Rox cruise past Tribe in opener
Baker hits inside-the-park homer; Reynolds goes six strong
DENVER -- For a team that's made producing runs with men in scoring position seem harder than solving a Rubik's Cube, the Rockies were willing to take runs any way they could against the Indians on Tuesday.
So when Jeff Baker laced a first-pitch fastball off the right-center-field wall and dashed for a two-run inside-the-park home run in the third inning of the Rockies' 10-2 win, the only Colorado player who didn't erupt in celebration was Baker, who was too busy huffing and puffing to enjoy his accomplishment.
"I was trying to catch my breath for the next inning and a half," Baker said.
Baker's inside-the-park homer -- the 10th in club history -- proved to be the beginning of a night in which the Rockies rotated around the bases all night. They tallied a season-high 17 hits, and five different players drove in two runs.
Brad Hawpe hit a two-run home run of his own in the fifth inning -- this one went over the left-field fence -- for his eighth homer of the season, and his fifth since returning from a strained right hamstring on June 6.
Indians pitcher Paul Byrd is known for his old-fashioned swinging windup and arsenal of pitches, but he didn't fool the Rockies. Byrd (3-7) gave up five runs on nine hits in four innings.
"He's crafty, smart, locates up and down and he's got some deceptions," Hawpe said. "We were just fortunate enough to hit some strikes today."
The Rockies scored six more runs, but they proved to be nothing more than exclamation points highlighting rookie right-hander Greg Reynolds' performance.
Reynolds (2-4) baffled the Indians over six innings by keeping his sinkerball down in the strike zone and mixing in his curveball on fastball counts. He gave up just one run on five hits and didn't surrender a walk for the first time this season.
"He made some improvements tonight, without a doubt," Hurdle said. "He pitched efficient, so there were some positives to work off of with Greg."
Reynolds gave up eight runs on 10 hits in just 3 1/3 innings Thursday against the Giants, but he worked with pitching coach Bob Apodaca over the past week to refine his mechanics, and the results were evident on Tuesday.
"When you get out there and competing and you're able to do the things you've been working on the previous week, it's a big step," Reynolds said. "You've got to do that to be successful."
He even contributed with his bat, hitting a single and a double.
"I've been watching Aaron Cook highlights," cracked Reynolds, who was referencing the pitcher's pinch-hit single on Monday.
Reynolds ran into trouble in the sixth when the first three batters to reach base. But after Apodaca came to the mound to remind him to work efficiently, Reynolds struck out Ryan Garko and forced Shin-Soo Choo to line to Omar Quintanilla, who made a diving catch and threw to second to double off former Rockie Jamey Carroll.
"Omar made a great play," Reynolds said. "That was probably the biggest play of the game for me and the team."
Matt Holliday went 3-for-5 with a double and a pair of singles, and Garrett Atkins roped a single down the left-field line to score two runners in the sixth.
The Rockies are 13 games below .500 (29-42), but Arizona's loss to Oakland on Tuesday has them eight games behind first place in the National League West. It's the closest they've been since May 12.
"Reynolds set the tone and we were able to back it up with some key hits," Baker said. "Hopefully we can continue to build off it."
Jeff Birnbaum is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.