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.
“We were roommates in Columbus, so it’s pretty cool to see,” Bibee said. “I think a week ago we were at home against Toledo and I had a pretty bad start against Toledo.”
Bibee had a good start against Colorado. He gave up six hits and didn’t walk a batter. Bibee took a shutout into the sixth inning before Colorado scored on Kris Bryant’s RBI single. He was pulled after Ryan McMahon’s two-out single. The rookie got a pat on the back from manager Terry Francona and received an 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. Bibee tried not to focus on what was happening at the major level.
“It creeps into your head a little bit, but you have to throw in the minors and if you don’t perform down there, it’s not going to matter what happens up here,” he said.
Bibbe arrived in town Tuesday and was told he’d be starting following Cleveland’s 5-1 loss to Colorado.
“I was at the hotel and it was an unbelievable feeling,” he said. “A lot of adrenaline and a lot of emotions.”
Several family members, friends, former coaches and his agent made the trip from California to attend the game.
“It’s hard not to get excited,” Francona said. “A kid pitches in his first major league game. It only happens once.”
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 trainer. He allowed three runs in 3 2/3 innings.
Manager Bud Black said Márquez will have an MRI in Denver on Thursday.
“The Cleveland doctor saw him and actually he was encouraged, so we’ll see,” Black said. “It’s in a different spot; it’s in his triceps and back.”
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, testing the Guardians’ rotation depth. Rookies Xzavion Curry and Konnor Pilkington 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 hit leadoff batter 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 also have made starts for the Guardians.
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) starts the opener of a three-game series against Arizona on Friday night.
Guardians: RHP Shane Bieber (1-1, 3.23 ERA) starts Friday night in the opener of a three-game series in Boston.