McCutchen, Harper lead Phillies over Rockies 5-4
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Andrew McCutchen’s early batting practice quickly paid off.
Phillies manager Gabe Kapler praised McCutchen before the game after seeing him work on hitting slow curves hours before the first pitch.
“It’s really gratifying,” Kapler said after McCutchen got immediate results.
McCutchen also drew two walks, and the leftfielder threw a runner out trying to score.
“I felt pretty good, made some adjustments,” McCutchen said. “I just try to stay in the zone and the hits will come.”
The former NL MVP is batting .242 with six homers but has a .371 on-base percentage as a leadoff hitter in his first season in Philadelphia.
Irvin (2-0) gave up four runs — three earned — and five hits to win his second career start. Jose Alvarez and Pat Neshek each tossed a scoreless inning and Hector Neris finished for his sixth save in six tries.
Ian Desmond ripped a two-run homer for Colorado. Rockies starter Jon Gray (3-4) allowed five runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings.
“Jon worked awful hard in the third and fourth innings,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “Some pitches on the edge could’ve changed the whole complexion of the game.”
The NL East-leading Phillies snapped a three-game losing streak.
Harper’s double made it 5-2 in the fifth. Gray retired the first two batters before walking MuCutchen and allowing a single to Jean Segura.
Carlos Estevez replaced Gray and surrendered Harper’s first RBIs since he hit a grand slam on May 7. Harper had been 4 for 29 with 15 strikeouts before the hit. He heard boos after striking out in his first two at-bats.
“We’re always going to keep battling,” Harper said. “If one guy doesn’t get it done, another will.”
Desmond connected in the sixth to get the Rockies within a run but Philadelphia’s bullpen preserved the lead.
Irvin helped himself at the plate by drawing a 10-pitch walk in his first big-league at-bat with two outs in the third. His first start came at Kansas City. McCutchen followed with a blast out to left-center to tie it at 2-2.
“That was awesome,” Irvin said about fans rising for every pitch once he got to the sixth one. “A really cool, unique experience.”
Irvin committed two fielding errors in the second and the Rockies took a 1-0 lead on Brendan Rodgers’ fielder’s choice grounder.
“Cole had every opportunity to unravel in the second but he has poise,” Kapler said.
Charlie Blackmon led off the third with a double and scored on Mark Reynolds’ double to make it 2-0.
DON’T YOU DARE
Rockies catcher Tony Wolters threw out two runners, McCutchen and Segura, trying to steal second base in the first inning.
Rodgers, the team’s top prospect, was called up from Triple-A Albuquerque and played second base, batting seventh in his first game in the majors. The Rockies optioned right-hander DJ Johnson and infielder Pat Valaika to Albuquerque and activated left-hander Jake McGee from the 10-day injured list after he recovered from a sprained left knee.
Rockies: LHP Chris Rusin (mid-back strain) is scheduled to throw two innings for Double-A Hartford on Saturday.
Phillies: INF/OF Scott Kingery (strained right hamstring) was 1 for 4 in a rehab game Friday at Double-A Reading. … RHP Victor Arano (right elbow inflammation) threw a second bullpen session. … RHP Vince Velasquez (right forearm strain) is expected in the next couple days.
RHP Antonio Senzatela (3-2, 5.35 ERA) starts for the Rockies on Saturday and RHP Aaron Nola (3-0, 4.86) goes for the Phillies.