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The Colorado Rockies aren’t the only team feeling the wrath of the Miami Marlins right fielder these days, but he sure has been the difference in the first two games of this series, coming up with the huge three-run blast to secure a 4-3 victory for the Fish on Saturday night.
The troubles for Jeff Hoffman started right after that, leaving a pitch out over the plate for Giancarlo Stanton to smash into the opposite field gap for a double and then losing his command, sometimes by a matter of feet. He issued a walk to Christian Yelich but managed to limit the damage to one run on a ground out from Marcell Ozuna.
The Rockies caught a tough break in the fourth on a double from Carlos Gonzalez after a Jonathan Lucroy walk that normally would have scored a run. But since the ball hopped over the wall, it was a ground rule double and Lucroy had to stop at third. The Marlins then intentionally walked Trevor Story to get a weak final out from Hoffman with the bases loaded.
While he continued to issue free passes and spike wild pitches, dealing constantly with traffic, Hoffman wasn’t bitten by the wildness until the fourth, though he almost wriggled out of that one as well. Giving up a double to Tyler Moore and a single to Miguel Rojas to start the frame, Hoffman took the sac bunt from Nicolino for the first out and watched Trevor Story come through with an excellent defensive play to gun down the would-be tying run at the plate for the second out.
But one pitch later, Stanton absolutely clobbered his 41st home run of the season on a line drive that may have put a hole in the wall somewhere beyond the concourse in left field to make it 4-1, Marlins.
Colorado got one right back, again on some fantastic hitting and base running from Blackmon who singled, stole second for the second time in the game, and moved up on an errant throw. DJ LeMahieu made it 4-2 with a sacrifice fly to left field.
The Rockies had another chance in the sixth with a one-out walk from Lucroy followed by a single from Gonzalez, but Story struck out and a pinch-hit appearance from Alexi Amarista ended in a weak ground out right back to the pitcher.
Blackmon recorded his fourth consecutive hit to lead off the seventh but was erased on a LeMahieu double play. Then, Nolan Arenado was called out on a check swing by first base umpire Pat Hoberg. Arenado threw his bat and yelled a few profanities and was ejected from the game by Hoberg in a, quite frankly, absurdly quick fashion. Pat Valaika came on at third base.
Colorado finally got a hit with a runner in scoring position in the eighth, though even that didn’t lead to a run until a batter later. Reynolds walked to start the inning and moved to second on a wild pitch. After Gerardo Parra struck out, Lucroy singled hard to right field, to hard for Reynolds to test Stanton’s arm. But Lucroy would come in on a ground out to second from Gonzalez to make it 4-3, Marlins. The Rockies were 2-for-22 with runners in scoring position on this road trip before that.
They made one last attempt at a rally in the top of the ninth, getting a single from Valaika and a walk from Reynolds, both with two outs, but Parra struck out to strand them both and end the game.
Colorado fell to 65-51. As of the publishing of this article, the Arizona Diamondbacks have a four-run lead over the Chicago Cubs. If that result holds, the Rockies will fall into a tie with Arizona for the lead in the National League Wild Card.