SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) – Turns out, the Colorado Rockies don’t need to be a mile high to light up a scoreboard.
Todd Helton and Josh Rutledge both went 4 for 4 as Colorado battered Brett Myers for 14 hits Monday night in an 18-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians at Salt River Fields – elevation 1,257 feet.
“We’re going to be a good offensive club,” rookie manager Walt Weiss said. “I don’t think we’re going to do that every night, but it’s going to be a good offensive club.”
Wilin Rosario also had four of Colorado’s 26 hits. He knocked in three runs.
Chris Nelson cracked a three-run homer off Myers and finished with three hits. Leadoff batter Dexter Fowler had three hits and scored twice, raising his spring average to .364.
Michael Cuddyer added a solo shot against Indians reliever David Huff. It was the first home run of the spring for both Nelson and Cuddyer.
The 39-year-old Helton, coming off right hip surgery and entering the final season of his contract, is batting .435. The Rockies have scored at least 10 runs in four of their last six games.
“These guys are all showing up well and playing the game the right way,” Weiss said. “They’ve done it all spring.”
But offense has rarely been an issue for the Rockies, who play home games at Coors Field where the elevation and thinner air allow baseballs to travel farther.
Even when Colorado lost a franchise-worst 98 games last season, the club led the National League in batting average. The Rockies’ pitching staff, however, ranked last in hits and home runs allowed and gave up 103 runs more than the second-worst team (Houston).
Myers, a former reliever set to open the season as Cleveland’s third starter, was charged with 10 earned runs in 3 1-3 innings. He threw 43 pitches to 12 batters in the second, allowing eight hits and a walk.
Colorado starter Jeff Francis threw five innings, giving up three runs and nine hits with no walks and three strikeouts. He has issued only two walks in 23 1-3 innings this spring.
Both teams set their regular-season rotations before the game.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona chose left-hander Scott Kazmir as his No. 5 starter. A two-time All-Star with Tampa Bay, Kazmir hasn’t pitched in the majors in almost two years. He was with the Sugar Land (Texas) Skeeters in the independent Atlantic League last season.
After signing a minor league contract with the Indians in January, Kazmir outpitched a group that included Daisuke Matsuzaka to make the starting staff.
Colorado found its fifth starter when it signed right-hander Jon Garland to a major league contract Sunday. The 33-year-old Garland missed the last 1 1/2 seasons following shoulder surgery. He went 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in four starts for Seattle this spring and asked for his release Friday after he was told he wouldn’t make the Mariners’ starting rotation.
NOTES: Rockies slugger Carlos Gonzalez left in the fourth inning because of allergies. He went 1 for 3 with an RBI. … Garland will start Tuesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers. To make room for him, Colorado sent LHP Drew Pomeranz to Triple-A Colorado Springs. The Rockies also sent pitchers Tyler Chatwood, Rob Scahill, Christian Friedrich and Josh Outman, infielder Charlie Culberson and outfielder Charlie Blackmon to minor league camp.
(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)