The Colorado Rockies picked up another highly touted shortstop through the draft Monday night. Their current one definitely took notice.
"Better get my act together," Troy Tulowitzki joked.
Of course, Tulowitzki doesn't have anything to worry about at the moment. Especially the way he's been hitting.
Tulowitzki hit a three-run homer in the first and David Hale threw seven effective innings, lifting the Rockies to an 11-3 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
The All-Star shortstop has been on quite a tear over his last eight games, going 17 for 33 to raise his average from .266 to .310.
"I'm getting better," Tulowitzki said. "But at the same time, I think I can be a lot better."
In the offseason, Tulowitzki was frequently mentioned in trade rumors. With the trade deadline next month, his name could be brought up again, even more so if the Rockies tumble out of contention.
With an eye toward the future, the Rockies took Brendan Rodgers with the No. 3 pick in the draft. Rodgers played shortstop for Lake Mary High School in Florida this past season and can't wait to start picking up some pointers from Tulowitzki.
Not so fast, though.
"Probably give him the cold shoulder," Tulowitzki quipped. "Keep that edge and make it tough for him."
Hale (2-0) was certainly tough on the Cardinals. The right-hander was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque to make a spot start and retired the opening nine batters before surrendering a solo homer to Kolten Wong. Hale allowed three runs and struck out seven.
"It was a bad night all the way around," Lackey said. "This is going to sting a little bit."
St. Louis had a scary moment in the second when left fielder Matt Holliday fell awkwardly trying to chase down a bloop double by Carlos Gonzalez. Holliday grabbed his right leg and lay on the ground before gingerly walking off. The team said he suffered a right quadriceps strain.
"We don't know the extent right now," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "We'll just have to wait and see."
Things went sideways for the Cardinals on the first batter, when Wong flubbed Charlie Blackmon's routine grounder. That paved the way for a five-run frame, which included Tulowitzki's homer along with RBI singles from Nick Hundley and Brandon Barnes.
D. J. LeMahieu and Ben Paulsen each finished with three hits to help the Rockies improve to 4-4 on their 10-game homestand. Gonzalez had the catch of the night in the seventh as he lunged head-first to snare Peter Kozma's sinking liner in shallow right.
In an 11-3 game, no less.
Hale was brought back up to join a rotation thinned by an injury to Jordan Lyles, who's out after undergoing surgery to fix a torn ligament in his left big toe.
Although this was Hale's third start this season, it was the first time he's been added to the 25-man roster. His other two appearances were when he was added as a 26th man during doubleheaders.
One of the highlights of Hale's outing was striking out the side in the second. He made two mistakes, leaving a changeup over the plate to Wong in the fourth and elevating a fastball that Jon Jay hit for a solo homer in the sixth. Jay entered the game as a replacement for Holliday.
Asked if Hale might have done enough to stick around, Rockies manager Walt Weiss simply responded: "He's got a real good chance."
Cardinals: RHP Lance Lynn is dealing with some forearm tightness in the aftermath of Sunday's start against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Matheny said trainers are monitoring Lynn and noted that with Thursday's off day, the pitchers in the Cardinals' rotation will have an extra day of rest.
Rockies: Reliever Rafael Betancourt went on the 15-day DL with what the team called vertigo symptoms. The right-hander has been dealing with a sinus infection for the last few weeks that's zapped his strength.
Cardinals: RHP Michael Wacha (8-1, 2.18) leads the majors in road wins with six.
Rockies: LHP Jorge De La Rosa (2-2, 6.15) was effective in his last outing despite a cut on his middle finger.
Link to box score: Colorado (26-30) 11, St. Louis (38-20) 3