DENVER — Greg Reynolds wasn’t worried about a return trip to the minors. He just didn’t want to have two bad starts in a row.
Five days after giving up eight runs in 3 1-3 innings, Reynolds pitched six strong innings and led Colorado’s season-high 17-hit attack by going 2-for-3 with a run scored as the Rockies routed the Cleveland Indians 10-2 on Tuesday night.
“I was underachieving for my expectations,” he said. “It’s good to get back on track. There was no real pressure about Triple-A or anything, it was about pitching better.”
Reynolds (2-4) allowed one run on five hits and struck out four to earn his second win in his last three starts. He was helped by a big-time offensive outburst. Jeff Baker hit an inside-the-park home run, Brad Hawpe also homered and Matt Holliday went 3-for-5 with two RBIs for Colorado, which has won three of four.
After his last outing, a 6-1 loss to San Francisco on June 12, Reynolds worked with pitching coach Bob Apodaca to straighten out his mechanics. The lessons paid off for the rookie, who lasted six innings for the fourth time in eight starts.
“There were some mechanical things I wasn’t doing well,” he said. “I felt way more comfortable with my mechanics tonight.”
The Rockies’ big offensive night helped, too. They got nine of their hits off of starter Paul Byrd (3-7), who took the loss after giving up five runs in four-plus innings.
Baker got the first big hit off when he drove the first pitch he saw from Byrd to center field. The ball caromed off the top of the wall and past Grady Sizemore, and Baker rounded the bases for his second homer this season.
“I knew I hit it well,” he said. “Once I got to second, I saw he was chasing the ball so I just put my head down and ran.”
Baker’s inside-the-park home run was the 10th in Rockies history and the first since Garrett Atkins did it in San Diego on Sept. 23, 2007. It was the second inside-the-park homer at Coors Field this year; Philadelphia’s Jason Werth did it April 21.
Hawpe gave Colorado a 4-0 lead in the fourth with a two-run homer to left, his eighth of the season and fifth in the last 11 games.
“The ball that Baker hit I didn’t think that was a bad pitch,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “It was down and in, he scooped it out of there and drove it the other way. The ball that Hawpe hit, it looked like it was something that he left out and over and he got to it. Then they just started squaring the ball up.”
The Indians made it 4-1 in the top of the fifth when Jhonny Peralta led off with a triple and came home on Casey Blake’s sacrifice fly.
The Rockies got some breathing room in the sixth on Atkins’ two-run single that made it 7-1, and Willy Taveras’ two-run triple in the seventh sparked a three-run rally.
Before the Rockies blew open the game, the Indians had a chance to make it close in the sixth. Trailing 5-1, Cleveland loaded the bases with no outs. But Reynolds struck out Ryan Garko and shortstop Omar Quintanilla made a diving grab of Shin-Soo Choo’s line drive and doubled up Ben Francisco at second to end the inning.
“That’s a big swing play,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “If that ball gets through, two are in and we have a hornet’s nest out there. That was probably the biggest defensive play of the game.”
The Indians knew they let squandered a potential big inning.
“That was the opportunity that we let get away,” Wedge said. “The kid at shortstop made a great play and was able to double us up.”
WHO: Cleveland at Colorado
WHERE: Coors Field, Denver
PITCHERS: Laffey (4-3, 2.83 ERA) vs. Francis (2-6, 5.49)
TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM