Reds rout Rockies
CINCINNATI — Edinson Volquez gave a throwback performance in his return from elbow surgery, allowing only three hits over six innings Saturday night, and the Cincinnati Reds cracked four homers for an 8-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies.
Volquez (1-0) made it back ahead of schedule from surgery last Aug. 3 to rebuild his right elbow. The Reds’ former ace pitched like one, striking out nine while hitting 95 mph with his fastball.
He dominated a matchup of starters returning from injury.
Drew Stubbs homered in his first two at-bats against left-hander Jorge De La Rosa (3-2), who was hit hard in his second outing since he recovered from a torn tendon in his left middle finger. Brandon Phillips added a three-run shot, and Jonny Gomes homered off Jhoulys Chacin.
The Reds drew a capacity crowd of 41,300 for the team’s annual Hall of Fame inductions. Third baseman Chris Sabo, reliever Pedro Borbon and 19th century pitcher Tony Mullane were added.
Volquez got one of the loudest pregame introductions. His return could be a huge boost for the NL Central leaders in their two-team race with St. Louis.
The Rockies knew what was coming. They had video of Volquez’s pre-surgery appearances playing in the clubhouse before the game, a reminder that he was the Reds’ top starter before he got hurt — a 17-game winner and All-Star in 2008.
Didn’t help much.
The first inning was a bit ragged, just as Volquez expected for his first time back. Carlos Gonzalez had an RBI single during the 22-pitch inning.
After that, Volquez settled down, mixing a 95 mph fastball with a swing-freezing changeup. He chomped away on a wad of gum while stifling one of the NL’s top lineups — two walks, three singles.
De La Rosa has a ways to go. The left-hander came out of a game April 25 with the injured finger, and lasted only 4 1-3 innings against San Diego in his return July 9. The Rockies are hoping he’s back in form soon, providing a complement to 15-game winner Ubaldo Jimenez as they try to overtake San Diego in the NL West.
De La Rosa gave up five walks in 3 1-3 innings, making the homers really hurt. Stubbs hit a two-run shot and a solo homer for a 4-1 lead. Phillips’ drive ended De La Rosa’s outing and made it 7-1.
Cincinnati finished with only five hits — four of them homers.
NOTES: A young man ran on the field during the seventh inning, put up no resistance to police and was quickly handcuffed and led away. … Colorado’s Todd Helton, on the 15-day disabled list with a stiff lower back, is taking batting practice and expects to learn early next week whether he’ll go on a rehab assignment. … Reds 3B Scott Rolen missed the game because he was sick. Rolen missed two games before the All-Star break because of a sore back. … The Reds optioned LHP Matt Maloney to Triple-A Louisville. … It was Stubbs’ second career multihomer game. He hit three on July 4 at Wrigley Field.