DENVER -- Wanting to be counted in when games become more important, Rockies left-hander Tyler Anderson sent a message with his seven scoreless innings in a 6-0 victory over the Marlins on Tuesday night at Coors Field.
Mixing his fastball, cutter and changeup -- all with a deceptive motion that left the Marlins unsure which was coming -- Anderson struck out five and gave up four hits and didn't walk a batter.
The Rockies, with four games to play, maintain leads of 1 1/2 games over the Brewers and 2 1/2 over the Cardinals in the race for the second National League Wild Card, which will travel to meet the D-backs next Wednesday in the playoff.
After handling this assignment -- and pitching the heretofore struggling Rockies to their third victory in the last nine games -- Anderson lines up for Sunday's regular-season finale at Coors against the Dodgers.
Should that game mean everything, Anderson is up for it -- or any postseason game.
"We've worked really hard for this, so that's what we want: We want big games," Anderson said. "So if that situation comes up, then yeah, of course I want to throw."
Anderson was rarely threatened Tuesday, even though he found areas he needs to work on.
"Early on, I was feeling like I was falling behind a little bit, so there was a big attempt off of that to make sure we got ahead of guys," Anderson said.
"Their guy threw up zeros and we weren't really able to do anything with him tonight," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "He's a guy that doesn't knock your lights out with the radar gun or anything like that, but a guy that's adding and subtracting [velocity[, he's using both sides of the plate, cut a ball, changeup. He seemed to be pretty sharp tonight."
Anderson, in his second season, improved to 3-1 with a 1.19 ERA in four appearances (three starts) since returning Sept. 11 from left knee surgery. Also, his career 3.39 ERA in 119 1/3 innings over 20 games (all but one started) at Coors Field is the best in franchise history among pitchers with at least 100 innings.
Anderson can succeed in games like he did Tuesday, when he walks no one. In the first inning, he fell behind Marlins 57-homer man Giancarlo Stanton (1-for-9 through two games of the series) 3-0, but enticed him to ground a changeup off the end of his bat for an out.
"It wasn't 3-0 because we weren't pitching to him," Anderson said. "We're still pitching to him and trying to make good pitches and quality pitches, and so far it's been to our advantage."