Moyer baffles D-backs, legs out two-run single

Moyer baffles D-backs, legs out two-run single

Moyer baffles D-backs, legs out two-run single
DENVER -- The roster says Rockies pitcher Jamie Moyer is almost twice as old as center fielder Dexter Fowler.

One strange play during Wednesday's 6-1 victory over the D-backs demonstrated that Fowler, not that it's any surprise, is nearly twice as fast as Moyer.

Moyer, 49, already on his way to 6 1/3 innings of pitching that baffled D-backs hitters, hit a dribbler to the right side of the infield with runners at second and third with two out in the fourth. D-backs pitcher Patrick Corbin stopped and wasn't available to cover the bag, which left first baseman Paul Goldschmidt trying to tag Moyer, who was making, by his own admission, "a slow crawl to first base."

Moyer was ruled safe, although Goldschmidt said he thought his diving tag "got a piece of him." By the time Goldschmidt scrambled to his feet, Fowler, whose calling card is his speed, was just about home, scoring easily for a 5-0 lead.

Moyer (2-3) held the D-backs to one run and six hits as he extended his record for being the oldest winning pitcher in history to 49 years and 180 days. If the Rockies' second straight victory, which opened a five-game homestand, turns out to be pivotal in a turnaround this season, Moyer's unusual two-run infield single could be an illustration of what it takes to pull a team forward.

Fowler's hustle brought him 180 feet in nearly the time it took for Moyer to push 90 feet. But each guy gave what he could to help the team win.

For his part, Fowler, 26, didn't see anything special. He's scored from second before on an infield roller with two out. But it only increased his admiration for Moyer.

"I was more shocked Moyer beat it out ... the guy was hustling," said Fowler, who tripled, doubled, singled and drove in two runs. "That's a statement to him. That's what we do. We pick each other up."

Moyer has seen a lot more than any active player in a long time, but he's not sure he's seen someone score from so far on a hit that traveled so little.

"Actually, I didn't realize it until I came back to the bag, looked up and assumed he'd be on third base, but he's Dexter Fowler," Moyer said. "Then I looked at the scoreboard and realized he had scored."

The play -- which gave the light-hitting Moyer his second career two-RBI game and first since June 18, 2004, for the Mariners at Pittsburgh -- added spice to an otherwise methodical Rockies victory over a D-backs team that has lost 11 of its past 14. It's a welcome departure for a club that has played more than its share of wild games this season but also has lost too many of those.

Moyer struck out five against two walks and didn't give up a run until allowing consecutive doubles in the seventh.

Fowler's big night was a nice response to recently losing playing time to Tyler Colvin, who started Wednesday in right field and added an RBI triple. The No. 7 (Jordan Pacheco, 2-for-3, RBI), No. 8 (Fowler) and No. 9 spots in the order went a combined 6-for-9 with three runs and a walk.

The Rockies riddled Corbin (2-2), a 22-year-old rookie, for six runs and nine hits in six innings.

Even reeling pitcher Esmil Rogers, who had given up nine runs in his previous four outings but is considered essential to the bullpen, pitched a clean inning.

The game was smoother than Tuesday's 5-4 victory at San Francisco. The Rockies blew a 4-1 lead in that one but won on Marco Scutaro's ninth-inning home run.

"It's just a well-played game, a clean game without unnecessary drama and flair," manager Jim Tracy said.

The Rockies would like more flair from Fowler, but with some bad at-bats and some uncharacteristically shaky outfield play this season, he had been exciting in the wrong ways. The last two years started poorly and he turned it around after demotions to Triple-A. This time Fowler stayed on the roster but with a .219 average coming into Wednesday he was battling for opportunities.

Tracy told Fowler before the game he needed to earn back center field. But with Colvin in right and Michael Cuddyer playing first to spell Todd Helton after a late-night plane ride, Fowler had a chance. He capitalized with a two-run triple in the second, doubled to set up Moyer's hit in the fourth and singled in the sixth.

"I think I was pressing a little bit," Fowler said. "I just want to go out and have fun. Forget about the results. Forget about everything. Just work on the process."

It also was a step forward for Moyer, whose last two starts didn't inspire confidence. He had a 6-0 lead against the Braves at Coors Field on May 5 but gave up six runs and the Rockies lost when the bullpen imploded. He gave up five runs in five innings against the Dodgers on Friday night, with much of the damage coming the third time through the order.

"Making quality pitches is the important thing for me," Moyer said. "Tonight, I did a better job of it, but there's still room for improvement."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.