati 2B Brandon Phillips was given the day off. … Rockies
2B Eric Young Jr. had three stolen bases.