DENVER (AP) — Tyler Matzek was nervous and wild in his bullpen session before his first major league start. When he took the mound he was nearly unhittable.
Matzek pitched two-hit ball for the first seven innings of his big league debut before faltering in the eighth, and the Colorado Rockies beat the Atlanta Braves 8-2 on Wednesday night.
The left-hander retired the first 13 hitters and 21 of 23 before allowing three straight singles to start the eighth. His strong start to the game masked the jitters catcher Mike McKenry helped ease.
"The first inning was really, really nervous," Matzek said. "Mac was calming me down, telling me it was the same thing as Triple-A, just go out there and play your game. I let it be a positive thing, not a negative thing. If I try to fight it, it turns into a negative thing so I was just embracing it."
Matzek (1-0) allowed two runs on five hits and struck out seven in seven-plus innings. He also had his first hit and run scored. The Rockies had lost 11 of 12.
He is the third Colorado pitcher in the last six days to make his debut and the first to get a win.
"A masterful performance by Tyler. An explosive fastball and his slider looked like it disappeared," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He had it all working. He commanded it. Very impressive."
It was what the Rockies needed after they had lost 15 of 18. They broke out against Braves starter Julio Teheran, who had blanked them over six innings in Atlanta on May 25.
Teheran (6-4) entered Wednesday with a 1.89 ERA, best in the majors, but Colorado scored three in the first on Drew Stubbs' RBI double and Corey Dickerson's two-run triple.
Troy Tulowitzki and Justin Morneau had three hits each for Colorado.
"It wasn't my day from the first inning," Teheran said. "I didn't have a problem with the grip and with my pitches. I think I got my good stuff. A couple bloopers that happened and they got me on a couple base hits."
Matzek breezed through the first four innings on 39 pitches. Atlanta hit three balls hard, including a line drive by Teheran snared by Morneau to end the third.