Haren pitches a shutout as D-Backs rout Rockies
Dan Haren pitched splendidly again while his Arizona Diamondbacks teammates finally backed him up with some timely hitting.
The result for the D-backs was a 2-0 victory Wednesday over the Colorado Rockies, as Haren threw seven shutout innings and Ryan Roberts broke a scoreless tie with a pinch-hit single in the bottom of the seventh.
“It was nice to be able to reward him with a win,” Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said about Haren, who allowed six hits and two walks while striking out nine.
The victory was Haren’s first of the season after three hard-luck losses in which he gave up a total of four runs and the D-backs scored a total of one.
With Wednesday’s seven scoreless innings, Haren improved his earned-run average from 1.89 to 1.38. In 26 innings this season, he has allowed just four runs on 18 hits and has struck out 26 batters. Haren is ranked second in the National League behind Johan Santana of the New York Mets in both ERA and strikeouts.
“I’m just happy we got him a W, because it’s hard to throw under a 2 ERA and not have a win,” Diamondbacks outfielder/first baseman Conor Jackson said in an interview with Fox Sports Arizona after Wednesday’s game. “I’m excited we got him a win, and hopefully we can get some momentum going.”
“It’s baseball, man,” Jackson said. “You’re going to have your ups. You’re going to have your downs. We’ve had stretches like this last year. We just happened to have it at the beginning of the year this year. We’re not worried. We’re not pushing the panic button. We just need to go out and play good baseball.”
The Rockies put at least one runner on base in six of seven innings against Haren but were unable to score. Meanwhile, Colorado starting pitcher Jorge De La Rosa (0-2, 3.78 ERA) shut out the Diamondbacks through the first six frames before Arizona broke through in the bottom of the seventh.
Chris Young led off the seventh for the D-backs with a base hit to left-center field. After Eric Byrnes flied out to left, Chris Snyder lined a single into center field. With runners on first and second and one out, Melvin called for Roberts to pinch-hit for Haren, who had lined out to center field and singled up the middle in his two at-bats.
“The other option was to let Danny hit,” Melvin said in his post-game press conference. “Danny had some good at-bats. I would have thought about potentially letting him hit, but when he came into the dugout after that (top of the seventh) inning, he was spent.”
Haren had thrown 103 pitches in the scoreless battle.
“Every pitch, you’re throwing it like it could be the outcome of the game, so it took a lot out of him,” Melvin said.
Melvin’s decision to lift Haren for the pinch-hitter paid off, as Roberts lined the first pitch he saw into right-center field for an RBI single.
“Big at-bat -- for a guy that doesn’t get too many at-bats,” Melvin said about Roberts, who is 2 for 6 on the season.
Snyder advanced to third on Roberts’ hit, and Roberts took second on the throw to third. After the Rockies opted to walk Felipe Lopez intentionally to load the bases, De La Rosa struck out Stephen Drew for the second out. Colorado manager Clint Hurdle then brought in right-handed reliever Jason Grilli, who walked Jackson on a 3-2 breaking ball to force in the second and final run of the game.
“That was a great at-bat,” Melvin said about Jackson’s walk. “It seems like his body language in the batter’s box is a lot better right now. And that’s the type of hitter he is -- not chasing pitches and making them come to him, and in that situation taking a walk.”
Tony Pena pitched the eighth inning and Chad Qualls worked the ninth for the Diamondbacks. Although Pena gave up one base hit and Qualls allowed two, both were able to retire the side without surrendering a run. Qualls was credited with his fourth save.
By: Tom Kessler
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