Rusin shines, stakes claim to roster spot

Southpaw beats Marlins with strong outing, fans Stanton four times

Rusin shines, stakes claim to roster spot

DENVER -- Left-handed pitcher Chris Rusin's role -- heck, even his roster spot -- has been uncertain all year. But performances like Saturday's seven-inning start with eight strikeouts in a 10-5 victory over the Marlins can bring clarity.

Rusin, 28, who spent the last three years unable to crack the Cubs' rotation, began this year at Triple-A Albuquerque. Before Saturday, he held the Reds to one run in seven innings of a spot-start on May 26 and earned a victory in relief when Jordan Lyles was injured at Philadelphia last Saturday.

With Lyles gone for the year and awaiting left big toe surgery, Rusin (2-0) held the Marlins to two runs and seven hits and made his case for a rotation spot.

"They haven't told me anything," said Rusin, owner of a 1.45 ERA with 15 strikeouts and seven walks in 18 2/3 Major League innings this season. "I'm just doing what they say and every time they give me an opportunity trying to take advantage of it."

Weiss on Rusin's outing, offense

He followed instruction well Saturday.

The Rockies' offense gave him four runs in the bottom of the first. Rusin minimized three singles into one run in the second, then grabbed a stranglehold of the game in the third.

Martin Prado tripled with one out. But Rusin struck out Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton on a 2-2 changeup and forced Jeff Baker into a harmless grounder.

Rusin's strikeout of Stanton was part of a unique performance:

"I had to minimize the damage," Rusin said. "I didn't want to give anything for Stanton to hit, because I had a base open. I didn't want him to hurt me. I ended up striking him out and getting out of it."

Rockies manager Walt Weiss said, "To get through the heart of the order in that situation gave him a lot of confidence and gave everybody a lot of confidence."

An assured Rockies offense pumped out 17 hits, including two Wilin Rosario solo homers and a Carlos Gonzalez three-run shot.

"He had a really good cutter, and he was throwing that changeup and keeping everybody out of balance -- it was fun to watch," Gonzalez said.

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.