Cabrera, who was starting in place of Drew Pomeranz, pitched himself into and out of a few jams and left the game in the fourth. He showed some flashes of command, just not enough.
In the end, Cabrera's line -- two runs on four hits in 3 1/3 innings -- only told part of the story in the Rockies' 6-2 loss to the D-backs at Chase Field.
After the game, Cabrera said that he struggled with his curveball and missed the strike zone too many times with his fastball.
Cabrera also said he didn't know if he will get another start or return to the Minor Leagues.
"I thought that what he did tonight -- in relation to his first start -- was that he was not quite as ramped up and he kept his velocity where it should be in order for him to be effective," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "But I think the learning point for Edwar is that you can't pitch behind in the count in this league. The other thing he is learning is the quality of his offspeed pitches and throwing those for strikes."
Cabrera got off to a good start, striking out two of the four batters he faced in the first inning. He exuded confidence as he strolled off the mound.
But Cabrera ran into trouble in the second inning when he gave up back-to-back singles to Miguel Montero and Chris Young with one out. He walked the next batter, Stephen Drew, to load the bases, but the rookie struck out pitcher Joe Saunders on five pitches for the second out, setting up a showdown with third baseman Willie Bloomquist.
Three pitches -- all of them balls -- later, Bloomquist had Cabrera on the ropes.
He just didn't stay there.
Cabrera fired a fastball down the middle for strike two. Bloomquist then lined out to right field on the next pitch to end the inning.
It didn't get any easier.
Cabrera gave up a single to second baseman Aaron Hill to start the third. He retired the next two hitters before intentionally walking right fielder Justin Upton. But Montero flied out to left field and Cabrera escaped unscathed to keep the game scoreless.
"He's a pretty good pitcher," Young said. "He mixed his pitches up well. He had a real good changeup working today which kept the guys off-balance and we just couldn't get to him early."
Rockies first baseman Michael Cuddyer hit the first of two home runs in the top of fourth for a 1-0 lead, but Young led off the bottom half with a walk and eventually scored on a double by Drew to tie the game at 1-1.
Cabrera responded by striking out Saunders, but he would not throw another pitch, replaced after throwing 81 pitches -- 45 for strikes -- by Josh Roenicke.
"I tried to not get behind in the count, so I tried to throw fastballs on the corners for strikes and get a ground ball," Cabrera said. "But I was behind a lot in the count, throwing the fastball in the zone and I missed a lot of pitches."
The D-backs were not done.
Bloomquist followed with a RBI double to put the D-backs ahead 2-1, and they never looked back. Arizona tacked on two runs in the fifth on a Chris Young homer and two more in the seventh to put the game out of reach.
Cuddyer's second home run, a line drive to center field in the top of the sixth, cut the D-backs' lead to 4-2, but the Rockies could not muster any more offense.
"We didn't pitch and we didn't hit," Tracy said. "You get three hits and the first baseman hits two solo home runs and you get a base hit from [reliever Josh] Roenicke and you are not going to win too many games that way. And you are not going to win too many games leaving the ball up in the strike zone like we did."