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News » Colorado Rockies Inside Pitch 2009-05-09

Colorado Rockies Inside Pitch 2009-05-09

Colorado Rockies Inside Pitch 2009-05-09
Left fielder Seth Smith found himself batting first as manager Clint Hurdle benched slumping center fielder Dexter Fowler and for the second straight game had outfielder Ryan Spilborghs bat cleanup in the absence of third baseman Garrett Atkins.

Fowler (20 games) and Spilborghs (7) had been the only leadoff hitters used by Hurdle before Friday night.

Smith entered play with a .271 batting average, three homers and seven RBI, as well as a .426 on-base percentage and .521 slugging percentage. He had 13 walks, second on the club to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and catcher Chris Iannetta, both with 14. But Smith had 48 at-bats, compared to 86 for Tulowitzki and 62 for Iannetta. Smith is by no means a prototypical leadoff hitter, but his ability to get on base and spark the offense led Hurdle to bat him first.

"If you are looking to get more run production, which we are, then you put your run producers at three, four and five," manager Clint Hurdle said. "So I am looking at somebody to lead off and get on base. His at-bats are as good as anybody's we have on the club. He'll take a walk and he has usable speed on the bases. It seemed like a viable option for me to turn to today."

Batting Smith first didn't result in a victory. But in the Rockies 8-3 loss to the Marlins, Smith went 1-for-3 with two walks and one run scored. In his 11 previous starts, Smith batted second nine times and batted eighth and sixth once.

Spilborghs was hitting cleanup because the slumping Atkins was on the bench for a second straight game. Spilborghs went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and was hitless with three at-bats with runners in scoring position. That left Spilborhgs 1-for-7 in two games batting cleanup with three strikeouts.

MARLINS 8, ROCKIES 3: The Rockies went 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position and struck out 10 times while losing 8-3 for the second straight day. They yielded two homers in the first two innings followed by 14 singles with starter Jason Hammel and Matt Belisle getting the worst of it in a five-run fifth that produced the final margin as six of the first seven batters reached base. Hammel gave up three singles and a sacrifice fly to start the fifth, and Belisle, who relieved him, gave up three singles to the three batters he faced.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 9, 2009

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