Troy Tulowitzki, the hottest hitter in baseball, swatted a pair two-run homers, one against Martin Perez, and Jordan Lyles pitching into the ninth inning Monday as the Colorado Rockies beat the Texas Rangers 8-1.
Perez lasted only five innings, allowing five runs on seven hits a start after Oakland got him for eight runs in 4 2/3 innings last week. His ERA has climbed to 3.59 in the past two starts after opening the season 4-0 with a 1.42 ERA.
Nolan Arenado knocked a two-run homer in the second to put the Rangers in a 2-0 hole, and, after a Rockies run in the third, Tulowitzki made it 5-0 in the fifth with a flyball that carried over the wall near the right-field corner.
Tulowitzki was named the National League Player of the Month for April and the NL Player of the Week earlier Monday.
The altitude and thin, dry air at Coors Field might have been a factor on the first Tulowitzki homer, a towering drive on a hanging off-speed pitch, as well as the homer he hit off Shawn Tolleson in the seventh. Though on a lower trajectory, the ball was tracked by right fielder Alex Rios, who seemed surprised that he had to leap to try to keep it from clearing the wall.
Rios also was fooled by a Drew Stubbs double that came just before Tulowitzki’s first homer, and center fielder Martin Perez misplayed a Brandon Barnes flyball to open the third that led to the Rockies’ third run.
The Rangers’ first run came in the sixth, after Shin-Soo Choo led off with a double and went to third on an error. Josh Wilson followed with a groundout to make it 5-1. Mitch Moreland added a pinch-hit RBI single with two outs in the ninth.
Wilson, batting second with Elvis Andrus at the bottom of the order, couldn’t deliver in two tries with runners in scoring position. Lyles struck Wilson out in the third with runners at second and third in a 2-0 game, and he bounced into a double play with runners at the corners in the eighth.
Manager Ron Washington said before the game that he likes having a player who can bunt and hit-and-run in the No. 2 hole. Washington said that he preferred to leave Rios, who entered batting .328, in the fifth spot because that’s where he’s most comfortable.