Paulino struggles with control in Denver's thin air

Right-hander allows six runs on nine hits, walks four in loss to Rockies

Paulino struggles with control in Denver's thin air

DENVER -- After the fifth inning Monday, Rockies pitcher Jordan Lyles was 3-for-3 with two RBIs and sitting on a six-run lead. The White Sox, meanwhile, had mustered two singles against Lyles, and had not gotten a runner to second base.

"At one point, their pitcher's outhitting us," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "That's never a good sign. We just need to be a lot better than that."

The White Sox, in particular starting pitcher Felipe Paulino, weren't very good in an 8-1 loss to the Rockies.

Paulino had a brief and unsuccessful two months with the Rockies in 2011 before they dealt him to the Royals. He was in their bullpen then, and returned Monday to start against them for the White Sox. In between, Paulino underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2012 and saw limited action in the Minor Leagues last season while still in the Royals organization.

Paulino went 0-4 with a 7.36 ERA three years ago with the Rockies before they sent him to Kansas City in late May. That 7.36 ERA also was Paulino's career ERA at Coors Field in nine games, including two starts, and it rose to 8.34 when he yielded six runs in 4 1/3 innings.

Paulino threw first-pitch strikes to 14 of the 26 batters he faced, but ended up throwing 99 pitches. 41 balls.

"Definitely was not a good game for me tonight," Paulino said. "I threw a lot of pitches. I got ahead of a lot of guys, but I never finished up. I have to figure out [how to] finish those hitters. It's unacceptable for me. How can I get ahead in the count and I can't finish? I couldn't finish tonight. I really fought for that."

The right-hander gave up a home run to Carlos Gonzalez in the first and a run-scoring double in the second to Lyles, who became the first Rockies pitcher to go 3-for-3 since Brian Bohanon on July 20, 2001. Lyles' double came after Paulino walked No. 8 hitter DJ LeMahieu with two outs.

Paulino finished with four walks and two strikeouts, and three of the runners he walked ended up scoring. In two starts this season, Paulino has six walks and eight strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings.

"They're starting to come in inopportune times," Ventura said of the walks. "You walk the eight-hole guy to get to the pitcher and he ends up whacking you around. You just need to be a lot sharper than that."

Meanwhile, Lyles, who gave up one run in 6 2/3 innings, held the White Sox hitless until Marcus Semien singled with one out in the fourth. They would have had a run but for a running catch by center fielder Charlie Blackmon on the warning track that ended the inning.

Avisail Garcia led off the fifth with a single, but Lyles struck out the next two batters and got Tyler Flowers to ground out. The White Sox finally got a runner to second base when Dayan Viciedo led off the sixth with a double, but Lyles retired the next three batters on groundouts, including a stellar play by shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to end the inning. Tulowitzki snared Jose Abreu's grounder deep in the hole, made a long jump throw to first and got the lumbering Abreu.

Lyles cruised into the seventh with a 7-0 lead. Conor Gillaspie led off that inning with an infield single. But with one out, Lyles threw a wild pitch while striking out pinch-hitter Paul Konerko and gave up a run-scoring double to Alexei Ramirez. Lyles then walked Flowers and was lifted for Adam Ottavino, who struck out Viciedo to end the inning.

"Actually, fastball location wasn't there tonight for the most part," Lyles said. "We got fortunate on some balls left over the plate. They hit it at guys. But tonight I wanted to go in with the mindset of making sure that the breaking ball was there. A lot of people say you can't throw the breaking ball here. That was my mindset coming into the game. I really wanted to spin it. For the most part it was pretty good. I got a couple of punch-outs later in the game with it."

Where Lyles makes his next start remains to be seen. He has made two starts in place of Tyler Chatwood (left hamstring strain), who began the season on the disabled list and is scheduled to make a rehab start Tuesday and barring a setback, is expected to return to the rotation Sunday when he's eligible to be activated.

Paulino faces no such uncertainty. His next scheduled start will be Saturday at home against the Indians. In the interim, Paulino said he will work with pitching coach Don Cooper on how to finish off hitters after getting ahead of them.

"I believe in myself. I believe I am going to be OK," Paulino said. "It was just a bad game. It's part of this game, basically. We got a bad game. We got a good game. We're looking for the consistency. This season just started. I am looking forward now."

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