DENVER — Pulled in the fifth inning, Jorge De La Rosa trudged off the mound. Not the way the franchise’s winningest pitcher wanted to finish what might have been his final start in a Colorado uniform.
De La Rosa struggled with his control as the Rockies lost 10-5 to the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.
The left-hander allowed eight runs — seven earned — in 4 2/3 innings. He also walked three and gave up two homers.
With the Rockies wanting to get a look at some younger arms, manager Walt Weiss said this was likely De La Rosa’s last start of 2016. His contract expires after this season.
“De La seemed like he didn’t have a great command of the secondary stuff like the changeup. It usually is his best weapon,” Weiss said. “It looked like he just didn’t have a lot of depth to his stuff.”
Over the years, De La Rosa (8-9) demonstrated that he could win consistently at Coors Field. He’s 53-20 with a 4.31 ERA at the ballpark in 106 games with Colorado, including 99 starts.
“He’s the poster boy for showing that you can pitch in an offensive park here at altitude,” Weiss said. “A lot of it has to do with his competitiveness. He never gives in.”
De La Rosa’s toughest out Tuesday was pitcher Adam Wainwright, who shined in the batter’s box with a career-high four RBIs as the Cardinals moved into a three-way tie with the Mets and Giants for the two NL wild cards.
Wainwright credits inching just a little bit closer to the plate for his newfound prowess with the bat.
“My whole career, I’ve fought trying to pull the ball and tried to stay up the middle and hit the ball to right field. It just doesn’t work for me very well,” explained Wainwright, who has 18 RBIs this season. “If it’s a pitch in the strike zone, I’m going to swing at it.”
The free-swinging Wainwright lined a two-run double in the second inning and brought in two more with a bloop single in the fifth. Matt Adams and Jedd Gyorko homered for the Cardinals.
The 35-year-old Wainwright (12-9) didn’t have his sharpest command, yielding solo homers to Daniel Descalso, Charlie Blackmon and Gerardo Parra. But the right-hander was sharp enough — especially his curveball — as he gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings.
“In a park like this, in a place where no lead is safe, a pitcher, if you can go out there and push something across … you’re doing your job,” Wainwright explained.
Wainwright became the second straight Cardinals pitcher to play a starring role at the plate. Carlos Martinez had a two-run double in a 5-3 win on Monday.
Adams had a solo homer in the second and Gyorko added a two-run shot in the fourth — a 452-foot no-doubter to center. Gyorko has 27 homers this season.
DJ LeMahieu’s average remained at .349 after he went 1 for 3 with a double. He holds a slight lead over Washington’s Daniel Murphy in the NL batting race. Murphy is hitting .347.
Rockies: Third base coach Stu Cole was hit in the head by a ball that caromed off another during batting practice. He checked out OK after being taken to the hospital. The Rockies moved Eric Young over to coach third, and Vinny Castilla served as the first base coach. “He got hit pretty hard,” Weiss said of Cole. “He got his bell rung, for sure. We wanted to keep him off his feet tonight.”
STARTING THINGS OFF
With his fifth-inning homer, Blackmon drove in his 75th run of the season from the leadoff spot, surpassing the club record of 74 set by Young in 1996.
“I’m kind of upset that his record got broken, but I’m glad it was me,” Blackmon chuckled. “I don’t know if he’d say that, but I will.”
The Cardinals will send RHP Luke Weaver (1-3, 3.21 ERA) to the mound in the series finale Wednesday. The Rockies counter with righty German Marquez (0-0), who will make his first major league start after three relief appearances.