One bad inning derails Garza, Cubs in 5-0 loss
DENVER – Matt Garza doesn't think he's that far off despite his third straight erratic outing.
One bad inning doomed the hard-throwing righty the Chicago Cubs were counting on to bolster their rotation.
"It's going to turn. It's going to turn," Garza said after a 5-0 loss to Colorado on Friday night in which Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin threw a complete-game gem. "I know it's a long season. It's going to turn."
Garza (0-2) surrendered five runs and seven hits in six innings. That despite doing what most pitchers haven't been able to do recently: Limit the damage done by Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki. The three and four hitters only had one hit off Garza all night.
The undoing for Garza was a disastrous second inning.
With the bases loaded, catcher Chris Iannetta hit a pitch from Garza to deep center that barely eluded Marlon Byrd's glove. All three runs scored and when Starlin Castro's relay throw to third ended up in the dugout, Iannetta sauntered home, too.
Given the way Chacin was pitching, that was more than enough.
"I thought Garza threw the ball well," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "I was really happy with him. I was encouraged. It was one inning and not much offense from us because their kid was real good."
Extremely good, in fact.
In windy and cool conditions, Chacin (3-0) scattered six hits, struck out seven and walked two. The 23-year-old righty smacked his fist into his glove when the Rockies recorded a 5-4-3 double play to end the game.
With that, Chacin became the first Rockies pitcher to throw a shutout at Coors Field since Aaron Cook's performance July 1, 2008, against San Diego.
"What a good looking young pitcher," Quade said, shaking his head in amazement. "To have that kind of repertoire in this kind of ball park and everything else, I mean he was good. I am impressed.
"I think a lot of us were victims of a good pitching performance."
The Rockies are off to their best start in franchise history, improving to 11-2 behind the performance of Chacin, who's picking up the slack quite nicely with ace Ubaldo Jimenez sidelined due to a cracked cuticle on his right thumb.
"I feel really happy for this," Chacin said. "It was big time."
Especially given the fatigued state of Colorado's bullpen.
Rockies right-handed relievers Huston Street and Felipe Paulino were off limits Friday after a taxing week. Not that they were even remotely needed, given the way Chacin threw.
"To have this kid step out there tonight and do what he did and basically give the entire group the night off, what a performance that was," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "He's capable of dominating games when he throws the ball and throws his fastball in the manner he did tonight."
Garza was acquired from Tampa Bay in the offseason to improve the rotation after winning 15 games with the Rays in 2010.
Throw away the second inning and the outing doesn't look that faulty.
"He just keeps competing," Quade said. "As long as he keeps making pitches with that mindset, he will be just fine.
"It hasn't been a great start for him and he knows that. But he's still working and I still believe he's going to be a (great) pitcher on this club and in this rotation. He showed signs of what we want to see."
NOTES: Cubs 3B Aramis Ramirez finished with three hits. ... First base umpire Jerry Layne left the game in the second inning after being hit by a line drive in the left ankle. The crew chief walked off under his own power, heading straight into the clubhouse.