The Rockies put in the work and they did the heavy lifting. But as so often happens on the road, they couldn’t finish the job.
They lost, 6-5 in 13 innings, to Milwaukee on Friday night at American Family Field in what certainly ranks as one of the Rockies’ most painful defeats of the season.
The Brewers won the game on Luis Urias’ soft, walk-off single to center off of Jake Bird to score Jonathan Davis from second base.
And so the Rockies opened the second half of the season with a brutal loss and slid to 15-28 on the road this season. The Rockies were 1-for-18 with runners in scoring position.
In truth, Colorado lost the game when right-hander Robert Stephenson couldn’t close the deal in the 10th after the Rockies had taken a 5-3 lead. The Rockies were just one good pitch away from victory but Stephenson threw a meatball slider that Hunter Renfroe ate up for a two-run homer to send the game into the 11th inning.
Plus, the baseball gods were not kind to Colorado. In the top of the 11th, Rockies’ ghost runner Ryan McMahon was called out at third base on a critical call. McMahon made a bad mistake by taking off on a grounder to shortstop, but McMahon appeared to beat the tag by Urias at third. A replay review, however, upheld the questionable call.
In the top of the 10th, gritty veteran Charlie Blackmon, who drove in three runs, including a two-run homer in the third, appeared to have delivered Colorado a gritty victory. He drove in “ghost runner” Garrett Hampson with a single off Yandel Gustave for the go-ahead run. And then Blackmon scored an important insurance run on Brendan Rodgers’ sacrifice fly to right. Blackmon collided with catcher Victor Caratini on the play and scrambled back to touch home plate.
This game was tight throughout.
The Rockies walked a tightrope in the bottom of the sixth. Starter Antonio Senzatela walked Andrew McCutchen to open the inning and then plunked Hunter Renfroe. That was it for Senzatela, who was replaced by lefty Lucas Gilbreath, who’s fast becoming one of Colorado’s most reliable relievers.
Kolten Wong put down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, but Gilbreath got Urias to hit a chopper to shortstop Jose Iglesias, who threw out McCutchen at home. Gilbreath struck out pinch-hitter Mike Brosseau looking at strike three to end the inning.
Colorado tied the game, 3-3, in the sixth with a pair of quality two-out at-bats against reliever Trevor Gott. Jose Iglesias drew a seven-pitch walk and then motored home on Elias Diaz’s double to right-center.
Diaz, who started the season in a deep funk, is an offensive force again. Friday marked his fifth consecutive multi-hit game. The catcher is hitting .294 (25-for-85) with five doubles, two triples, three home runs and 15 RBIs over his last 27 games.
Senzatela, making his first major-league start since July 1, gave Colorado a workmanlike start. He pitched five-plus innings, allowing seven hits, walking one and striking out four.
The homer-happy Brewers got to Senzatela in the third to take a 3-2 lead. Willy Adames hit a two-out solo shot to right, Rowdy Tellez followed with a double, and then McCutchen stroked a two-run homer, his 10th of the season. Milwaukee entered the game with 124 homers, ranking fourth in the majors.
The Rockies struck first to take a 2-0 lead in the third. Kris Bryant drew a one-out walk off of Burnes, setting up Blackmon’s two-run homer to right. Blackmon sat on Burnes’ 3-1, 95 mph cutter and ripped it for his 15th homer of the season.
Blackmon hit 13 homers all of last season, just two on the road. This season, he’s hit eight homers at Coors Field and seven on the road.
The Rockies, showing patience and discipline at the plate, made Burnes throw 108 pitches in just five innings, but they could only score two runs off him. The 2021 National League Cy Young Award winner gave up six hits, struck out five and walked two.