Balk irks Chatwood more than home run balls

Balk irks Chatwood more than home run balls

MILWAUKEE -- Rockies right-hander Tyler Chatwood often directs ire at himself when he feels he deserves it.

Interestingly, Chatwood was poker-faced after giving up an Eric Thames solo homer in the fourth inning and a Travis Shaw homer two batters later on almost an instant replay -- left-handed hitter crushing a 95-96 mph fastball into the right-field seats.

But it was the last of the four runs he yielded Wednesday in six innings of the Rockies' 6-1 loss to the Brewers at Miller Park, that had him screaming and clenching his fist.

It wasn't the double through the box by Hernan Perez. It was the goofy-looking balk on a pickoff throw that put Ryan Braun in scoring position. Chatwood stepped toward first, but the ball didn't come out for a second or so. His lob wasn't enough to dissuade umpires from calling the infraction.

"I had a changeup grip, and when I went to throw, the ball knocked my glove out of my hand," Chatwood said. "You're not happy about that, especially when you're trying to keep us in the game. That stupid mistake cost us another run."

Otherwise, Chatwood took the seven-hit, five-strikeout performance in stride, even though based on last year it was an unusual event.

Chatwood's 1st-inning K

Chatwood posted a 1.69 road ERA last year in 80 innings. The only time he coughed up four runs was a four-inning outing in Philadelphia on Aug. 14. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a mid-back strain after that game.

With the exception of the two pitches to Thames and Shaw on Wednesday, it was a solid outing, and Chatwood understood that. Chatwood didn't think the two four-seam fastballs were as bad as they ended up looking when they reached the seats.

"The pitch to Thames, it was up and in, kind of where I wanted to throw it," Chatwood said. "He got to it. The pitch was in to Shaw, he just beat me. He just got it, caught it out front."

Thames and Shaw were two of the four Brewers who swung from the left side. Another, switch-hitting Jonathan Villar, homered off righty reliever Jordan Lyles for two runs in the eighth.

"Chatwood is a tough pitcher, and he's especially tough on [right-handers]," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Braun was coming back from facing him and said, 'That guy has a live fastball. That's a tough fastball.' The left-handed hitters got a little better look at it tonight. It is just balance. That's what it is. It is balance to your lineup."

Rockies manager Bud Black said Chatwood generally pitched well. He climbed as high as 97.5 mph in the fourth inning, and even with the misfortunate pitches worked six innings to give a rest to a bullpen that was used heavily as the Rockies won the first two games of the four-game set.

"A couple balls he got up in the zone, over the plate, and in this park if you hit the ball up in the air squarely it's got a chance to go out," Black said. "Those guys who hit the homers are guys with power -- Thames and Shaw. And they got it middle-in, up, and that was his downfall. Chatty's stuff was fine."

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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.