Chatwood strong vs. Crew for second straight win

Chatwood strong vs. Crew for second straight win

Chatwood strong vs. Crew for second straight win
DENVER -- The Rockies couldn't rave about right-hander Tyler Chatwood during Spring Training. He wasn't consistent enough to be rave-worthy. But they whispered about the nastiness of his pitches and wondered how good he could be.

Now folks can speak aloud about Chatwood, who pitched six strong innings Tuesday night for his second straight winning start, 8-6, over the Brewers at Coors Field in front of 28,036.

Chatwood (3-2), who began the year in the Rockies bullpen but didn't adjust to relief (7.62 ERA in seven appearances) and spent much of the season in the Minors, held the Brewers to two runs (one earned) on four hits and struck out three against no walks. It was a follow-up to his five scoreless innings in the Rockies' 3-0 shutout of the Giants on Friday night.

"I don't think I struggled that bad out of the bullpen, but it's definitely good to be back in the rotation and be in a routine again," said Chatwood, who was sent to Double-A in early July so he could work as a starter and had spent time at Triple-A Colorado Springs earlier in the year. "I knew I had to go out there and pitch, but it was the same mindset I had -- attack the hitters. It's really clicking right now."

The game, which included Wilin Rosario's impressive 19th homer in his rookie season and an unlikely monster two-run shot by Eric Young Jr., featured plenty of drama.

Matt Belisle had to strike out Aramis Ramirez and Ryan Braun with the bases loaded to escape the eighth. The Brewers scored three runs on three hits off reliever Rex Brothers in the ninth. With the tying runs on base, Braun launched a fly ball to center but Dexter Fowler caught it to end the game and put away Rafael Betancourt's 21st save in 26 chances.

"There's been a lot of 'just misses' over the last week, week and a half," said Braun, who has 29 home runs this season but none in his past 49 plate appearances. "It's a frustrating game sometimes."

Chatwood, 22, is reaching his potential as the Rockies (43-71) are showing they're a tough opponent when they pitch well.

By beating the Brewers (52-63) Monday and Tuesday, the Rockies clinched their first home series victory since June 1-3 against the Dodgers, an unusual drought for a team traditionally strong at home. But they haven't had many starts like the last two -- by Jeff Francis and Chatwood.

Chatwood had just one difficult inning. Carlos Gomez opened the third with a single and took second on shortstop Josh Rutledge's throwing error, and scored on Norichika Aoki's infield single. However, Fowler's diving catch in center robbed Rickie Weeks of extra bases to end the inning.

The only other run against Chatwood was on Martin Maldonado's leadoff homer in the fifth, but the right-hander went on to retire his final six batters.

Rockies manager Jim Tracy said he thought Chatwood, who made 25 starts for the Angels last season when injuries forced him into the rotation, would find his form.

"We know we're going to see it once he gets the mechanical things ironed out," Tracy said. "He's doing a much better job separating [his hands at the start of his delivery]. As a result, his arm is on time and the command improves. His fastball tonight was exploding.

"I just really hope it's a continued steppingstone for him."

The surging Young opened the four-run first with a double off Brewers starter Randy Wolf (3-9) and launched his homer off the facing of the second deck in the sixth against reliever Jose Veras.

"I've done that at the lower levels, obviously not up here," Young said. "That's not what I was trying to do, just put a good swing on it."

Young, playing regularly in the outfield because of injuries, had three hits to lift his batting average to .318. Known for speed and not power, Young has three homers, including an inside-the-park job in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Rosario doubled in a first-inning run and homered on a 3-0 pitch against Wolf in the fifth.

Carlos Gonzalez, who has remained steady even though opposing pitchers are giving him little to hit in the absence of Troy Tulowitzki (left groin surgery), added four hits, including a two-run single in the first. It was, however, an eventful night for Gonzalez on the bases. He was thrown out at second trying to stretch his third-inning single, and was caught stealing twice -- once on a Wolf pickoff.

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.