Rockies unable to overcome White's struggles

Rockies unable to overcome White's struggles

Rockies unable to overcome White's struggles
ARLINGTON -- Marco Scutaro didn't join the Rockies until this year, so forgive him if he thought his own odd play on the bases that helped cost them a 4-2 loss to the Rangers on Sunday night was unique.

"On this road trip, I bet you guys have seen [stuff] that you haven't seen," Scutaro said.

Well, for a franchise that has had one winning record on the road in 20 seasons, a lot of bad stuff has happened away from Coors. But it's understandable that Scutaro was shaking his head at the Rockies' current misery -- a 3-6 road trip for a club that has dropped 14 of its last 17.

The Rockies were down, 4-0, before rallying for two runs in the ninth. However, with two runs in, Scutaro was at first and Eric Young at second when Rangers closer Joe Nathan bounced a pitch with Jason Giambi batting.

Young took off for third, so Scutaro headed for second, but Rangers catcher Mike Napoli retrieved the ball quickly and had them both hung up on the basepaths. The speedy Young made it to third so Napoli threw to Michael Young, who then threw to Elvis Andrus covering second.

Scutaro beat the throw and second-base umpire D.J. Reyburn called him safe. However, Scutaro came out of his pop-up slide and stumbled toward first base. Andrus tagged him out. Giambi then struck out to end the game.

It appeared as if Scutaro left the bag thinking he was out, but he denied that. Exactly what happened, even he wasn't sure.

"I don't really know what happened," Scutaro said." I've got to watch the video. I slid, and for some reason I bounced back. I don't know if Andrus, when I tried to get up, pushed me or I hit the bag hard. I don't know. I can't really tell you. You've got to watch the video and see, because I'm not sure."

Andrus was every bit as puzzled as Scutaro.

"I have no clue what happened," Andrus said. "But as soon as I saw he was called safe, he fell off the bag and I just tried to tag him."

The Rockies were put in position to battle from behind after a 2 2/3-inning, four-run, six-hit, four-walk outing from starting pitcher Alex White (2-6) and several blown offensive chances.

The Rockies hit into three double plays against Rangers starter Matt Harrison (10-3), who gave up five hits and two walks, but struck out three and managed five scoreless innings before leaving with tightness in his lower back. They also loaded the bases in the sixth before Jonathan Herrera grounded out against reliever Robbie Ross.

Yet, Jeremy Guthrie settled the game by pitching 3 1/2 shutout innings to improve to 6 1/3 scoreless since being removed from the rotation, and Adam Ottavino and Matt Reynolds each pitched a scoreless frame. Then the Rockies rallied in the ninth.

"It might've appeared to be that it was going to be easy in the ninth inning, but it wasn't," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.

Herrera and Dexter Fowler singled off Nathan and Young was hit by a pitch. Scutaro singled in a run.

Carlos Gonzalez, the team's biggest offensive threat, drove a Nathan pitch to the deep left-center power alley. "I hit the ball pretty good, but I hit it to the toughest part of the park," Gonzalez said. Josh Hamilton dashed for a catch that most likely saved a two- or three-run double.

Young didn't tag up at second and had to return, so Giambi came to the plate with runners at first and second before the strange Scutaro play occurred.

"I just said it to myself after that play, what else can happen to us?" Gonzalez said.

Thus ended the Rockies' 2-13 performance in Interleague Play, which matched the 2010 Pirates for the lowest single-season winning percentage since the National and American leagues began facing off in regular-season play in 1997.

White's struggles have become an issue. His last three starts have each been his shortest since he debuted last season with the Indians. He went four innings against the Athletics on June 14, 3 2/3 innings and five runs in a no-decision at Philadelphia on Tuesday, and struggled again Sunday night.

White retired the first two batters of the game but gave up singles to Hamilton and Adrian Beltre and needed 30 pitches to escape the first inning, but at least he didn't give up a run. White threw 30 more in the second and gave up runs on RBI doubles by Leonys Martin and Andrus.

Martin chased White in the third with a two-out, two-run triple.

"I threw a lot of pitches, had a lot of 3-2 counts and in those situations I've got to come into the strike zone," White said. "I gave up the two bit hits to the No. 9 guy [Martin]. If I can avoid those two two-out hits, I can stay in the game and keep this thing close."

Tracy declined to address whether he will go back to Guthrie in the rotation, which currently has four pitchers working under a limit of around 75 pitches. White threw 78 on Sunday night.

Guthrie said he is simply trying to retire hitters without worrying about whether he will regain his rotation spot. Guthrie started and won the Rockies' season opener, but was pulled from the rotation after going 3-6 with a 7.02 ERA in 11 starts.

"They said I forced my hand to put me where I'm at," Guthrie said. "I didn't try to force their hand that way. I'm just going to try to get people out. I'm grateful for each chance I have to pitch."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for 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.