Rockies' bullpen picking up slack in big way

Relievers continue to handle heavy workload, blanking Philly for 4 2/3 innings on two hits

Rockies' bullpen picking up slack in big way

DENVER -- The Rockies' bullpen isn't just eating innings. It's enjoying them.

Starter Jorge De La Rosa lasted just 4 1/3 innings, but five relievers held the Phillies scoreless on two hits in a 7-3 Rockies victory at Coors Field on Thursday afternoon. Rockies relievers have 10 2/3 scoreless innings the last two games, and a 1.66 ERA in the last nine contests.

"We've been doing it most of the year, eating up a lot of innings," said lefty Boone Logan, who fanned Ryan Howard with a runner on, and a 5-3 lead, to end the seventh. "We've been embracing it, and everyone's pitching well."

Righty Christian Bergman (2-0) entered after De La Rosa surrendered a game-tying solo shot to Howard with one out in the fifth and retired his only two batters -- Maikel Franco on a line drive to center and Jeff Francoeur on a flyout to center. Manager Walt Weiss decided to "chase some offense when his spot came up, chase a run with a guy in scoring position" in the bottom of the fifth. The strategy yielded two runs, and other relievers handled the rest.

Bergman, a starter by trade, could be a candidate to start the second game of Saturday's doubleheader against the Giants. Bergman warmed up in the ninth inning of Wednesday night's 4-2 loss but didn't enter. His last outing before Thursday was a 5 1/3-inning, one-run effort against the Angels on May 13.

"I don't know anything about Saturday, but I'll be ready to go if they need me," Bergman said.

Righty Scott Oberg pitched 1 1/3 innings before turning it over to Logan, who forced a Chase Utley bouncer to the mound and fanned Howard. Rafael Betancourt fanned two in the eighth and John Axford pitched a scoreless ninth.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.