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Chad Bettis was terrific on Tuesday night and the Rockies played just enough small ball to squeeze out three runs. The final score was 3-1 and gave the Rockies their fifth win. It was the first time the Rockies have won five straight since June 2014.
Bettis has pitched at least 6 innings in all but one start this year and has pitched five quality starts on the year. Getting length out of Bettis has not been a problem and that is key for the Rockies who normally kill their bullpens early in the year. With the quality pitching the Rockies have been getting, the bullpen has been able to stay fresh. It has also allowed for Walt Weiss to matchup with a lead giving the advantage to the bullpen.
Tuesday night followed the formula that Bettis has been adopted since the middle of last year. He was attacking Cardinals hitters, working with a great pace, and keeping the ball down in the zone. This formula was working particularly well for Bettis as he took a no-hitter through 4 innings. Even after running into some trouble in the fifth, Bettis kept the Cardinals off the board.
The Rockies were able to eek out a run in the third inning. It took some two out hitting, but with Charlie Blackmon reaching on a single and then stealing second base, Nolan Arenado was able to drive him in with a two out RBI single. That gave the Rockies the early lead.
Jaime Garcia was pitching well, but he was also uncharacteristically wild. In the fourth inning, Mark Reynolds led off the inning with a walk. Ryan Raburn struck out, but DJ LeMahieu was able to hit a single up the middle. Dustin Garneau then hit an RBI single, one of two hits on the night for the backup catcher, to give the Rockies a 2-0 lead. A slug bunt by Chad Bettis then drove in DJ from third as Bettis beat out the double play. That would end the scoring for the Rockies on the night but it would turn out to be enough.
Bettis has ran into trouble towards the end of games as he runs out of gas and it would be more of the same on Tuesday. In the seventh inning and with two outs, Bettis allowed three straight singles and the Cardinals scored their first run of the game. It is too bad Bettis was unable to get out of the inning, but it was still a terrific outing for Bettis who went 6.2 innings allowing five hits and walking two while striking out four. Boone Logan then came on to face Matt Carpenter with two on, but he got Carpenter to ground out to second to end the inning.
Carlos Estevez came on to work the eighth. Estevez has been thrust into some high stress innings in games, but he has fully embraced the role. He worked a perfect eighth to keep the Rockies lead at two and gave McGee the chance to close the game out.
McGee started the ninth with a bloop single from Yadier Molina, but would retire the next two batters. Kolten Wong then walked to put two on for Jedd Gyorko. McGee was able to keep the runners from scoring and struck out Gyorko for the win and his 13th save of the year. McGee has come in for each of the Rockies five wins on this streak and has earned a save in each game. He had a rough start to the year, but he has really brought it together and given the Rockies a strong back end of the pen. With Boone Logan and Estevez pitching like they have, and Miguel Castro on his way back, the Rockies are proving to have a potent back end of the bullpen. Along with the starters going six innings consistently, the Rockies are shortening games and putting everything together.
They will go for their sixth straight win on Wednesday with Chris Rusin on the mound. Rusin could very well go 6+ shutouts innings, or he could give up five runs in two innings, he is a tough pitcher to predict. The Rockies offense may need to pick him up, but they will have to do it against Adam Wainwright. Wainwright has not been that great this year so this game could turn into a slugfest.