Rockies weather rain, Phillies
Lopez rebounds from rough start to notch fifth win
DENVER -- During a one hour, 22 minute rain delay Saturday night at Coors Field, Rodrigo Lopez played catch, got taller and came back dominant after a not-so-dominant first inning.Lopez didn't actually grow, but he and pitching coach Bob Apodaca found a glitch in Lopez's windup that led to three first-inning runs for the Phillies. After the teams returned with two outs in the first inning, the Phillies didn't score another run, managed only one more hit in 4 1/3 more innings against Lopez and the Rockies won, 6-3. It was their fourth straight come-from-behind victory and fifth straight overall in front of 35,196 at Coors Field. "He was a different pitcher," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "Much more crisp. He spun the ball extremely well, changed speeds, controlled bat speed. His four innings after [the rain delay] were a big shot in the arm." Ryan Spilborghs and Todd Helton combined to drive in five runs for the Rockies, and the bullpen pitched four scoreless innings. The victory was Colorado's eighth straight at home. The Rockies have an opportunity Sunday go into the All-Star break two games above .500 and finish the six-game homestand undefeated. But Lopez (5-2) stood above them all. The Phillies started the game in batting-practice mode against Lopez. Jimmy Rollins hit a leadoff homer, and Ryan Howard added a two-run shot. After Greg Dobbs hit a double, Lopez caught a break in the form of rain and lightning. He played catch during the delay with Apodaca, and the two talked about what he needed to do -- stay in a taller body position so his pitches could take more of a downward angle. After giving up 14 earned runs in 8 2/3 innings while losing his previous two starts, then falling behind early on Saturday, Lopez needed to make changes. "It was a pretty good challenge, but I knew I could make the adjustment," Lopez said. "I just had to stay focused and get people off balance. It worked. Once the game got going, I felt more secure, more comfortable and more aggressive." Lopez left Saturday night high-fiving Spilborghs, who deserved plenty of love after going 3-for-4 with a two-run game-tying homer in the fifth inning and three RBIs. The reserve outfielder, who filled in for Willy Taveras as the center fielder and leadoff man, said he's a free spirit and has a bad memory, which helps him fill his role. He's provided some good memories this week. He had a grand slam Tuesday against the Mets, and hr has eight RBIs in only 10 at-bats since the start of the winning streak. "Obviously this lineup is the best in the National League," Spilborghs said. "I know with the group of guys we have it's going to be really hard for me to crack the lineup, so obviously when I come up and get an opportunity, I do my best." Spilborghs is hitting .330 this season, including a .424 mark over his last 11 games. "He's setting the bar pretty high," Hurdle said. "I hope if he doesn't have a three-hit game, you guys don't come in and ask what's wrong with him." Todd Helton went 3-for-4 and drove in two runs, including the go-head RBI in the three-run fifth inning against Phillies veteran lefty Jamie Moyer (7-7). Brad Hawpe added an RBI single in the seventh inning. The Rockies have scored 47 runs during this five-game winning streak, and the bullpen has allowed only four runs in 17 innings. "The easy thing is to look at the offense and say that we come back, but I don't think that's the case," Helton said. "The pitchers hold them to the least amount of damage as possible when they're in trouble, and then after that, they shut them down and we feel like we're going to score runs so we have a chance to come back." For the second straight night, the Rox's bullpen held the Phillies scoreless. Taylor Buchholz, LaTroy Hawkins and Jeremy Affeldt each pitched a scoreless inning, and Manny Corpas recorded his first big-league save by striking out the side in the ninth.
C.J. Moore is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.