DENVER | Chad Kuhl pitched six scoreless innings during his home debut with the Rockies before leaving with a tight right hip flexor and right hamstring, and Charlie Blackmon hit a go-ahead home run to lead Colorado over the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 on Monday night.
Kuhl (1-0) allowed a pair of singles, struck out four and walked one, throwing 42 of 68 pitches for strikes.
“Just really good fastball command. Felt like I was getting ahead,” Kuhl said. “I was getting quick outs with the two-seam. Just one of those things; got a little cold. But it’s not going to be a problem.”
He went to the mound to warm up for the seventh but didn’t start the inning. Rockies manager Bud Black and assistant athletic trainer Heath Townsend came out to check on Kuhl. Following a long discussion, he went to the dugout and Tyler Kinley relieved with a 2-0 lead.
“After the sixth he said that he was having some hip flexor issues, a little tightness sort of wrapping around his hamstring,” Black said. “He’s moving around in the dugout. He was just trying to stay active.
“He wanted to continue, which is admirable, but I made the decision to make the change. I just didn’t feel comfortable.”
Sam Hilliard and C.J. Cron had two hits apiece, Kinley worked a perfect seventh and Alex Colome allowed a two-out walk in a hitless ninth for his first Rockies save.
Aaron Nola (1-2) took a shutout into the sixth before Blackmon led off with his first home run this season. Nola left after a one-out single by Cron, who came around to score on a groundout and two wild pitches by José Alvarado.
“I thought Alvarado was probably as good as anyone,” Philadelphia manager Joe Girardi said. “He’s tough on lefties. He does get the groundball but unfortunately the wild pitch before that.”
Randal Grichuk made it 4-0 with a two-out, two-run double off James Norwood in the seventh.
Pinch-hitter Didi Gregorius doubled in a run off Carlos Estévez in the eighth. The Phillies had runners on second and third with one out when J.T. Realmuto lined to reliever Jhoulys Chacín, who doubled up Gregorius at second.
“You tell them not to get doubled up, but it’s bang-bang,” Girardi said. “Your first movement is usually to go, but hope that they can freeze and get back, but he just wasn’t able to.”
Baserunners were scarce in the early innings, so when Rhys Hoskins drew a two-out walk in the top of the fourth it created an opportunity for Philadelphia.
Kuhl kept him close with three tosses to first while going 2-2 on Kyle Schwarber. After delivering to the plate, catcher Elias Diaz’s snap throw to first got Hoskins for the third out.
Phillies: Bryce Harper will serve as the designated hitter in the three-game series, Girardi said. Harper, who went 1 for 4 with two strikeouts, is dealing with a sore right elbow that bothers him when he throws but not when he swings a bat. … Odúbel Herrera (right oblique strain) is at Triple-A Lehigh on a rehab assignment.
Rockies: Black said RHP Robert Stephenson and LHP Lucas Gilbreath were both activated from the COVID-19 injured list after the game. Both pitchers were on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque this weekend. RHP Jordan Sheffield and INF Colton Welker were optioned to Albuquerque in corresponding moves.
Philadelphia RHP Kyle Gibson (1-1, 3.09 ERA) will face Colorado LHP Kyle Freeland (0-2, 10.00) in the second of a three-game set Tuesday.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism