Sandy Alcantara, Marlins shut out Rockies to earn series split

MIAMI (AP) — Sandy Alcantara had to settle for the longest outing of his career.

Pretty nice way to start the season.

Alcantara pitched eight crisp innings, Jorge Alfaro drove in two runs and the Miami Marlins beat the Colorado Rockies 3-0 on Sunday.

Alcantara allowed four hits, struck out six and walked none in his 15th major league appearance. The 23-year-old right-hander retired 14 straight hitters before Ryan McMahon reached on a two-out infield single in the seventh.

Alcantara, who threw 92 pitches, wanted to stay in the game, but manager Don Mattingly decided to take him out.

“I went out there inning after inning wanting to get the complete game but the manager didn’t and those are his decisions,” Alcantara told Spanish-speaking media.

Mattingly said the timing of the season prompted his decision to lift the rookie from his seventh major league start.

“As we get into the season, that’s a situation where he goes back out because he really didn’t have any true battles today,” Mattingly said. “We didn’t want to push him to nine out of the gate.

“He was pretty much dominant the whole day.”

Alcantara (1-0) also picked up his major league hit on a line-drive single to left in the fifth.

The Rockies threatened in the ninth when former Miami starter Wei-Yin Chen surrendered a leadoff double to Charlie Blackmon and walked David Dahl. Chen, in the fourth year of an $80 million, five-year contract, left to a chorus of boos from the crowd of 7,559.

Sergio Romo came in and retired three in a row for his first save with the Marlins, finishing a five-hitter.

“If I can help out in any situation, I’m going to be ready for it,” Romo said. “You couldn’t waste Sandy’s effort. Holy cow that was impressive.”

Colorado right-hander Jon Gray departed after he felt cramps in his right calf after a pitch to Alcantara with two out in the seventh. Gray (0-1) struck out 10 and was charged with three runs and five hits.

“I tried to throw another pitch and felt the same thing so that’s when I called the trainer out and told him,” Gray said. “It’s frustrating for it to happen then. I don’t feel anything anymore; just going to give it some rest and work on it a little bit. I just want to make sure it stays away.”

Alfaro hit a two-run single in the fourth and JT Riddle homered in the sixth. It was Riddle’s second of the season and No. 5 for the Marlins — all solo shots.

“In a well-pitched game, one big hit will change dramatically the course of the game,” Rockies manager Bud Black said.

Colorado star Nolan Arenado went 0 for 4, snapping his 12-game hitting streak that carried over from last season.

WORTH NOTING

The Rockies sent right-hander Rayan Gonzalez to Double-A Hartford. They currently have 38 players on their 40-man roster.

WORTH NOTING II

Sunday’s attendance, added to the combined crowds of 14,145 Friday and Saturday, failed to surpass the opening-day total of 25,423.

LEADING OFF

The Marlins used four different leadoff hitters in the series. Rosell Herrera was in the spot on Sunday, following Miguel Rojas, Curtis Granderson and Lewis Brinson in the previous three games.

“Our leadoff guys will be mix and match,” Mattingly said. “We’ll see where it goes.”

TRAINER’S ROOM:

Rockies: 1B Daniel Murphy will see a hand specialist in Arizona on Monday for further evaluation of his fractured left index finger. Murphy got hurt in the Rockies’ 6-1 win over Miami on Friday. Murphy, who signed a two-year contract with the Rockies in the offseason, will be sidelined indefinitely.

Marlins: OF Garrett Cooper was placed on the injured list because of a strained left calf. Cooper got hurt during Friday’s game and pinch-hit on Saturday. OF Peter O’Brien was recalled from Triple-A New Orleans. O’Brien started Sunday and went 0 for 3.

UP NEXT

Rockies: RHP Chad Bettis pitches Monday against Tampa Bay.

Marlins: LHP Caleb Smith will make his season debut when Miami faces the New York Mets on Monday. LHP Steven Matz starts for the Mets.