DENVER (AP) - A young, flamethrowing righty turned in a masterful performance for the Colorado Rockies.
And his name wasn't even Ubaldo Jimenez.
Jhoulys Chacin tossed a six-hitter for his first career complete game, Chris Iannetta hit a bases-clearing triple and the Rockies won their seventh straight, beating the Chicago Cubs 5-0 on Friday night.
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 Jimenez sidelined due to a cracked cuticle on his right thumb.
In windy and cool conditions, Chacin (3-0) struck out seven and walked two. He 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 complete-game shutout at Coors Field since Aaron Cook's gem July 1, 2008, against San Diego. Jimenez also had one on the road last May in San Francisco.
``I feel really happy for this,' Chacin said. ``It was big time.'
Especially given the state of the 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.'
Count Cubs manager Mike Quade among those impressed with the electric stuff of Chacin.
``What a good-looking young pitcher,' Quade said, shaking his head. ``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.'
Matt Garza (0-2) turned in a third straight erratic performance, surrendering five runs and seven hits in six innings. That despite doing what most pitchers haven't been able to recently: Limit the damage done by Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki. The three and four hitters in Colorado's lineup were a combined 1 for 8 on the night.
``I gave up a big hit and that's why I got beat,' Garza said. ``It's going to turn. It's going to turn. I know it's a long season. It's going to turn.'
Garza's undoing on Friday was the second inning.
With the bases loaded, Iannetta hit a pitch from Garza to deep center that Marlon Byrd couldn't quite corral. All three runs scored and when Starlin Castro's relay throw to third ended up in the dugout, Iannetta sauntered home, too.
The rally was started with a single from Tulowitzki, one of the hottest hitters in the league.
The smooth-swinging shortstop had a torrid four-game series in New York against the Mets, going 10 for 16 with four homers and eight RBIs.
Tulowitzki took a little time to get his swing dialed in - he started the season in an 0 for 9 funk after signing a lucrative long-term deal over the winter - but now even his outs are loud. He entered the game leading the majors with seven homers.
He's putting together the type of tear like he had last September, when he hit 15 homers, a franchise record for a month.
Tulowitzki insists hitting isn't as easy as he's making it look right now.
``At any point and time, you can go south. I know that,' Tulowitzki said. ``Just trying to do what I do out there and trying to play the game hard.'
The Rockies have switched around their starting rotation, pushing ace Jimenez's return to the mound back a day.
Jimenez, who's on the 15-day disabled list, was scheduled to throw Monday to open a three-game series with San Francisco.
Now, Esmil Rogers will face Tim Lincecum and the Giants, while Jimenez goes Tuesday.
Tracy said Friday the decision was made not so much because of the condition of Jimenez's cut on his pitching hand, but to keep Rogers on his regular pitching schedule.
``It's good. I don't feel any pain,' Jimenez said before the game.
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. ... The Cubs have dropped six straight games at Coors since August 2009.
The Associated Press News Service
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