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The Colorado Rockies, only two games back from the National League West division lead, are getting into crunch time as they enter the last third of their schedule.
After dropping three of four to the St. Louis Cardinals, the Rockies set off to Milwaukee to begin a stretch of five consecutive series against playoff contenders—albeit the Pittsburgh Pirates are borderline. To survive the next 17 games, Colorado will likely need to play some of their best baseball, and they can’t afford to keep blowing games the way they have their last two.
Wade Davis blew his second straight save in bombastic fashion, issuing a pair of free passes before surrendering a two-out walk-off home run to Eric Thames.
It was the third walk-off loss the Rockies have suffered in their last five games.
Where Junior Guerra was efficient in the top of the first, throwing only eight pitches, German Marquez was the opposite in the bottom. His first three pitches of the game were nowhere near the strike zone, and he walked the first two hitters of the game after full counts. Recently acquired Mike Moustakas made him repent for his cardinal sin, dropping a middle-middle pitch into left-center and scoring Christian Yelich to give Milwaukee a lead before tallying an out.
In 22 starts, Marquez has allowed a run in the first inning 14 times.
Marquez rebounded, retiring the next three—two via strikeout—to leave a pair on and minimize what looked to be a big opportunity for the Brewers to put up a crooked number.
Meanwhile, Guerra held the Rockies without a runner until the second and a hit until the third, when Marquez beat his counterpart with a squib shot in between first and second. The base hit rose Marquez’s batting average on the season to .359.
On the mound, Marquez settled in, retiring the next 15 batters he faced after the first three reached to start the game, striking out five over that stretch. Guerra continued to match him pitch-for-pitch, until Trevor Story turned a first-pitch slider around and off the center field batter’s eye, knotting the game at 1-1.
It was Story’s 21st home run on the season.
The Rockies then took the lead in the next frame on a two-run shot from Carlos Gonzalez, reaching for a low and away pitch and somehow still pulling it over the right-field wall. CarGo’s 14th home run on the year ties his total from his 2017 campaign.
Marquez’ retired-batter streak ended in the bottom of the sixth, hanging a breaking ball to Yelich that he hit for a home run to center and pulling the Brewers within one.
The Rockies starter ended the night with a pair of strikeouts and a weak grounder in the seventh. What looked at the very beginning to be a troublesome start for Marquez turned into one of his best of the season, tying his season-best with nine punchouts and allowed only two runs on three hits.
Adam Ottavino pitched a clean eighth, with the help of a Story defensive gem on a slow roller to nab Lorenzo Cain after Yelich just missed his second homer of the game, landing in CarGo’s glove just shy of the wall.
Wade Davis, a day after blowing his fifth save of the season in St. Louis, came on in the ninth and struck out Moustakas before walking Jesus Aguilar to begin the dramatics. Orlando Arcia came into the game as a pinch-runner and was able to move into scoring position when Davis lost Travis Shaw, issuing his second straight walk.
In strode Jonathan Schoop who, after looking at a strike and swinging at one, fouled off four consecutive before popping out to Davis on the mound.
That left it up to Thames who swung ugly on the first pitch but got a center-cut fastball on the third pitch of the at-bat and did not miss it. And that was the ballgame. Again.
Colorado fell to 58-50 and sit two games back of the lead in the NL West.
German Marquez: 7 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 9 K
Adam Ottavino: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
Wade Davis: 1 IP, 1 H , 3 ER 2 BB, 1 K (BS: 6)
Carlos Gonzalez: 2-for-4, 1 R, 2 RBI (HR: 14)
Trevor Story: 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI (HR: 21)
The second game of the series sees Tyler Anderson take on Freddy Peralta. First pitch at 5:10 Mountain Time.