De La Rosa held St. Louis hitless into the seventh inning and Troy Tulowitzki’s three-run homer ended Colorado’s scoreless streak at 28 innings, sending the Rockies to an 8-2 victory Sunday.
”I definitely think it was a big hit and it took some pressure off Jorge,” Tulowitzki said. ”He didn’t feel like he had to be perfect, even though he was real close to being perfect.”
De La Rosa did not allow a hit until David Freese’s two-out single in the seventh.
”You try to stay calm,” the pitcher said. ”I think that helps, but I started feeling tired the last few innings. I think that’s why I left a couple of pitches up and they hit (them) very good.”
Mets lefty Johan Santana pitched a no-hitter against the Cardinals last year. Freese flashed back to that game, which ended when he struck out.
”You never want to lose a game. You never want to get no-hit, either,” Freese said. ”I remember last year it was pretty frustrating against Santana and it was creeping up on us.
”So it was nice to get it out of the way.”
Charlie Blackmon added a two-run homer off Jaime Garcia (4-2) for the Rockies, who snapped a four-game skid. They finished with 11 hits after totaling three in consecutive shutout losses to rookie Shelby Miller and Adam Wainwright.
”Jaime definitely had a couple of pretty tough acts to follow,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. ”He came out and looked pretty good at the beginning, and had a couple things happen that didn’t quite go his way.”
Nolan Arenado, who singled with one out in the eighth to break up Wainwright’s no-hit bid Saturday, was among four Rockies with two hits apiece.
”It’s too good of an offensive lineup to stay down too long,” manager Walt Weiss said. ”Tulo had a big home run that got us going.”
The Cardinals lost for just the second time in 11 games. Pinch-hitter Matt Adams’ RBI single off Matt Belisle in a two-run ninth ended Colorado’s shutout bid.
De La Rosa (4-3) struck out seven and allowed two hits in seven innings, baffling the Cardinals until Freese singled sharply to right off the glove of diving first baseman Jordan Pacheco and Jon Jay followed with a double. De La Rosa finished his longest outing of the season, and his best showing on the road by far, by getting Pete Kozma on a lineout to first.
De La Rosa entered 1-3 with a 5.13 ERA on the road and 2-0 at home with 12 scoreless innings. This was the fourth time he worked six or more scoreless innings, and he carries a 13-inning scoreless streak into his next outing.
Tulowitzki’s eighth homer and first on the road since April 9 stopped the Rockies’ scoreless streak two innings shy of the team record. They went 30 innings without a run from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, 2010, according to STATS.
The Rockies entered the weekend with the top offense in the National League and still led with a .266 batting average going into the finale of the three-game series. Tulowitzki was 0 for 6 in the first two games with five strikeouts and Carlos Gonzalez had been hitless in 15 at-bats before finishing with two singles and a walk.
Blackmon batted eighth after being called up earlier in the day to replace Michael Cuddyer, placed on the 15-day disabled list with a neck injury. Blackmon got a nice ovation for his fourth career homer after mistakenly getting introduced as a player making his major league debut during his first at-bat.
”Oh my gosh,” Blackmon said. ”That’s unbelievable. Who does that? It wasn’t my first home run, but they thought it was.”
Colorado had five hits in the first three innings after totaling three and going 40 consecutive at-bats without a hit the previous two days. The Rockies have never been shut out three straight times.
Garcia had won three straight starts before giving up five runs in six innings and falling to 0-3 with a 10.53 ERA against the Rockies in four starts – his highest against any opponent. He entered as the career ERA leader at 8-year-old Busch Stadium at 2.41.
”How many starts have I made against them?” Garcia said. ”You know what, I didn’t even think about that at all. Obviously, they have a really good lineup but I don’t think about those things.”
The lefty gave up just two homers in his first seven starts and entered with a 2.25 ERA overall.
Pacheco doubled with one out in the first to stop a 34-inning drought since the team’s last extra-base hit, also according to STATS. The Rockies finished with five extra-base hits, including a two-run double by pinch-hitter Reid Brignac off Carlos Martinez in the eighth.
The Cardinals’ streak of retiring 40 straight batters is tied for the second-longest in the majors since 1974, two shy of the record set by the Seattle Mariners from Aug. 14-17 last year, with Felix Hernandez throwing a perfect game on Aug. 15. Rangers pitchers retired 40 in a row in 1996.
— Associated Press —