Tyler Matzek doesn't pay much mind to the elevation of the ballpark where he's pitching. Thursday night, he turned in a line that testified to that.
The Rockies' No. 12 prospect spun six shutout innings, allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out six, and Triple-A Colorado Springs rallied to walk off with a 3-2 win over Oklahoma City at Security Service Field.
Matzek dazzled in his first outing in the Pacific Coast League 11 days ago, striking out 11 New Orleans Zephyrs en route to a win in his Triple-A debut on the road. In his first start at his new home ballpark April 11, the 2009 first-round Draft selection battled command issues, walking four and allowing four runs on four hits.
"It wasn't the elevation. I was just rushing down the mound a little bit and didn't have my best stuff," Matzek said. "Today, I felt a lot better and was staying back. [Catcher Mike McKenry] was giving me the right signals, and we were on the same page. I think I shook him one time in six innings, and I was wrong on that one. We were on the same page, and he did a great job behind the dish for me."
Matzek worked around traffic on the basepaths in each of his first four innings. Oklahoma City's Austin Wates reached on a throwing error by shortstop Drew Garcia to open the game, but Matzek fanned Gregorio Petit and Max Stassi and induced a flyout from Jon Singleton to end the first. Enrique Hernandez rapped a single up the middle for the RedHawks' first hit in the second, but was stranded. Matzek marooned a pair of baserunners in the fourth and one more in the fifth.
Singleton and Stassi, the Astros' No. 4 and No. 12 prospects respectively, went a combined 0-for-6 against Matzek with a strikeout.
"Me and 'Mac' got a gameplan, and it basically entailed going after the guys, not trying to pitch around them," said Matzek. "Everyone talks about the elevation and pitching around the big guys. It was just [a plan to] get after them and see what they can do. [McKenry] was throwing the right numbers down, and I was just following his lead."
Matzek's work with veteran McKenry has already been well received.
"It's been great. He can read hitters very, very well," Matzek said. "That's what I've been most impressed about. His calling behind the plate has been spot-on. He receives the ball well. He'll get balls that probably aren't strikes, but the way he frames them and moves his body behind the dish, he'll get those strikes. It makes a huge difference."
The Sky Sox got Matzek a slim lead early when Ben Paulsen doubled in Matt McBride. Matzek departed after six innings in line for the win, but Oklahoma City rallied against reliever Rob Scahill. Jonathan Meyer singled in Hernandez with the tying run in the top of the seventh.
In the 10th, the RedHawks surged into the lead for the first time. Ronald Torreyes led off the inning with a triple against Colorado Springs reliever Manny Corpas (1-1) and scored two batters later on Petit's sacrifice fly. But Rafael Ynoa ripped an RBI single in the bottom of the 10th to level the game again.
One inning later, Colorado Springs quickly got to Oklahoma City's Darin Downs (0-1). Jason Pridie drove a leadoff double to left, moved to second base on Tim Wheeler's sacrifice bunt and scored on a sacrifice fly by McBride.
"Good teams win one-run ballgames," Matzek said. "Our team, we battled. When we were down, we kept fighting and pulled out a good win."