Holmberg delivers scoreless start as Reds, Rockies tie

Holmberg delivers scoreless start as Reds, Rockies tie

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- On the day that stars Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki made their returns from injury, the Rockies and Reds played to a 2-2 tie Monday before 5,947 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Last August, Tulowitzki underwent surgery to repair a torn left hip labrum and Gonzalez had the patella tendon in his left knee repaired. Both were back about a week earlier than expected.

Gonzalez grounded to the pitcher in the first inning and walked in the third -- he took second on a ball in the dirt, and reported feeling fine.

"Of course, it's going to feel weird your first game back, but I feel really good," Gonzalez said.

Tulowitzki struck out in the first inning and popped to the catcher with runners at first and second in the third.

"There's no way I should pop up to the catcher in that situation," Tulowitzki said. "That's me. That's the nice part about the game. You work to put yourself in that situation again. Next time I'm in that situation, I want to be successful."

Holmberg fans Lindor

All of their at-bats came against Reds starter David Holmberg, who went three scoreless innings and struck out three, with four hits, two walks and a wild pitch.

"It's always good to face those regulars and be able to compete," Holmberg said. "It went pretty well. The location was pretty good in the first couple of innings. I got a little fast and cut off some balls in the third. I ended leaving some guys on. The defense made some plays."

The Reds managed two runs (one earned) off Rockies starter Jordan Lyles in the second. Felix Perez drove in a run on a fielder's-choice grounder. Another scored when second baseman Daniel Descalso couldn't handle Tucker Barnhart's hard-hit ball and was charged with an error.

Lyles gave up two hits and walked one, against one strikeout. The bright side was a quick first. Lyles was disappointed because he couldn't force ground-ball outs, which is his specialty.

"Maybe I would have gotten a third if I'd had a quick second inning like the first, but overall physically everything was good," Lyles said. "I don't think anytime giving up runs is good for you. Throwing the majority of the pitches out of the stretch, I can feel positive about that.

"I've just got to continue to locate pitches, and get ground balls."

Monday also featured a strong Spring Training debut for Rockies left-hander Rex Brothers, who took extra time to work on mechanics after struggling to a 5.59 ERA last season. Displaying a motion similar to when he posted a 1.74 ERA in 2013, Brothers pitched a perfect sixth with a strikeout. Brothers ranged 93-95 mph with his fastball and the mid-80s with a slider. He was helped by a stellar catch in foul ground by left fielder Kyle Parker.

Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips returned from a slight groin injury and went 0-for-3.

Cincinnati righty Dylan Axelrod, who along with Holmberg is trying to land one of the multiple open rotation spots, went two innings and gave up one hit -- an RBI single from Descalso in the fouth.

Colorado tied it in the eighth on a double-play grounder hit by Rafael Ynoa, scoring Matt McBride.

Up next: Todd Frazier has missed the past two days because of back spasms, but is scheduled to return to the lineup Tuesday when the Reds face the Brewers at 4:05 p.m. ET in Phoenix on MLB.TV and Gameday Audio. Ace righty Johnny Cueto will start for Cincinnati against righty Kyle Lohse. Also slated to pitch for the Reds are J.J. Hoover and Amir Garrett.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.