DENVER | Fernando Abad barely remembers his last win or even who he was facing.
It was that long ago.
Abad picked his first victory in more than six years as the Colorado Rockies used a bullpen game featuring seven pitchers to beat the Houston Astros 4-3 on Tuesday night.
“That (win) was a while ago,” said Abad, whose last victory was while he was with Boston on June 13, 2017, against Philadelphia.
Back then, the left-handed reliever gave the baseball from the victory to his mom. He plans on giving this one to her as well. That is, once he locates it. For now, he will simply bask in the glow of the moment.
“I just had to be able to do everything they needed me to do,” said Abad, who began his big-league career with the Astros.
This had all the hallmarks of a high-scoring Coors Field affair when it was 3-3 after the first inning. But the pitching took over and the only run allowed after the early fireworks came courtesy of Ezequiel Tovar, who lined a shot off the fence in right-center for a triple to score C.J. Cron in the fourth.
“After the first, I thought we were in for a long night,” Ryan McMahon said. “But our staff did a great job.”
Reliever Jake Bird was roughed up for three runs as he opened the game on the mound for the Rockies. From there, the bullpen surrendered just five hits. Justin Lawrence picked up save No. 6 with a perfect ninth.
The Astros finished 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position and hit into two double plays.
“You always run into that problem when they have an opener and they’re bringing in different guys on you,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “It doesn’t work that often but it worked today.
“We just couldn’t get the big hit.”
Not off reliever Tommy Doyle. Or Abad. Or Gavin Hollowell. Or Pierce Johnson. Or Daniel Bard. Or Lawrence.
“A domino effect,” Doyle explained. “It was fantastic. I mean, everyone threw well.”
Kris Bryant and McMahon provided the offensive pop in the first with back-to-back homers off Hunter Brown (6-7). Brown settled down after a rocky start and lasted 5 1/3 solid innings.
Chas McCormick, the reigning AL player of the week, had a run-scoring single and a walk for Houston. He was coming off a weekend in which he hit .636 with three homers and five RBIs.
Baker spent a relaxing off day Monday by fishing for trout in a river near Vail, Colorado.
This game at Coors Field — the Astros’ first visit in more than two years — wasn’t nearly as restful for the longtime skipper.
Leading 4-3 in the sixth, the Rockies were looking to add some insurance runs with one out and runners on second and third. Nolan Jones was called for a time violation on a 3-2 count and given a third strike. Tovar then struck out on a Ryne Stanek slider to end the threat.
It could’ve been a momentum shift — or so the Astros were hoping.
“After that, we didn’t muster too many threats,” Baker said.
McCormick lost a high fly to left from Cron in the night sky during the sixth inning. McCormick attempted to dive for the ball at the last moment but it hit off his glove for what was ruled a double.
Astros: Baker remains hopeful that lefty Framber Valdez (calf cramp) can make his next start. “He knocked on my door, gave me a wave, a smile, so he must be feeling pretty good,” Baker said. … 2B Jose Altuve (oblique) was slated to hit Tuesday.
Rockies: OF Randal Grichuk (groin) ran the bases before the game. “Looks like he’s on the comeback trail,” manager Bud Black joked. … OF Charlie Blackmon (fractured right hand) is not quite hitting yet, Black said.
Righty Brandon Bielak (4-5, 3.79 ERA) will throw for the Astros and lefty Austin Gomber (8-7, 6.19) for the Rockies on Wednesday as they finish a two-game series.