DENVER – Colorado manager Jim Tracy was joking before the game about the arid atmosphere in Denver.
"A lot of us men, we don't carry our bottle of hand cream with us. Hey, I need a little lotion on our hands. They get dry," he said.
Three hours later, he watched lefty Jorge De La Rosa have to leave his stellar start with a blood blister on the middle finger of his left hand.
De La Rosa (1-0) stuck around long enough to lead the Rockies past the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 Saturday night. He scattered three harmless singles and drove in a run before leaving in the sixth inning.
Trainers popped and cleaned the blister and Tracy said he had no worries about De La Rosa missing his next start.
Still, the Rockies' top two pitchers are now dealing with injuries. Ace Ubaldo Jimenez has a cracked cuticle on this right thumb that was the culprit in his shaky debut Friday and could force him to miss his next start.
After Kelly Johnson grounded out leading off the sixth, Tracy and head athletic trainer Keith Dugger rushed out to the mound, took a quick look at De La Rosa and decided his night was over. He dejectedly walked off toward the dugout.
"I told them I wanted to stay pitching," De La Rosa said.
Not a chance, said Tracy.
"It was developing, it was just beginning to work its way underneath the nail on his middle finger and it was a blood blister and it had not popped," Tracy said. "And if we would have continued, from what I saw when I walked to the mound, we were asking for trouble moving forward and I absolutely did not want to go there or run the risk of doing that."
De La Rosa said he always needs a couple of starts to build up the callus on his fingers.
"My finger's good. I'm going to make my next start, for sure," he said.
De La Rosa, who missed two months last year with a freak tendon injury to the same finger, struck out five and walked one before he was replaced by Matt Belisle.
"You saw what De La Rosa can do. He threw more changeups tonight and against that windup of his it's hard to hold up," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "I saw the same kind of effort in spring training when his stuff was nasty. I thought we had a better chance when he came out of the game, but came up short."
Belisle gave up one hit in 1 2-3 innings.
Rafael Betancourt pitched the eighth and Huston Street got the final three outs for his first save. But he needed 32 pitches to do it. He gave up a leadoff single to Justin Upton and walked Chris Young before Ryan Roberts' RBI single gave Arizona its first run.
Miguel Montero flied out to center and pinch-hitter Russell Branyan flied out to the wall in left-center, moving the runners up. Gerardo Parra then struck out to end it.
"He saved the game, that's what his job is," said Tracy, who only took issue with Street throwing a fastball instead of a slider with two strikes on Upton, "and that started to fuel the inning."
Daniel Hudson (0-1) took the loss after surrendering three runs on six hits over six innings. He also walked one and struck out five.
De La Rosa was one of Colorado's key signings over the winter. He agreed a two-year, $21 million deal to stay in Colorado, where he's enjoyed the most success of his career. The Rockies are 31-13 in his starts since June 2009.
A torn pulley tendon on his left middle finger limited De La Rosa to 20 starts last season, when he went 8-7 a year after going 16-9 and helping the Rockies win the NL wild card.
"De La Rosa while he was out there tonight was phenomenal," Tracy said. "A devastating changeup, and I was very pleased with the way he stayed ahead of hitters tonight."
Hudson was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball over the last two months of last season, when he went 7-1 with a 1.79 ERA with just 16 walks to go with 70 strikeouts. He wasn't bad on this night, limiting the middle of Colorado's powerful order to one hit in eight at-bats.
Colorado's big hits came from the bottom of the order.
Chris Iannetta, the No. 8 hitter, singled and scored on Dexter Fowler's RBI double in the first. In the fourth, Iannetta hit a two-out RBI double and then scored on De La Rosa's line drive over first baseman Xavier Nady's head that capped a seven-pitch at-bat and made it 3-0.
Cleanup hitter Troy Tulowitzki, who signed a new deal over the winter worth a guaranteed $157.75 million over the next 10 years, is still searching for his first hit of the season. He's 0 for 8 so far and grounded into an inning-ending double play in the first and stranded two more runners in the third with another groundball to short.
Rockies third baseman Ian Stewart, who's been dealing with a troublesome left hamstring that forced him to sit out the opener, made a nifty play in the second, snaring a hard-hit groundball and his momentum carried him five feet into foul territory, then his throw across the diamond easily beat Nady. But he went 0 for 3 at the plate.
All three Rockies outfielders made terrific plays, including Carlos Gonzalez's diving catch down the line that robbed Montero of extra bases in the seventh.
After two games, though, De La Rosa has more RBIs — one — than sluggers Gonzalez and Tulowitzki combined.
NOTES: The D-Backs haven't started out 2-0 since 2002, splitting their first two games every year since. ... The Rockies followed up Friday's crowd of 49,374 with a crowd of 40,216.