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.