Bettis continues string of quality starts

Righty doesn't walk a batter in six solid innings

Bettis continues string of quality starts

DENVER -- With two Phillies runs already across in the second inning and his team's early advantage nearly wiped away, Rockies starting pitcher Chad Bettis issued himself a simple message.

Slow down.

For the most part, that message was received. Bettis surrendered just one additional run after Philadelphia's two-run second, finished with no walks and ultimately churned out the Rockies' fourth quality start (six or more innings, three or fewer earned runs) in eight games. Bettis didn't figure in the decision but nonetheless helped Colorado to a 6-5 win over the Phillies on Tuesday night at Coors Field.

"In the second inning, I felt like I was in between getting loaded and rushing towards the plate, and that's where I made some mistakes and left some pitches up there that inning," Bettis said. "I just told myself, 'Make sure you're staying back over the rubber and get the ball down in the zone.' After the third inning, everything was starting to come together again."

In the final three innings of his six-frame outing, Bettis encountered little trouble. He retired the final seven hitters he faced, while the Phillies only put one runner into scoring position. In total, Bettis surrendered three runs on eight hits to go with five strikeouts.

"He got stronger as the game went on," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He really started to settle in from the fourth inning on. That was a nice performance by him, stepping in and putting us in position to win the game."

That substitution role first began on May 14 in Los Angeles, where Bettis rejoined the Rockies' rotation after struggling starter Tyler Matzek was optioned to the Minors. That outing produced mixed results -- four runs surrendered in five innings.

But the Rockies have made it clear that Bettis, who spent his 2014 time in Colorado as a reliever, will solely be a starting pitcher moving forward.

"Leading up into Spring Training and it being clear with what we're going to do moving forward -- which is starting -- it was nice to get that clarification," Bettis said. "[I could] get built up the way I needed to be."

After forcing himself to slow down, Tuesday's outing appeared to be a step in the right direction.

Dargan Southard is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.