Moyer can't hold early lead as skid continues

Moyer can't hold early lead as skid continues

Moyer can't hold early lead as skid continues
MIAMI -- For the fifth outing in a row, Jamie Moyer couldn't solve the Marlins, and for the fifth game in a row, the Rockies couldn't find the win column.

The 49-year-old southpaw lasted just 3 2/3 innings at Marlins Park on Monday night, as the Rockies relinquished an early four-run lead and lost, 7-4, in the opener of a three-game series.

"It's hard to win when you get 3 2/3 from your starter and over 100 pitches," Colorado manager Jim Tracy said.

Moyer worked through the first three innings with minimal damage, giving up just one run -- a one-out RBI single to Austin Kearns in the third -- while working with an early lead.

Colorado gave Moyer a 4-0 lead before he even stepped onto the mound. After Jordan Pacheco and Carlos Gonzalez had back-to-back one-out singles in the first, Michael Cuddyer drilled a two-run double off Miami lefty Mark Buehrle.

Tracy moved Cuddyer up two slots to hit cleanup because of his track record against Buehrle, and the move paid dividends, as Cuddyer hit his 11th career double off the southpaw. Troy Tulowitzki followed up Cuddyer's double with two RBIs of his own on his fifth home run of the season.

The four-run lead wasn't enough for Moyer, who ran into trouble in the fourth, when the Marlins sent 11 men to the plate and scored five runs, highlighted by Giancarlo Stanton's second grand slam of the season. After Moyer walked Hanley Ramirez and Kearns to load the bases, Stanton unloaded on a 3-2 pitch, temporarily damaged the auxiliary scoreboard in left field and gave Miami a 6-4 lead.

Moyer thought he had Stanton out a pitch earlier on a borderline cutter that was ruled a ball by home plate umpire Ted Barrett and called "very, very close" by Tracy.

"It was close," Stanton said. "But that's what he works off of. He works that little bit off the plate. It's close enough where you're like, 'Ah.' But that's when you get out of yourself. I didn't think it was a strike, so I didn't swing."

Instead, Stanton swung at the next pitch, a changeup, and sent it 438 feet to left field.

"There's a strong possibility [the third ball] could have gone either way, which would have gotten us out of the inning," Tracy said. "But we didn't get the call."

Added Moyer: "Sometimes you get calls and sometimes you don't get calls, but I get the ball back and it is what it is. I'm not going to gripe about it, I'm not going to complain about it.

"That's this game; it's all a judgment game, whether it's coming from the umpire's standpoint, a pitcher's standpoint, a catcher's standpoint, a hitter's standpoint -- it's all about judgment and we all react to what we see, what we feel and when it doesn't necessarily go your way, you got to regroup and make another pitch."

Moyer was pulled one batter later and finished with a line that showed nine hits, six runs, five strikeouts and four walks on 100 pitches, leaving the bullpen to try to navigate through the rest of the game.

While Moyer unraveled, Buehrle did the opposite after a rough first. Following a leadoff walk to Dexter Fowler in the second, Colorado's bats went silent as Buehrle retired 12 straight. The lefty faced the minimum between the third and seventh innings, with the only other baserunner -- a walk to Cuddyer -- wiped out in the sixth thanks to an inning-ending double play.

Four Colorado relievers combined for 4 1/3 innings, holding the Marlins to one run on four hits after Moyer was pulled.

The Rockies recorded their only hit after the first inning with two outs in the eighth, when Pacheco singled to left to chase Buehrle. But that's all the visitors would muster, as Gonzalez grounded out to Ramirez at third and Colorado's bid for a comeback fell short for the second straight game.

"I give our bullpen a lot of credit because they had to pitch a hell of a lot tonight, and we did what we could do to keep the game where it was at," Tracy said. "You've got to give Mark Buehrle some credit because he settled down. ... But we couldn't do anything offensively. We got off to a great start offensively, but he completely shut us down from there."

Tom Green is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.