Six is a serious number, and that’s how many runs the Rockies scored in the 7th inning alone Thursday afternoon.
With a pitching matchup of Dakota Hudson vs German Marquez, I figured we’d get some offensive fireworks, but not like this!
While neither starting pitcher was especially sharp, both departed after allowing two runs, leaving it up to the bullpens. Jordan Hicks and Genesis Cabrera combined to give up six earned runs in the seventh inning, and Cabrera looked especially bad.
The Cardinals tacked on three runs in the eighth to make it close(r), and brought the go-ahead run to the plate twice in the ninth, but ultimately came up short, losing two out of three games to the last-place Rockies.
For the series, Colorado was 18-35 (.514) with runners in scoring position and tallied 29 total runs against Cardinals pitching. Not great.
Hitting leadoff for the first time this season, Lars Nootbaar kicked off the action with a line drive double to left field. He never advanced, however, as both Nolan Gorman and Paul Goldschmidt struck out followed by a flyout by Nolan Arenado to center field. Arenado’s fly ball looked like a gapper off the bat, but center fielder Yonathan Daza made a fantastic diving catch to rob him and save a run. Daza hurt his shoulder on the play, however, and had to be removed (maybe a dislocated shoulder?). Garrett Hampson replaced him in center field in the bottom of the first inning.
Dakota Hudson walked Charlie Blackmon on four pitches to start today’s contest. Jose Iglesias followed with a high popup to shallow left field that Paul DeJong lost in the sun, and it plopped into the outfield grass. DeJong was able to toss over to second for the force out, as Blackmon assumed the popup would be caught and had retreated to first base. Hudson struck out Brendan Rodgers and Ryan McMahon to end the inning.
Former Colorado Rocky Corey Dickerson led off the second inning with a single to center field, but was erased moments later when DeJong grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Tyler O’Neill struck out on a curveball in the dirt for the third out.
Cardinals legend Randal Grichuk led off the bottom of the second inning for Colorado and singled to right field. Elehuris Montero followed with a dart to third base (108 mph off the bat) that third baseman Brendan Donovan dove out for and snagged before throwing back to first to double off Grichuk.
With two outs, Hudson walked Hampson and Sam Hilliard back-to-back before giving up a two-run double to catcher Brian Serven, the nine-hole hitter. Serven’s double dropped into the left-center field alley and rolled to the wall, giving Colorado a 2-0 lead. Hudson struck out Blackmon with a slider to end the inning and not let the damage become any worse.
Yadier Molina lined out to Montero at first base, Donovan grounded out to Rodgers at second, and Nootbaar grounded out to a shifted Iglesias right up the middle.
Iglesias grounded out softly back to Hudson, Rodgers grounded out to DeJong at short, and McMahon was called out on strikes.
Gorman led off the fourth inning with a 430-foot homer over the bullpen in right field in a 1-2 count. It was Gorman’s 13th homer of the season and cut Colorado’s lead in half.
Goldschmidt followed with a line drive double down the right field line that rolled all the way down into the corner. Arenado popped out on the infield for the first out of the fourth inning, but Dickerson picked him up with a base hit to right field. Goldschmidt scored from second on the play to tie things at two runs apiece, and Grichuk’s throw missed the cut, so Dickerson advanced to second base as well.
DeJong popped out to Montero at first base for the second out of the inning, and O’Neill struck out for the second straight at-bat to end the Cardinals’ top of the inning.
Grichuk singled leading off in the bottom of the fourth, but was erased on the very next batter when Montero grounded into a nifty 5-4-3 double play started by Donovan at third base. Hampson struck out to end the fourth inning — Hudson’s fifth strikeout of the day.
Molina led off the fifth inning and hit a long single to left field — similar to his hit last night — but didn’t even try to stretch it to a double despite the ball nearly making it to the warning track. Donovan followed and hit a soft ground ball right up the middle that Iglesias fielded, stepped on second, and fired to first for the 6-3 double play. Nootbaar drew a walk on five pitches with two outs, and Gorman flew out to shallow center field for out number three.
Hilliard drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fifth — Hudson’s fourth free pass of the game. Serven followed with a ground ball up the middle that DeJong dove out for and grabbed before flipping to Gorman at second for the force out. Blackmon hit a easy ground ball to Gorman at second, but he bobbled it on the exchange and was unable to get the lead runner at second base. He was, however, able to get Blackmon at first for the second out, with Serven moving to second. Iglesias reached on a slowly hit infield single to shortstop, setting up Rodgers with runners on the corners and two outs. Hudson struck out Rodgers with a slider in the dirt to escape the jam.
