DENVER (AP) - Colorado manager Jim Tracy said it would be ``an education day' for Christian Friedrich in his Coors Field debut. It turned out to be a tough lesson.
Friedrich struggled with his control on a damp afternoon and the Seattle Mariners beat the slumping Colorado Rockies 10-3 on Saturday.
The 24-year-old left-hander was chased in the sixth inning after allowing the bottom three batters in the Mariners lineup to reach base. Esmil Rogers, who has an 8.10 ERA, allowed all three runners to score, leaving Friedrich (1-1) with eight runs and nine hits allowed. He walked four and had three strikeouts, throwing 56 of his 100 pitches for strikes.
After performing very well in his first two major league starts in San Diego and San Francisco, both pitcher-friendly ballparks, Friedrich had to tackle the challenge that is pitching at Coors Field, and his ERA jumped from 1.38 to 5.00. He issued two walks in 13 innings and struck out 17, while throwing 93 pitches in each of his first two starts - six innings at San Diego, where he threw 60 strikes, and seven innings at San Francisco, where he registered 69 strikes.
``I just couldn't locate the fastball and tried to stick with it,' Friedrich said. ``I should have mixed up pitches a little bit more. Just not establishing the fastball down, that's the biggest part of my game, it allows me to use all my other pitches.'
Friedrich retired the Mariners in order for the only time in the first. He opened the second by walking Jesus Montero, and Kyle Seager pulled Friedrich's 1-0 fastball into the right field stands for his fifth homer. Seager went 3-for-4 with a walk and three RBI and has gone 5-for-7 with a triple, homer and five RBI in the Mariners two victories here.
Friedrich issued another walk in the second but got Brendan Ryan to ground into a double play. With two out in the third, Friedrich issued a walk followed by three straight singles that netted two runs.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said his team had video of Friedrich's first two starts but little in the way of hard data, having never seen him.
``He has a pretty good fastball,' Wedge said. ``He has some sharp breaking pitches. We wanted to make sure, in particular with the breaking balls, if he was out of the zone, that we were able to lay off it, make him come in. We wanted to make him throw the ball over the plate.'
After his two-out troubles in the third, Friedrich gave up another run in the fourth when Ryan tripled with one out and pitcher Jason Vargas (5-3) singled, his first hit since the Mariners last played at Coors on June 14, 2009 and first RBI since April 2006 at Cincinnati while pitching for Florida.
Friedrich, the 25th overall pick in the 2008 draft, gave up a double to Michael Saunders to start the sixth and a single to Ryan. While facing Vargas, Friedrich threw a wild pitch and then walked Vargas to finish his workday.
``I've had outings worse than this before,' Friedrich said. ``And obviously this is a bigger stage, so it hurts the ego a little bit. But as soon as you leave the field, you try to forget about it. And you remember the things that you can fix and get better at, so that's all I'm going to worry about.'
The Rockies, who fell to 1-3 on this homestand that ends Sunday and 9-13 overall at Coors Field this season, scored three runs off Vargas in the seventh, which proved to be his final inning. Jordan Pacheco singled in a run with two out and catcher Wilin Rosario followed with his sixth homer.
``I don't know if they were starting to make adjustments,' Vargas said. ``I'd go back in there to Pacheco again. He fought that ball off and put it in play. The one to their catcher wasn't as in as it probably should have been, but the score was 9-1 at that point. I'm going to go right after him.'
Vargas was 0-2 with an 18.00 ERA in his two previous starts at Coors Field. He said on Seattle's last homestand, he spoke with catcher Miguel Olivo, who played for the Rockies in 2010, about pitching at Coors Field.
``I was throwing a lot of fastballs today,' said Vargas, who threw 65 of 94 pitches for strikes. ``Coming here before, I kind of tried to go back and forth a lot and tried to keep guys off balance and I've fallen behind. So I was just going to go out and try to pound the zone like (Kevin) Millwood did last night. I had little hiccup in the seventh but got through it.'
Millwood, who threw a two-hit shutout Friday as the Mariners won 4-0, and Vargas, who allowed five hits, have helped keep the Rockies scoreless for 17 of 18 innings in the series and limit them to an average of .119 (7-for-59).
``A lot of us are cold at the same time,' said Michael Cuddyer, who is hitless in his past 13 at_bats and 12-for-62 (.194) this month. ``It's unfortunate that it happens that way, but it does. Every team goes through it and unfortunately, we're going through it right now.'
Notes: Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo (strained right groin) will catch five innings for Triple-A Tacoma at Iowa on Monday and serve as Tacoma's DH on Tuesday. Mariners manager Eric Wedge said Olivo will need to catch at least once more and just when will depend on what happens Monday and Tuesday...The Mariners have won their first series on the road since sweeping in Detroit on April 24-26...Rosario is hitting .215 but 11 of his 14 hits have gone for extra bases - five doubles and six homers...The Rockies will start Jeremy Guthrie (2-1) against Blake Bevan (1-4) in the series finale.
The Associated Press News Service
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