Chacin makes triumphant return to Rockies

Chacin makes triumphant return to Rockies

Chacin makes triumphant return to Rockies
NEW YORK -- The last time Jhoulys Chacin pitched for the Rockies, Colorado was 11-12, but -- more importantly -- had a typical five-man rotation.

That was May 1, and things are different now.

Chacin's addition to the roster means -- at least temporarily -- Colorado again has a five-man rotation, but that didn't make him an exception to the new standard. Manager Jim Tracy held Chacin to the same 75-pitch limit as the rest of his starters -- it's what the right-hander did with them that counted.

Chacin delivered six brilliant innings in his return from the disabled list, giving up just one run on four hits and striking out two -- all with two pitches to spare (he threw 73). Colorado's 6-2 win earned Chacin his first victory since Aug 28, 2011.

"It was really fun, I was pretty happy to get back and pitch," Chacin said. "I was pretty excited. I just tried to attack the hitters. When you only have 75 pitches, you want to get the quickest outs you can, and that's what I was trying to do."

Chacin's firm control over his fastball was the most impressive part of his performance. Chacin got plenty of criticism for his lack of fastball command before he hit the disabled list, though his 7.30 ERA through his first five starts didn't give him much of a leg to stand on.

"It was so good to see him back out there, but [especially] to have him back out there tonight commanding his fastball in the manner in which he did tonight," Tracy said. "It's been quite a while since we've seen Jhoulys Chacin go out and command his fastball in the manner in which he did."

"Today, my arm felt free, and I wasn't trying to throw too hard," Chacin said. "Just locating my pitch, throw a strike and make them swing -- that's how you get quick outs."

But as great as Chacin was, Mets starter Chris Young was better -- at least through five innings.

It took the Rockies until the sixth inning to get a hit -- or even reach base -- against Young, who was perfect through the first five frames. But DJ LeMahieu broke up the bid to lead off the sixth inning, and Colorado followed by putting four runs on the board before tacking on solo runs in the eighth and ninth.

Jonathan Herrera followed with a single of his own to move LeMahieu to third. Chacin then laid down a sacrifice bunt, but Young's throw to first sailed well over the head of Daniel Murphy and into shallow right field to allow LeMahieu to score. Two more singles and a sac fly followed as Young's bid for perfection -- and a 1-0 Mets lead -- suddenly turned on its head.

"After [Young] made the throwing error, they just pecked away at him," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He did a tremendous job getting some key strikeouts, but they put the ball in play and ran the bases very aggressively."

It was the Mets' aggressive baserunning that resulted in Collins' fifth-inning ejection.

Andres Torres was initially ruled safe at second after getting caught in a rundown attempting to steal third, but Tracy ran out to argue and the ruling was overturned. Collins then took his turn -- replays later indicated that Torres was tagged not once, but twice well before he touched the bag -- and was tossed soon after.

Overall, Young was solid for the Mets -- his final pitching line included a season-high nine strikeouts, and only two of the four runs he surrendered over seven innings were earned. But he fell into the same trap that has daunted him all year, and Colorado capitalized.

Sustainability has been Young's Achilles' heel in 2012 -- entering Tuesday's start, opposing batters boasted a .347 batting average against him the third time through the lineup.

"Through the first five innings, all he did was [pitch from the windup]," Tracy said. "We didn't have him in the stretch until the sixth inning, so we got a little bit of a different look. When we got a baserunner, we were able to start doing some things, but we couldn't do anything in the first five innings because we didn't have a baserunner."

Young pitched good enough to get the win, but the Mets' inability to manufacture runs -- credit Chacin and four Colorado relievers -- was ultimately the downfall. The win marked Colorado's seventh in its last nine games, and sixth straight at Citi Field.

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