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It was a cold and dreary night at Coors Field for the Colorado Rockies return to Denver for their final homestand of the 2017 season. And it felt like it. Especially for the home faithful once the comeback attempt failed and the Rockies walked away with a 5-4 loss to the Miami Marlins.
The team’s matched empty innings earl, with little hard contact for the first three frames. But in the fourth, Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood started leaving the ball up just a bit, giving up four hard singles to Marcell Ozuna, Justin Bour, J.T. Realmuto and Derek Dietrich to plate a run and load the bases with one out. A hard line drive off the bat of Miguel Rojas appeared to be headed straight for the glove of Ian Desmond in left but a false step in and an inability to make the correction led to the ball glancing off his glove and skipping to the wall, allowing three runs to score. Chatwood worked out of the inning and through the next one without any further damage.
The Rockies got on the board in the bottom of the fifth despite Jonathan Lucroy hitting into a double play after a Trevor Story leadoff single. Alexi Amarista came through with a pinch-hit single and scored on Charlie Blackmon‘s 35th double and 97th RBI of the season.
The Marline struck back, though, on back-to-back doubles from Dietrich and Rojas in the sixth off of Kyle Freeland. Freeland settled down and retired the next two before Antonio Senzatela came on to get the final out and strand a runner at third.
The back and forth continued in the bottom of the sixth with a leadoff double from Nolan Arenado who scored on a pair of productive outs, a fly ball from Mark Reynolds that moved him to third and a groundball to the right side from Gerardo Parra to score him.
The bottom of the seventh began with fireworks. Story drilled a ball to the deepest part of the park in left-center field, just missing a home run on a ball Ozuna caught. But Lucroy smashed one more to the pull side so that it managed to hop the fence, pulling the Rockies to within two. Raimel Tapia followed with a pinch-hit single up the middle and Blackmon drew a walk on four pitches and LeMahieu drew a walk of his own to load ’em up. Arenado hit a ball to deep center that fell well short of the wall but was still far enough out to advance all the runners, plating another run. Reynolds came to the plate with two in scoring position and the Rockies down by one but popped up to the catcher, ending the rally.
Scott Oberg came on in the eighth and surrendered a leadoff double to Realmuto and then issued a couple of tough-luck walks, getting three pitches inside the zone called balls including the decisive one in a 3-2 count to Rojas that loaded the bases with nobody out. Bud Black went to the bullpen and called upon Chris Rusin who induced two quick groundballs that LeMahieu and Reynolds turned into outs at home, preventing the score. With the bases still juiced, Black went to young fireballer Carlos Estevez to face the game’s best power hitter in Giancarlo Stanton. On just two pitches, Estevez got a groundball back to the mound that he handled himself to kill the Marlins rally without any runs crossing the plate.
Estevez stayed on in the ninth and issued a pair of walks but also a pair of weak outs before giving way to Mike Dunn, getting a pop out to third with runners at first and third to end the threat. It was his 500th career appearance.
Colorado got the tying run on base with a leadoff walk from Lucroy in the bottom of the ninth, but Carlos Gonzalez struck out and Blackmon hit into a line-drive double play that ended the game. If the ball had been a few feet higher or to the left, it almost certainly ties the game.
With his sac fly, Arenado moved ahead of Stanton in the MLB RBI race by one. Stanton went 0-for-5 in the game. Arenado is now just three runs shy of driving in at least 130 for the third consecutive season. The last center fielder to match Blackmon’s 134 runs, 203 hits, and 373 total bases was Joe DiMaggio, in 1937.