CLEVELAND (AP) — Tanner Bibee struck out eight and allowed one run over 5 2/3 innings in his major league debut and the Cleveland Guardians defeated the Colorado Rockies 4-1 on Wednesday to avoid a three-game sweep.
Bibee, a 24-year-old right-hander, was called up from Triple-A Columbus before the game and became the second Cleveland pitcher in four days to win his major league debut. Logan Allen won his debut Sunday against Miami, allowing one run and striking out eight in six innings.
Bibee gave up six hits, didn’t walk a batter and threw 91 pitches. He took a shutout into the sixth before Colorado scored on Kris Bryant’s RBI single. Bibee was pulled after Ryan McMahon’s two-out single. The rookie got a pat on the back from manager Terry Francona and received a loud ovation from the crowd of 9,841 as he walked to the dugout.
Injuries to Triston McKenzie and Aaron Civale have forced the Guardians to turn to their top minor-league prospects sooner than anticipated.
Rockies right-hander Germán Márquez (2-2) made his first start since April 10 because of right forearm inflammation but was removed with two outs in the fourth. Márquez bent down behind the mound after throwing a pitch and walked off the field with a Rockies trainer. Márquez allowed three runs and threw 58 pitches in 3 2/3 innings.
Josh Naylor hit a two-run homer in the first. Oscar Gonzalez had an RBI double in the fourth for Cleveland, which had lost seven of nine going into the game.
Eli Morgan and Trevor Stephan blanked the Rockies until the ninth when Emanuel Clase picked up his eighth save.
A rainout last Friday forced a doubleheader Saturday, further testing the Guardians’ rotation depth. Xzavion Curry and Konnor Pilkington — also rookies — had been candidates to start Wednesday, but both were needed in relief as the Rockies took the first two games of the series by a combined score of 11-1.
Bibee arrived in Cleveland on Tuesday night and took advantage of his opportunity less than 24 hours later. Guardians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said before the game that a decision on whether Biebee will get another start will be made in the next few days.
Bibee hit leadoff man Charlie Blackmon with a 2-2 pitch in the first but retired the next three before striking out five straight and six of the next seven. He struck out McMahon on a 2-2 changeup for his first major league strikeout in the second, followed by Alan Trejo and Brenton Doyle.
Ezequiel Tovar and Brian Serven struck out to start the third. Blackmon singled to right for Colorado’s first hit and Jurickson Profar struck out.
Bibee was 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA in three starts at Columbus this season. He has made 28 minor league starts, going 10-2 with a 2.13 ERA with 186 strikeouts over 148 innings. Bibee was Cleveland’s fifth-round pick in the 2021 amateur draft and pitched at two levels in the minors last season.
Rookies Taylor Battenfield, Hunter Gaddis and Pilkington have also made starts for the Guardians.
Colorado won its first series of the season by taking two of three after losing 11 of 12.
Guardians: McKenzie (strained right teres major muscle) is progressing on a throwing program and could begin bullpen sessions this weekend or early next week.
Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland (2-2, 4.28 ERA) will start the opener of a three-game home series against Arizona on Friday night.
Guardians: RHP Shane Bieber (1-1, 3.23 ERA) will start in Boston on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series.