The Cardinals-Rockies rivalry, known for its high-scoring games, began, improbably, with a shutout.
The Rockies, a National League expansion team, faced the Cardinals for the first time on April 20, 1993, at St. Louis. The Cardinals won, 5-0, on a combined shutout by Rene Arocha and Omar Olivares.
St. Louis has had six shutout victories against the Rockies, but high-scoring games, especially in the altitude at Denver, have been plentiful. The Cardinals, for example, have scored 15 runs against the Rockies three times; the Rockies have scored 15 against the Cardinals twice.
(Updated May 13, 2013: St. Louis has had eight shutout victories against the Rockies. They had consecutive shutout wins May 10-11, 2013.)
The Cardinals are 87-83 in 170 games against the Rockies. At St. Louis, the Cardinals are 47-38 versus Colorado. They are 40-45 at Denver.
(Updated May 13, 2013: The Cardinals are 89-84 in 173 games against the Rockies. At St. Louis, the Cardinals are 49-39 versus Colorado.)
There was a strong Cardinals connection to the first Rockies team that faced St. Louis. Don Baylor, the Rockies’ manager, had been the hitting coach on manager Joe Torre’s staff with the 1992 Cardinals. Rockies first baseman Andres Galarraga and starting pitcher Bryn Smith had played for the 1992 Cardinals. Center fielder Alex Cole had been in the Cardinals’ minor-league system.
Galarraga, who broke his wrist in the Cardinals’ second game in 1992 and finished with a disappointing .243 batting average and 39 RBI, had signed with the Rockies as a free agent. He entered the Rockies’ first game against the Cardinals with a .422 batting mark and 14 RBI after 11 games.
Before facing the Cardinals, Galarraga told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “I’ve always been able to hit, even since I was a little boy in Venezuela. After the injury, I tried too hard when I came back. It got worse. I was swinging at bad pitches.”
Said Baylor: “He’s hitting the ball to right field more. That’s what he has to do to be successful.”
The starting lineups in the first Rockies-Cardinals game:
1. Eric Young, second base
2. Alex Cole, center field
3. Dante Bichette, right field
4. Andres Galarraga, first base
5. Charlie Hayes, third base
6. Jerald Clark, left field
7. Joe Girardi, catcher
8. Freddie Benavides, shortstop
9. Bryn Smith, pitcher
1. Geronimo Pena, second base
2. Ozzie Smith, shortstop
3. Gregg Jefferies, first base
4. Ray Lankford, center field
5. Mark Whiten, right field
6. Todd Zeile, third base
7. Brian Jordan, right field
8. Hector Villanueva, catcher
9. Rene Arocha, pitcher
On a chilly Tuesday night before 30,516 at Busch Stadium II, the Cardinals scored three in the first and two in the fourth off Smith, who was in the final season of a 13-year big-league career.
Arocha, 27, a rookie, was cruising through 5.2 innings until a line drive by Bichette struck the pitcher’s gloved hand, fracturing a finger. Olivares relieved and retired the 10 batters he faced. So dominant were Arocha and Olivares that Cardinals outfielders handled just one flyball out. Boxscore
The win was the only one Arocha earned against the Rockies in four big-league seasons.
A Cardinals pitcher who enjoyed sustained success against the Rockies was Chris Carpenter. He is 4-1 with a 1.41 ERA in seven starts versus Colorado.
Carpenter was the winner in the Cardinals’ only shutout victory at Denver. On July 25, 2006, he combined with Randy Flores and Jason Isringhausen to stop the Rockies in a game St. Louis won, 1-0, on an Albert Pujols home run. Boxscore