Chacin battles through forearm swelling to go eight

Chacin battles through forearm swelling to go eight

Chacin battles through forearm swelling to go eight

PITTSBURGH -- The National League Central-leading Pirates were hardly a match for Rockies pitcher Jhoulys Chacin. The increased swelling in his right forearm after he was hit with a line drive bothered him even less.

Chacin held the Pirates to one run on six hits in eight innings and did his most efficient pitching after taking Starling Marte's liner off his forearm at the end of the fifth, as the Rockies took a much-needed 4-2 victory in front of a PNC Park sellout crowd of 37,487.

The victory came after the Rockies began their road trip by being swept in a four-game series in Atlanta. At 52-59, the Rockies are 8 1/2 games back of the Dodgers in the National League West and the same distance back in the Wild Card standings. But Chacin was willing to hurt a little to keep aspirations alive.

As if he wanted to vanquish the Pirates before the swelling could end his night, Chacin (10-5), was deadly efficient at the end, retiring the last 14 batters he faced. The Marte liner -- which caromed off his arm and to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who threw to first base -- came at the end of a 10-pitch inning. He needed just 28 to get through the next three before manager Walt Weiss removed him with 96 pitches.

All he failed to accomplish was the second complete game of the season for the Rockies, whose policy is to keep starters at fewer than 100 pitches. The team's only complete game remains Tyler Chatwood's eight-inning, 1-0 road loss to the Dodgers on July 13.

"I just wanted to keep pitching," said Chacin, whose arm was red and swollen at the muscle just above the wrist after the game. "It hit me good, but I moved my hand and it felt fine. I said, 'Don't worry about it.'

"I think it got me going. It was, 'You get going or they're going to kill you.' I just attacked the hitters."

During the disappointment in Atlanta, pitchers who had been rolling recently -- Jorge De La Rosa, Juan Nicasio and Chatwood -- each pitched a dud. Chacin would not let the pattern continue Friday, even though the growing swelling affected his ability to throw his curveball.

Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger compressed the forearm in a tight sleeve, then had Chacin wear a normal long-sleeve shirt to comply with the rules. That was all Chacin needed to demonstrate why he is looked upon as a staff leader.

"We gave him the responsibility of being a top-of-the-rotation guy, and he's taken it and has run with it," Weiss said. "He took a bullet off the forearm. That thing hit him square, and I thought he might be done after the fifth. He goes out there and gives us three more innings."

The only time the Pirates threatened Chacin was with one out in the third, on Marte's infield single, Neil Walker's double and Andrew McCutchen's RBI single. However, Chacin forced Pedro Alvarez into a double play. It was the second of three double plays that Chacin induced against the Pirates, who had hit into fewer double plays than any team in the league save for the Rockies.

All of the double plays -- Garrett Jones was the victim in the second and fourth innings -- came on Chacin's sinker.

"Once he settled in, he wasn't giving us hitters a lot of pitches to drive," Jones said.

"That was maybe the best I've ever seen him," Tulowitzki said. "He was pounding the strike zone. He was nasty. Jhoulys is tough, man. He's always been tough."

Tulowitzki, who went 0-for-10 in the Atlanta series and was ejected from Thursday's finale for arguing strike calls at the plate, homered off Pirates rookie Gerrit Cole (5-5) to start the second and added an RBI single in the sixth off reliever Justin Wilson.

The homer, Tulowitzki's 20th of the season, ended the Pirates pitching staff's streak of homerless games at seven and was the third opposing team homer in 13 home games and fifth in the last 26.

"I haven't really hit [at Turner Field], I've never really hit the Braves' pitching all year," Tulowitzki said. "I won't get another chance at that unless we see them later on down the road. I'll work on that next year.

"But, hey, I've swung the bat here. Let's start all over and get going again."

Rex Brothers yielded consecutive doubles to McCutchen and Alvarez with one out in the ninth before Weiss visited the mound. Usually, pitching coach Jim Wright makes the first trip, with Weiss going out to make a change. Weiss said he merely offered motivation, and Brothers responded with the final two outs for his eighth save.

"He said, 'Carve 'em up, and let's get in the dugout,'" Brothers said. "That was all."

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.