This is the type of game the Rockies won all the time in 2017 and 2018; it’s precisely the type they lost in 2019.
There were some key differences is this defeat, but the similarities were blatant.
Trevor Story nearly played the hero with a late home run but an implosion from closer Wade Davis wasted an otherwise quality game from Colorado in an heartbreaking 8-7 loss to the San Diego Padres.
The home team too a two-run lead in the first when Story hit a hard liner into center field for a single and was able to trot around the bases when Blackmon blasted one 464 feet to right field and into the Rockies bullpen for a two-run jack.
Meanwhile a hard hit triple by Jake Cronenworth in the third was about all the Pads could muster against starter Jon Gray.
But Cronenworth started the sixth by sneaking a grounder away from the shift on the left side for a single. Gray struck out Tatis Jr. on three pitches in the next encounter but couldn’t locate a 3-2 pitch to Trent Grisham, issuing the free pass. For the first time in the game, Gray was in a bit of a jam with multiple runners aboard.
He got a couple of ugly swings out of Manny Machado but the All-Star third baseman was able to poke a 1-2 low off-speed pitch into right field for an RBI single that cut the Rockies lead in half. Gray then got Tommy Pham to roll one over to short for what should have been an easy inning-ending double play, but Story just missed the ball completely with his glove and the tying run came in to score.
That proved extra costly when Tony Wolters missed a slider in the dirt in the next at-bat and Machado was able to race home for the go-ahead run to make it 3-2. Gray stayed in to get Jurickson Profar to fly out before being replaced by Daniel Bard who got hit hard by Wil Myers but Sam Hilliard was able to track it down with a nice running catch in left.
A pair of one-out singles in the bottom of the frame from Daniel Murphy and Ryan McMahon were marred by Murphy getting thrown out while puzzlingly trying to reach third. Hilliard kept the inning alive by drawing a tough walk.
The Padres went to their bullpen, calling on lefty Matt Strom and Bud Black countered by pulling DH Raimel Tapia in favor of righty Matt Kemp.
Famous for smashing southpaws and conquering Coors, it took Kemp just one pitch to do a bit of both, lasering a double down the left-field line. McMahon scored with ease and Hilliard employed his blazing speed to reach the plate all the way from first and put the Rockies back on top at 4-3.
A one-out single by Francisco Mejia in the seventh against Bard looked like it might get erased on a double play but with the runner in motion Story had to work against his momentum and made a nice play to get one out at first, throwing from his butt behind second base. That little bit of misfortune hurt the Rockies when Tatis Jr. lined a two-out single to right to tie it up at 4-4.
Story put the Rox right back on top with a no-doubt oppo shot to right in the bottom of the seventh.
Moment of the Game: Pham 3-run shot
You could pick the Fernando Tatis Jr. homer since getting an out there instead would have secured the win for Colorado. Still, sometimes guys hit solo home runs and Tatis Jr is a very good hitter. (It was a bad pitch, though.)
But the real gut-punch, and as it turned out the difference-maker since the Rockies rallied in the bottom of the ninth, was the three-run shot Davis gave up to Pham after issuing a pair of walks.
Davis could have blown the save and still given the Rockies a chance to win by recording just one final third out in the ninth. But that job was left up to Tyler Kinley who struck out the only batter he faced.
Player of the Game: Tommy Pham
I’ll eat my crow now.
- Story has three homers on the year thus far, tied for the second best mark in the bigs. Same is true with runs scored after crossing home plate two more times.
- Jairo Diaz kept doing that thing where he allows multiple runners to get into scoring position but also kept doing that thing where he strikes out the side and keeps his early-season ERA at 0.00.
- Davis’ ERA now sits at 16.88. Daniel Bard is at 3.86. Nobody else in the Rockies ‘pen has surrendered a run.