It was nearly two years ago when Jorge De La Rosa's career flashed before his eyes.
It was May 24, 2011, at Coors Field in the first game of a doubleheader against the Arizona Diamondbacks when he blew out his left elbow. He underwent Tommy John surgery 10 days later.
Sunday, on a sparkling spring afternoon at Busch Stadium, De La Rosa made it all the way back. Is it too much to say that his performance legitimized him as a true force and pushed the Rockies a step closer to being a true contender?
The left-hander flirted with a no-hitter before losing it with two outs in the seventh as the Rockies broke out of their biblical offensive drought to beat the Cardinals 8-2 and snap a four-game losing streak.
"They have a very good lineup," said De La Rosa, who now has pitched 14 consecutive scoreless innings, including six scoreless innings against the New York Yankees on Tuesday at Coors Field. "I thought I was throwing some good pitches, but I got a little lucky today."
Manager Walt Weiss said it was more than luck.
"It looked like his slider was an effective pitch and his changeup was good," said Weiss, adding that he would have allowed De La Rosa to chase his no-hitter into the ninth, even though De La Rosa threw 100 pitches in his seven innings. "We know that De La Rosa has really good stuff, and when he commands it, he can be really tough."