DENVER (AP) — Zach Lee’s first major league start didn’t go all that well. Nearly 21 months later, he got another chance.
Now this one went way better.
Lee and four relievers combined on a three-hitter, Ryan Schimpf homered as part of a four-run first inning and the San Diego Padres beat the Colorado Rockies 6-0 on Wednesday.
“After the year I had in ’16, there could have been very few teams that would have given me opportunities,” said the 25-year-old Lee, who bounced around the minors with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Seattle Mariners last season before being claimed off waivers by the Padres in December.
“Fortunately the Padres saw something that they wanted to take a chance on.”
This was Lee’s first start since July 25, 2015, when he was with the Dodgers and allowed seven runs at the New York Mets. He was a different pitcher this time around.
Lee (1-0) enticed fly ball after fly ball as he filled in for Luis Perdomo, who went on the disabled list before the game with shoulder inflammation. The right-handed Lee went 5 1-3 innings, allowing two hits, before turning things over to the bullpen to complete the first shutout of the Rockies at Coors Field since July 21, 2015.
“He didn’t make mistakes,” Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez said. “Not a good day offensively.”
Not a good series, either. The Rockies scored a combined six runs in dropping two of three to San Diego.
“It’s not a secret. We’ve got to get going,” Gonzalez said.
It was a rough first inning for Denver native Kyle Freeland (1-1), who allowed an RBI double to Wil Myers, a run-scoring single to Yangervis Solarte and a two-run homer to Schimpf.
“Setting the tone is very big in this game,” said Freeland, who lasted 4 2-3 innings and allowed six runs in his second start at the ballpark he used to visit as a kid.
“I didn’t set the tone very well in the first inning. I think that kind of quieted our bats as well. When you set a good tone, good things happen.”
Lee was recalled Sunday from Triple-A El Paso after Trevor Cahill went on the DL with a strained back. He got the call to start when Perdomo’s shoulder tightened up during a recent bullpen session.
The only one to figure him out was Charlie Blackmon, who had both hits off Lee — a single to start the game and a double in the fifth.
Asked how this affects Lee going forward, manager Andy Green said: “He’s going to be a viable option for us in the future. He pitched himself into consideration.”
Padres: RHP Carter Capps (Tommy John surgery) pitched a scoreless inning for Class A Lake Elsinore on Tuesday in a rehab assignment. … Green said that if Perdomo “doesn’t experience any real bad symptoms then we’ll accelerate his path pretty quickly.” … The team recalled RHP Jake Esch from Double-A San Antonio. He walked two in the ninth.
Rockies: Manager Bud Black said C Tom Murphy (broken right forearm) is “getting better. Healing. Nothing definitive. We’ll know more later in the week.”
Trevor Story went 0 for 3 with a walk as his average dipped to .129. He’s yet to hit a homer this season. Story had a big April last season, when he was the NL rookie of the month after hitting 10 homers.
“I feel really close,” Story said. “I’m seeing a lot of pitches, but just missing my pitches, pitches I usually don’t miss.”
Padres catcher Austin Hedges ended an 0-for-24 streak with a slow roller that third baseman Nolan Arenado couldn’t bare-hand.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Arenado not come up with a bare-hand,” Green said. “He comes up with every single one of them.”
Padres: Off Thursday before starting a four-game series in Atlanta. RHP Jhoulys Chacin will start Friday.
Rockies: RHP Jon Gray (0-0, 5.79 ERA) will make his first start with short hair on Thursday as the Rockies open a four-game series at San Francisco. He had eight inches taken off his flowing locks for charity.
– By PAT GRAHAM, AP Sports Writer
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