Chen wins first start in nearly a year beating Rockies 4-1
MIAMI — Wei-Yin Chen has waited a long time to get back on the mound in a major league game.
He looked right at home.
Chen pitched into the sixth inning in his first start in nearly a year and the Miami Marlins beat the Colorado Rockies 4-1 on Saturday night.
“It’s been a long time I’ve had a long pitch count and pitched these many innings so when I went got out there, I didn’t want to think too much,” Chen said through a translator. “I just wanted to deal with this hitter and how I get this out. I didn’t think about anything else.”
Chen (1-0) allowed one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked two in his first game since last May 1 against Tampa Bay due to an elbow strain.
“I feel happy and excited,” Chen said. “It’s a long process the whole injury and rehab. But during the process I got a lot of support by others on the team, staff, including trainers and coaches. Today I was happy and thankful for everyone who has helped me. If I keep working hard, I’ll get better and better.”
Derek Dietrich homered and drove in two runs for the Marlins, and Martin Prado had three hits and two RBIs in his second game of the season after returning from a hamstring injury. Miami has won three of four.
“Just to show everyone that I’m healthy and I’m here to not just to perform, but show them I have respect,” Prado said. “To be able to contribute to win the game it’s huge for me.”
Kyle Barraclough pitched the ninth for his first save of the season getting the nod over struggling closer Brad Ziegler.
“Ziegler was not 100 percent today,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He could have went. I trust all those guys out there. It was just a night when he was not feeling 100 percent. I knew it was a situation where the other guys were. I just really want to go with the guys who are 100 percent.”
Charlie Blackmon hit his ninth home run of the season for the Rockies, who snapped a three-game winning streak.
Colorado starter German Marquez (1-3) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings, throwing a career-high 113 pitches.
“A lot of times this day in age you go six innings and give up three, a lot of times that’s thought of to be a really good outing,” Rockies manager Bud Black said.
Chen started his night striking out Blackmon, Nolan Arenado, and Trevor Story in the first inning.
“I myself was surprised, too,” Chen said. “All I did there was try to attack hitters. It turns out I got three strikeouts so that was a pretty good start.”
Chen primarily relied on his 90-91 mph fastball throughout his outing.
“The fastball was a little sneaky,” Black said. “Sneaky velocity.”
The Marlins backed Chen with run support with Prado knocking in a run in the first and third innings. Dietrich’s base hit in the fourth extended the lead to 3-0.
“From the beginning I was a little excited,” Marquez said. “My tempo was really fast and then I was calmed down so I think that was an adjustment.”
Blackmon got the Rockies on the scoreboard with his homer to deep right-center field in the sixth.
“It looked like (Chen) ran out of gas a bit,” Mattingly said. “I thought he was very good.”
Dietrich, Blackmon’s former roommate at Georgia Tech, homered in the seventh to push Miami’s lead to 4-1.
MARLINS’ ROTATION CLICKING
Miami starting pitchers have held opponents to two-or-fewer runs in six consecutive games going 1-2 with a 1.57 ERA in that span. It is the longest such streak since May 27-June 1, 2017.
Rockies: LHP Tyler Anderson left Friday’s start early with a heartbeat issue, but Black says, “Tyler is fine. He checked out well last night through the doctors here at the stadium, a clean bill of health. He’s fine today. I say this often, I’m not a doctor so I don’t know what happened, but I’m glad that he’s feeling better.” … 2B DJ LeMahieu (right hamstring) was held out of the lineup after leaving Friday’s game early and is considered day-to-day. … OF Carlos Gonzalez (right hamstring) is eligible to return from the disabled list on Sunday and Black is optimistic he will be able to return soon.
Marlins: 1B Justin Bour was a late scratch from the lineup due to back spasms, which acted up during batting practice. … RHP Dan Straily (forearm) is expected to make his season debut Monday starting against Philadelphia.
Rockies: RHP Chad Bettis (3-0, 2.40 ERA) is scheduled to start the series finale. The Rockies are 4-1 this season in his starts.
Marlins: LHP Caleb Smith (0-3, 5.82) had his start pushed back a day for Chen.
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