Rockies follow surging De La Rosa's lead

Rockies follow surging De La Rosa's lead

ATLANTA -- Lefty Jorge De La Rosa and the Rockies want to show that it's not too late for a new beginning.

De La Rosa continued six weeks of solid work by holding the Braves to two runs in six innings as the Rockies -- who, like De La Rosa, want to erase a bad beginning -- beat the Braves 11-2 on Friday night at Turner Field.

De La Rosa started the season opener but pitched his way out of the rotation with an 11.41 ERA in his first six starts. But, thankfully for the Rockies, he no longer resembles that guy. After three successful relief outings, during which he gave up one run on three hits while striking out 10 in eight innings, De La Rosa has been a solid starter for three weeks. He is 4-2 with a 2.68 ERA in six starts since returning to the rotation.

With the Rockies (41-48) well on the outside of prime contender status but believing they can work their way back, De La Rosa finds himself with another chance in a leadership position.

But De La Rosa, 35, who throughout his career has been a slow starter but has finished seasons well enough to become the franchise's all-time wins leader with 84, prefers a small-bites attitude.

Fan welcomes De La Rosa

"I'm trying to do my job. I don't try to lead anything," De La Rosa said. "I go out there every five days and try to win every time. That's all."

When De La Rosa is as collected as he was Friday, when he worked around eight hits and three walks to hold the Braves to two runs over six-plus innings, he's inspirational even if he doesn't try to be.

"Absolutely, he's been our guy for several years, one of the best in our franchise's history," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "It's good to see him back to form and doing what he's done for a long time."

De La Rosa gave the team a lift when he ended the second inning by using his split-finger changeup to force Erick Aybar into a double play with runners at first and third and a 1-0 lead at stake. De La Rosa displayed frustration on two seeing-eye hits that put him in that situation but triumph when he escaped.

"You can even read it off his body language that he's getting a lot more comfortable," All-Star outfielder Carlos Gonzalez said. "Early in the year, he was having trouble, trying to find his way. Lately, he's been great. He's been consistent. Last couple outings, he didn't get wins, but he was giving us a chance to win."

De La Rosa limited the Braves' chances.

"Their starter was tough on us tonight," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "There's a reason why we didn't score earlier. That guy was pretty good and kept us off balance. He threw a lot of offspeed stuff out of the zone."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. Mark Bowman contributed. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.