White's mistakes to Angels' Hunter prove costly

White's mistakes to Angels' Hunter prove costly

White's mistakes to Angels' Hunter prove costly
DENVER -- Rockies pitcher Alex White can be excused if he never wants to see Angels veteran Torii Hunter again.

Hunter hit a pair of two-run homers and finished with six RBIs as the Angels sent the Rockies to their third straight loss, 7-2, Friday night at Coors Field in the opener of a three-game Interleague Play series in front of 41,814.

With the exception of the two ill-fated pitches to Hunter, in the third and fifth innings -- both behind Mike Trout singles -- the right-handed White (2-4) was a credible foe to sizzling Angels lefty C.J. Wilson (7-4).

However, the Rockies didn't have a game-turner like Hunter, who increased his homer total to eight. Wilson, able to stay in the game longer because he had the lead, held the Rockies to one run on five hits and struck out nine in eight innings.

"I was not displeased at all with the effort Alex White gave us tonight. Unfortunately, the guy on the other side of the field was terrific," said Rockies manager Jim Tracy, whose team dropped to 24-33. "C.J. pounded the strike zone for strike one, he had a real good cutter, he had secondary pitches when he needed them."

White gave up eight hits, struck out six and didn't walk anyone in six innings. It marked his second straight good start at home. White held the Dodgers to two runs on two hits in 6 2/3 innings while beating the Dodgers on Sunday at Coors.

"We have a very good idea of how to do it," White said. "I've got good mechanics and I'm really going after the hitters. When I get ahead, I feel like I'm very tough to hit.

"Obviously, I'm going to make mistakes here and there and tonight I paid for that, but I feel really good with what I'm trying to do. It's just tough we ran into a guy [Wilson] that's pretty hot throwing the ball tonight."

This one was ruined by a pair of pitches that Hunter, in his first career game at Coors Field, didn't miss. The first was a first-pitch fastball left on the outer third of the plate, where Hunter likes it. The second a slider on a 2-2 count -- not White's best pitch, but White didn't put him away with his fastball earlier in the count.

Hunter added a two-run single during the three-run ninth inning against Rockies reliever Esmil Rogers.

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Last season, White faced Hunter while with the Indians and struck him out twice and walked him once.

"He's got good stuff, great stuff -- a heavy two-seamer, a cutter, a slider," Hunter said. "He can really pitch. I was lucky. That's the way it is sometimes, he left some stuff up and I was able to capitalize on it."

Wilson held the Rockies hitless until Carlos Gonzalez's two-out bunt single in the fourth, a strategy that left the pitcher miffed.

"I know he hasn't been swinging the bat well lately, but anytime a guy like him drops a bunt down, it's a little shocking," said Wilson, who has the American League's second-lowest ERA at 2.39. "I was bummed about that, from a competitive standpoint. I guess he just wanted to get on base."

The Rockies began attacking Wilson's first pitch in the fifth. Todd Helton doubled to open the frame. Jordan Pacheco, who would knock an RBI triple in the ninth, lined the first pitch of his at-bat to right field to Hunter, whose throw beat Helton to third by a long shot.

"It was a good throw," Helton said. "I took off running, but my legs didn't work the way I wanted them to work."

Wilson continued to attack the strike zone early.

"When you've got a pitcher that's got really good stuff, you don't want to get to two strikes, especially when he's got a good pitch to put you away with," Helton said.

Rockies pinch-hitter Eric Young Jr. singled with one out in the sixth, advanced on Dexter Fowler's bunt and scored on Marco Scutaro's double. The only other threat against Wilson came in the eighth, when Chris Nelson walked and Fowler singled with two out. Wilson worked Scutaro into a line drive to right.

In the ninth, Rogers repeated a season-long pattern of not putting away innings. After two quick outs with no one on base, he coughed up three runs and saw his ERA climb to 8.06. Expected to be an important bullpen member, Rogers has pitched himself into mop-up duty.

Now it isn't clear how long he'll even have a spot. The Rockies have to clear a spot for Saturday starter Jeff Francis. The logical candidate is righty Guillermo Moscoso, who has Minor League options, but Tracy said Rogers, who is out of options, needs to pitch better.

"Esmil had five days [off], we're trailing, 4-1, you've got to be able to go out there and get three outs in a situation like that," Tracy said. "We've been dealing with this for most of the season, and he's got to realize that.

"There's no getting around it. He's not been good."

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.