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Manager Bud Black coined a term for what often lacks from the Rockies’ sputtering road offense.
He calls it “the big blow.” Translation: Timely hitting that grows run production in bunches.
The Rockies, predictably, failed to land those haymakers on Wednesday night in a 6-4 loss at the Arizona Diamondbacks. Red-hot catcher Elias Diaz once again homered, but Colorado finished the game 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
The Rockies (37-50) are still without answers for their unprecedented road woes (6-33). Arizona, the worst team in baseball, is one win away from sweeping their three-game series.
On Wednesday, Rockies’ starter Antonio Senzatela retired the Diamondbacks in order on 12 pitches in the first inning. But the good times didn’t last. The Diamondbacks hit back in the second with singles from Christian Walker, Pavin Smith, Nick Ahmed, and Daulton Varsho to assume a 3-0 lead.
“I was just trying to look for the groundball double-play, but every ground ball they’re hitting, it just found the hole and got through,” Senzatela said. “There’s nothing I can do. Just keep pitching and do the best I can. … It’s a little bit frustrating, but that’s baseball.”
Senzatela brushed off his shaky second to end his night with four consecutive scoreless innings. He fanned five Diamondbacks and tossed a season-high 105 pitches.
“Overall, I thought he threw the ball fine,” Black said. “A live fastball with velocity. It looked like his command was pretty solid as well.”
The Rockies threatened in each of the first three innings. But Raimel Tapia, Charlie Blackmon, and Brendan Rodgers (twice) failed to produce with runners in scoring position.
In the sixth, with Ryan McMahon and Blackmon on base, C.J. Cron brought the potential game-tying runner to the plate. Cron grounded into a fielder’s choice on the first pitch.
Arizona’s Humberto Castellanos made his first major league start on Wednesday after two seasons coming out of the bullpen. He gave up four hits and no runs over four innings. Diamondbacks’ reliever Matt Peacock replaced Castellanos in the fifth and continued to stump the Rockies.
One swing from Diaz gave Colorado hope. He blasted a 426-foot home run to trail 3-1 in the seventh. Diaz now has six dingers over his last 14 games.
The Rockies swapped pitchers, Lucas Gilbreath for Senzatela, and things got worse. Arizona’s Stuart Fairchild singled and Josh Rojas walked. It prompted a bullpen change to Tyler Kinley — who gave up a three-run homer to Eduardo Escobar. The Diamondbacks led 6-1.
Colorado showed life with a three-run eighth inning. McMahon ripped a ground-rule double that scored Blackmon. A Cron RBI single then brought home McMahon to make it 6-4. But that wasn’t enough.
“We need to continue pressing like that,” Black said. “Hopefully, we get maybe a bigger hit in there. But three runs late in the game, against a lot of bullpens, swings the game a little bit. But tonight, it didn’t.”
Reliever Mychal Givens made his first appearance since returning from Colorado’s 10-day injured list (back) and pitched a scoreless eighth. The Rockies failed to produce runs in the ninth.