SAN FRANCISCO (CBS4) – Making his first big-league appearance since July 7, 2016, Rockies right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez limited the San Francisco Giants to three runs on six hits through five innings of work Tuesday night.
San Fran’s Madison Bumgarner was even better, though.
“Madbum,” as he’s known to Rockies manager Bud Black, struck out 11 batters in six innings and also drove in a run with an RBI single that helped lead the Giants to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies.
Bumgarner improved his lifetime record to 16-8 against Colorado, his highest victory total against any opponent.
Gonzales tore his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) his last time in a game. He was pitching for the Texas Rangers nearly three years ago, and initially opted for non-invasive procedures. He eventually relented and underwent ‘Tommy John’ surgery a year after suffering the injury.
The procedure is named after the first pitcher to undergo the operation, first performed in 1974. A replacement ligament – either from a cadaver or a tendon grafted from another part of the patient’s own body – is threaded through holes drilled in the bone above and below the elbow joint.
Tuesday night, Gonzales started strong in his first official outing since his layoff. He struck out the side in the first inning.
However, he gave up a pair of two-out RBI singles in the fourth inning.
“It’s a great comeback for Chi Chi from where he’s been,” manager Bud Black said. “He’ll be the first to tell you he wanted better results. But when a guy comes back from Tommy John, a long haul back, then get back to the big leagues which is a goal for all players…we were all excited for him. He got off to a good start then it sort of got away from him as the game went on.”
“It feels good in my stomach, coming out hot like that,” Gonzalez said. “That’s something I have to maintain throughout my outing — locating the ball, putting it down in the zone and throwing it where I want it.”
Gonzales ultimately gave up four walks.
“That’s not going to cut it at any level,” Black said. ”But the ball-strike ratio earlier in the game was great. He came out throwing strikes with all his pitches. Then as the game went on, he got a little scattered with all his pitches and got behind in the count. Some pitches were in the middle of the plate when he had to come in and throw strikes. Overall his stuff, his assortment of pitches, were as we expected, the velocity and the movement. The slider was actually pretty good tonight. There were some encouraging signs.”
Wednesday afternoon’s series finale between the Rockies and Giants will pit San Fran’s Jeff Samardzija (4-6), who pitched seven scoreless innings at home against the Rockies in April, against German Márquez (7-3). First pitch is at 1:45 p.m.
Gonzalez is tentatively set to throw Sunday against the Dodgers at Coors Field.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)