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Homers not enough to lift Rockies

Homers not enough to lift Rockies

DENVER -- Three-quarters of the Rockies' hits off Phillies starter Brett Myers were home runs Saturday night.

Problem was, three-quarters equaled three, and that wasn't nearly enough. The Phils scored all but one of their runs with two out and beat the Rockies, 8-4, at Coors Field in front of 35,251.

Despite giving up Troy Tulowitzki's third home run of the season, a two-run shot in the second inning, Garrett Atkins' second homer in as many games and Clint Barmes' first of the season, the result was typical of Myers (1-1) against the Rockies. Myers is 6-0 career against the Rockies, and 5-0 in six starts at Coors Field.

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In Myers' first two starts of 2009, batters have gone deep six times. But this time, homers didn't hurt him. Myers struck out six and walked one in his seven innings. Brad Hawpe doubled in front of Tulowitzki's home run, so everyone who had a hit and all but one Rockies player who reached base scored.

"When he's throwing a lot of strikes and hitting his spots, now you're 0-2 and battling on what he wants you to hit," Barmes said. "We battled him pretty well tonight and didn't get much started."

Asked about his success at Coors, Myers said, "Luck? I don't know."

Rockies left-handed starter Jorge De La Rosa (0-1) started off hot, retiring eight of the first nine hitters he faced. But with two down in the third, he gave up singles to Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino to load the bases. Ryan Howard, who would lift his batting average from .188 to .250, lashed a three-run double to left-center on the first pitch for a 3-2 Phillies lead.

With two down in the fifth, Chase Utley and Howard singled off De La Rosa before relief pitcher Ryan Speier gave up Jayson Werth's two-run triple, when he fought off an inside pitch. What started so promisingly ended up a rough night for De La Rosa -- 4 2/3 innings, six hits, five runs.

"I made a lot of mistakes with two outs," De La Rosa said. "I was behind in the count sometimes and I paid for it."

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said, "Jorge did some good things. We get that last out, he leaves with 4 2/3 innings and three runs scored. So he's got work to do, just as all of us do."

In his Rockies debut, right-hander Jason Hammel -- acquired Sunday from the Rays for Minor League righty Aneury Rodriguez -- walked two to load the bases with two down in the sixth, but escaped when he handled Utley's comebacker.

But with two out in the seventh, Raul Ibanez blasted Hammel's full-count changeup into the upper deck in right for a 6-4 Phillies lead.

"I wanted it back as soon as it left my hand," said Hammel, who gave up Utley's two-out RBI single in the eighth, and allowed two runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings.

"Over-amped early on, with pitches up in the zone, so we wanted to get him out there, let him pitch," said Hurdle, who is considering Hammel for a spot-start, possibly on April 21.

Franklin Morales -- who struck out six in six innings while beating the D-backs on Wednesday, but was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs to make room for Hammel -- also is a candidate.

Tulowitzki continued his strong start to the season with his homer. While fighting injuries and slumps last year, he didn't hit his third dinger until July 2.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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