Tribe pitching struggles in matchup with Rockies

Tribe pitching struggles in matchup with Rockies

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Todd Helton, Josh Rutledge and Wilin Rosario each swatted four hits, and Chris Nelson and Michael Cuddyer hit their first home runs of the spring to lead the Rockies past the Indians, 18-4, in a lopsided affair Monday night at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

"What's that term? T.G.I.F?" Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Tonight it was T.G.I.S. Thank god it was Spring Training."

Helton, with three singles and a double, was one of many leaders of an offense that posted 20 hits through the fifth inning and finished with 26 hits. The Rockies sent 12 batters to the plate in a seven-run, eight-hit second inning, as Helton and Rosario each singled twice. The Rockies took nine turns during the five-run, six-hit fourth.

Nelson parked a three-run homer to left in the big second inning off Indians starter Brett Myers, who yielded 10 runs on 14 hits in 3 1/3 innings and is 1-3 with an 11.25 ERA this spring.

"I don't think they're alarming," said Francona, referring to Myers' spring numbers. "I don't think that means anything. As long as he's healthy, which he is, his track record [speaks for itself]. He's shown glimpses of what he'll do, and I think we're all confident that he'll be consistent.

"I thought tonight he was kind of fighting, flying open a little bit, and things were flattening out a little bit. He wanted to get to 90 [pitches]. He got there a little faster than we wanted him to, but the good thing is it's Spring Training. You hang your hat on he got to 90 and got his work in."

Cuddyer's first homer was a leadoff shot in the fifth off Indians reliever David Huff.

Rutledge doubled twice on a night when he improved his batting average from .222 to .286. Rosario had three singles and a double, Dexter Fowler's three hits included a double. Nelson's three hits improved his average from .231 to .273.

Rockies starter Jeff Francis threw 98 pitches in five innings and gave up three runs on nine hits. Francis completed strong Cactus League work (3-1, 2.70 ERA) by striking out three and walking no one.

The Indians' Jason Kipnis drove in two runs.

Rockies left fielder Carlos Gonzalez left the game in the fourth because of allergies, the team reported.

Up next: Right-hander Zach McAllister, who is in line to open the season as the Tribe's fourth starter, is scheduled to take the mound on Tuesday, when the Indians host the A's in a 4:05 p.m. ET Cactus League clash at Goodyear Ballpark. Cleveland closer Chris Perez is also slated to make his first exhibition-game appearance since tweaking his right shoulder in an outing on Feb. 26. Watch the game live on MLB.TV.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.