DETROIT — Jim Tracy knows that his Colorado Rockies are going to make youthful mistakes from time to time.
Saturday, they just happened to make several of them on the same day.
Rookie pitcher Christian Friedrich struggled with his pitches and his glove, and it helped lead to a 4-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers.
The first run Friedrich allowed was understandable – a solo homer to Miguel Cabrera – but the next two were tough. In the fourth inning, he loaded the bases on a single, a walk and a hit batter, and then walked Austin Jackson to force in a run.
"It's a learning process, and I screwed up today," he said. "I started out aggressive, and then I started struggling with my mechanics and that got me too passive. I had to just pitch without thinking too much."
He did that, but the next inning turned into a nightmare for him with his glove.
Cabrera hit a grounder back to the mound, and Friedrich could only knock the ball down. He scrambled to recover, and still had a chance to get the out at first, but threw wildly.
"I was upset because I didn't make the original play – that's a play you make 99 times out of 100," he said. "So I was running after the ball with my back to the runner, and I rushed things. I didn't see how much time I had until just after I released the throw."
Catcher Wilin Rosario had been slow to back up the play at first, so Cabrera was able to make third while Rosario, second baseman Chris Nelson and right fielder Michael Cuddyer chased down the ball. Rosario got there first, but fired the ball past third base, allowing Cabrera to score.
"There were a lot of kids involved in that play, and once you start having to chase down a loose ball like that, things get out of kilter," Tracy said. "He doesn't score on that play if someone just grabs the ball and holds on to it, but young players try to do too much."
That was more than enough for Doug Fister (1-3) who pitched six shutout innings in his return from the disabled list. Fister had been out since aggravating a rib-cage strain on May 28. He missed a month after sustaining the original injury in his first start of the season. He pitched six innings, allowing three hits and striking out six.
"It's definitely a step in the right direction," he said. "I felt no pain and no discomfort, and I executed some pitches when I needed them."
Fister retired the first 11 batters before Carlos Gonzalez's infield single in the fourth.
"It was just a matter of locating my spots, keeping the ball down and letting the defense work for us," he said. "That's my key every time I'm out there, and I felt good about it today."
Prince Fielder made it 4-0 with a sacrifice fly in the seventh. The Rockies got their only run in the ninth when Gonzalez doubled, took third on a throwing error and scored on Cuddyer's groundout.
NOTES: Fister has an ERA of 1.20 at Comerica Park since joining the Tigers at last season's trade deadline. ... Despite their 1-10 interleague record this season, the Rockies still have the NL's best record against the AL since 2006, going 57-47. In the same span, the Tigers are 77-42, second in baseball to only the Red Sox. ... Detroit extended its franchise record to 133 games without being shut out.