Rockies out of it early in Wells' return

Rockies out of it early in Wells' return

DENVER -- With a spot open in the Rockies starting rotation, manager Clint Hurdle made it clear that Monday night was Kip Wells' tryout for a permanent role.

Wells (1-2) couldn't escape the first inning, though, and the Rockies were blasted by the Dodgers, 16-10, in front of 38,291 fans at Coors Field. Colorado now trails Los Angles and Arizona by seven games in the National League West.

Wells, who had been out since April 29 with a blood clot in his right hand, retired just one of the 10 batters he faced before being mercifully replaced by Hurdle.

"Of course I'm disappointed," said Wells, who made it clear he wanted to be a starter when he signed with the Rockies. "Any time you have to watch 26 of the outs in the game that you start is insult to injury."

There was a cruel symmetry to Wells' outing: It started and ended with a double by Matt Kemp. In between were a double, four singles, a strikeout, a walk and an error. A chorus of angry boos rained onto the field as Wells, head bowed, exited for the dugout.

Wells finished his night by giving up eight runs on seven hits, walking one and throwing a wild pitch in just one-third of an inning. It was the fourth time in his career he lasted one inning or less.

After the game, Hurdle was left with an even muddier view of his future rotation.

"We've still got to find some answers," he said. "There's no doubt about that."

The Rockies offense remained hot, tallying 20 hits and scoring in each of the final seven innings, but the eight-run hole was too much to overcome.

"It's real hard," said Ian Stewart. "It puts a lot of pressure on the hitters."

Stewart, who was called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Saturday, has been impressive during his past three games. The third baseman had a career-high three hits on Monday and has driven in six runs since being recalled.

"I feel good at the plate," he said. "I'm squaring some balls up good and not missing pitches I should be hitting." Matt Holliday went 3-for-3 with a home run, a double and three RBIs, and Troy Tulowitzki had a career-high five hits in his first game back from the 15-day disabled list.

"I think I was swinging the bat decent before I got hurt," Tulowitzki said. "I just wasn't getting any results."

The Dodgers, who were ranked 26th in the Majors in runs scored before the game, logged season highs in hits (18) and runs (16). Rockies relievers Ryan Speier and Matt Herges didn't do much to stop them, surrendering four runs apiece in 4 2/3 innings combined.

There was some good news concerning the pitching staff, however. Jeff Francis faced the minimum number of batters through 3 2/3 innings in his first rehab start with Double-A Tulsa on Monday.

With Hurdle running out of options, the Rockies need a healthy Francis back in the starting rotation as soon as possible.

"Jeff's not ready yet, but he had a good first step back," Hurdle said. "We'll see. I just don't want to get ahead of myself right now. But we've got to make sure we're open-minded."

Jeff Birnbaum is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.