Rox ride De La Rosa to eighth straight victory

Left-hander fans four D-backs batters in six shutout innings

Rox ride De La Rosa to eighth straight victory

DENVER -- Now that he's healthy, left-hander Jorge De La Rosa is roaring back from his June 2011 Tommy John surgery.

De La Rosa gave the Rockies another scintillating start on Saturday as they beat the D-backs, 4-3, for their eighth straight victory. At 13-4, the Rockies are off to the best start in franchise history through 17 games. The Rox are also 8-0 at home, extending their franchise record at home to start a season. The Rockies are the only undefeated team at home in the Major Leagues.

De La Rosa held the D-backs to two singles while pitching six scoreless innings, duplicating his previous start Sunday at San Diego. De La Rosa ran his scoreless streak to 17 consecutive innings. During that span, he has allowed seven hits with five walks and 12 strikeouts.

After throwing 25 pitches and facing four batters in the first, De La Rosa needed just 57 pitches to get through the next five innings.

"I think we saw a lot of what we've been seeing from Jorge lately, commanding his secondary pitches," manager Walt Weiss said. "He's getting a lot of outs from his changeup and his slider."

Asked if he is all the way back from his Tommy John surgery, De La Rosa said: "That's in the past. I feel very good right now. I'm getting stronger every time."

Early mistakes hurt the D-backs. Catcher Wil Nieves threw a ball past third base and down the left-field line, allowing Josh Rutledge to escape a rundown and score in the second. The D-backs had runners thrown out in successive innings. A.J. Pollock was caught stealing second to end the third. After Martin Prado led off the fourth with a single, he tried to tag up on Paul Goldschmidt's fly to center and was thrown out at second on a relay that went 8-4-6 to complete a double play.

"We didn't play well," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We played great all year. Tonight wasn't one of those games."

Michael Cuddyer's solo home run in the sixth proved to be the winning run after D-backs pinch-hitter Eric Chavez hit a two-run homer off Edgmer Escalona in the eighth, and the D-backs scored a run off Rafael Betancourt, who stranded runners on second and third in the ninth to earn his seventh save.

The D-backs' frustrations boiled over in the seventh when Cody Ross flipped his bat in the air after a called third strike by home-plate umpire Chad Fairchild. He ejected Ross immediately, and Gibson moments later after he came out to argue the call.

"He threw him out for flipping his bat, and I thought it was a short fuse," Gibson said. "I think he threw me out shortly, as well.  But that's over with, we have a game to win tomorrow."

De La Rosa's outing gave the Rockies back-to-back scoreless outings of at least six innings from their starters for the first time since June 19-20, 2006, after Jhoulys Chacin did so on Friday. Byung-Hyun Kim and Jason Jennings did it in 2006. Overall, the Rockies' starters are 10-2 with a 3.73 ERA. Weiss said he considered sending De La Rosa out for the seventh and would have had his spot in the lineup not come up with two outs in the sixth.

"He was throwing really well." Weiss said. "He'd have been fine running out there again, but I'm trying to protect our starters over the long haul, too."

Weiss said he considered bringing in left-hander Rex Brothers to face the left-handed-hitting Chavez, but stuck with Escalona.

"If it's less than four runs, I probably would have [made the change]," Weiss said. "I didn't feel bad about that matchup. I thought he had a chance to get a double play right there. Sinker-slider guy, he was throwing the ball real well."

Unlike the D-backs, the Rockies did the little things well to score twice in the third. Eric Young Jr., whose drive to right-center in the first was hauled in by Pollock just before he banged into the wall, led off with a triple over Pollock's head. Cahill then hit Dexter Fowler on the right wrist with a 1-2 fastball, and Fowler stole second on the next pitch. Young scored and Fowler took third on No. 3 hitter Carlos Gonzalez's groundout. Cleanup hitter Troy Tulowitzki's sacrifice fly made it 3-0.

"We don't have to hit the long ball sometimes," Gonzalez said. "Sometimes, all we got to do is that -- just play smart. Like I say, every night, it's somebody else ... and we continue to play good baseball.

Jack Etkin is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.