DENVER (AP) — Back spasms forced an early exit by Shelby Miller but it doesn’t appear the St. Louis Cardinals pitcher will miss more time, a relief for a rotation hit by a spate of injuries.
Miller was overtaken by back spasms in the third inning Tuesday night as the Colorado Rockies snapped a seven-game losing streak by beating the Cardinals 10-5. Justin Morneau did most of the damage, hitting a three-run homer and driving in six runs.
“Whenever anybody comes out of a game, you’re concerned, but this looks like one that maybe we’ll be able to head off at the pass,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “They seemed to be pretty confident that he would have a good chance to be ready to go for his next start.”
That would help a Cardinals rotation that lost Michael Wacha (right shoulder stress reaction) and Jamie Garcia (left shoulder inflammation) to the disabled list on Sunday.
Miller allowed three runs in 2 2-3 innings before being hit with spasms as he was pitching to opposing pitcher Jorge De La Rosa. It was his shortest of the season and the shortest since being lifted after two pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers last Aug. 7.
“It’s kind of like a stinger in the middle of my back and it would go up as I extended my arm,” Miller said. “It was weird. I’ll come in tomorrow, take care of it early (with treatment) and be ready for my next one. I felt it a little bit before in warmups. I just never really got loose, I guess.”
De La Rosa (7-6) allowed five runs, four earned, in seven innings. He is the first Rockies starter to earn a win since June 12.
Nick Greenwood (1-1) pitched 1 2-3 innings in relief of Miller.
Morneau had an RBI single in the first and a two-run single in the seventh that gave Colorado some breathing room.
The Rockies finished with 17 hits one night after managing just three when they were shut out at home for the first time in nearly a year.
Jhonny Peralta hit a two-run homer for St. Louis and Matt Holliday had another productive day at Coors Field against his former team, going 2 for 5. He is hitting .545 in his last five games at this park.
De La Rosa finished strong, striking out Allen Craig to end the seventh with Holliday on first.
St. Louis had something brewing in the eighth with the bases loaded and two outs. But Adam Ottavino struck out pinch-hitter Jon Jay to end the threat.
Pinch-hitter Drew Stubbs added an insurance run in the bottom half of the inning with a solo homer to left. Charlie Blackmon later added an RBI single.
LaTroy Hawkins finished the ninth in a non-save situation. Brandon Barnes made a diving catch deep in right to bring what was left of the crowd to its feet in appreciation.
The Cardinals scored two runs courtesy of crazy bounces. In the fourth, a hustling Peter Bourjos scored from second on Tony Cruz’s high bouncer off the plate to second baseman DJ LeMahieu. An inning later, a slow roller possibly grazed Holliday’s arm — replays were inconclusive — as he sprinted toward third, the ball taking a funny hop past Troy Tulowitzki and rolling into left field.
Holliday easily ran home as Tulowitzki protested. Rockies manager Walt Weiss came out to argue the ruling, but the play wasn’t reviewed and the run stood to cut Colorado’s lead to 6-5.
The Cardinals’ rotation may have taken another hit with Miller leaving the game. The right-hander arched his back in discomfort soon after delivering a pitch to De La Rosa.
Manager Mike Matheny and a trainer instantly trotted out to check on Miller, who took a few warm-up tosses before being taken out for Greenwood.
Miller went 2 2-3 innings, surrendering three runs and six hits. He walked five.
St. Louis already is missing Michael Wacha (right shoulder stress reaction) and Jaime Garcia (left shoulder inflammation), who both went on the 15-day disabled list Sunday.
Colorado had four hits in the first inning — one more than it had the entire game Monday — and scored three times.
NOTES: Cardinals LHP Marco Gonzales will make his major league debut Wednesday. Gonzales was a high school standout in nearby Fort Collins, and his dad, Frank Gonzales, is a pitching coach in the Rockies’ minor league system. … Rockies RHP Christian Bergman has a broken left hand and will not make his start Wednesday. The Rockies are expected to bring up LHP Yohan Flande from Triple-A Colorado Springs. … Blackmon, Morneau and LeMahieu all had three hits.
By Dennis Georgatos, AP Sports Writer (© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)