Hudson’s final line: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 K’s (75 pitches)
Goldschmidt led off the sixth with a base hit to left. Arenado flew out to Hilliard in left field for the first out of the sixth. Dickerson — a career .361 hitter at Coors Field — sliced a ground rule double down the left field line, moving Goldschmidt to third base. Dickerson had three of the Cardinals’ first eight hits in this game. With two runners in scoring position, DeJong struck out swinging — hacking at a 100 mph fastball at the top of the zone. O’Neill earned the ole’ hat trick moments later, striking out swinging for the third time in three at-bats and stranding both runners in scoring position.
Marquez’s final line: 6 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K’s (103 pitches)
Jordan Hicks entered from the bullpen to replace Hudson, who — in typical Hudson fashion — danced around quite a bit of danger and closed the book having only allowed two earned runs.
McMahon grounded out right back to Hicks for the first out in the bottom of the sixth. Grichuk struck out swinging on a slider for out number two, and Montero grounded out to shortstop.
Left-hander Lucas Gilbreath relieved Marquez in the seventh inning in a tie game. He was able to get ground outs from Molina, Donovan, and Nootbaar on 12 total pitches to put up a scoreless frame.
Hicks returned for the seventh inning, and it did not go well. After a Hampson groundout to start the inning, Hicks walked Hilliard and Serven. Marmol removed Hicks in favor of Genesis Cabrera at this point.
Blackmon stepped up to face the southpaw Cabrera and singled to right field to break the tie, with Hilliard scoring and Serven moving to third base.
Iglesias followed with a base hit to center, scoring Serven while Blackmon stopped at second base. Rodgers followed with a homer to to left field — his 11th of the season — to make it 7-2 Rockies.
McMahon didn’t want to be left out of the fun though, so he followed with a 411-foot homer to right field, going back-to-back with Rodgers and making it 8-2 Colorado.
After giving up four earned runs and failing to record an out, Marmol pulled Cabrera and inserted the newly-recalled Jake Woodford for mop-up duty. He struck out Grichuk and got Montero to ground out to finally end the nightmare inning.
Right-hander Alex Colome entered the game in the eighth for his 48th appearance of the season. He walked Gorman on six pitches, and then future NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt brought them both home courtesy of a 408-foot homer into the left field seats. It was Goldy’s 27th homer of the season, and got St. Louis back within four runs.
For the second straight night, Arenado went back-to-back with a teammate, as he followed Goldschmidt’s homer with a wall-scraper in left field that just got over the fence for his 24th big fly of the season. His homer pulled the Cardinals back within three, 8-5.
Bud Black had seen enough of Colome’s shenanigans and pulled him in favor of right-hander Carlos Estevez, making his 46th appearance of the season. Immediately, the fire was put out. Dickerson popped out in foul territory, DeJong flew out to center field, and O’Neill upgraded his hat trick to a golden sombrero with his fourth strikeout of the game.
Woodford remained in the game for the eighth inning and put up a scoreless inning to keep the deficit at three runs. He started the inning with a strikeout of Hampson, and then Hilliard singled to left field. Both Serven and Blackmon grounded out to end the inning.
Rockies’ closer Daniel Bard jogged in from the bullpen in the ninth inning to protect a three-run lead. After nearly hitting Molina with two fastballs, he eventually was able to induce a soft ground ball to third base for the first out of the ninth. Donovan fell behind 0-2, but worked the count back to 2-2 and then singled to left for his first hit of the afternoon.
Like Donovan, Nootbaar fell behind 0-2, but was able to work a seven-pitch at-bat and eventually walk — his third time reaching base. Gorman stepped up and hit a bloop single to left field, loading the bases with out for Goldschmidt representing the potential go-ahead run. Goldschmidt grounded into a fielder’s choice out at second base to score one run, but also recorded the second out of the inning.
Nolan Arenado, who may be the greatest player in Colorado Rockies franchise history, stepped in with two outs and the Cardinals down 8-6. Nolan represented the potential go-ahead run, but he took a full count slider for strike three to end the game.
FINAL: Colorado 8, St. Louis 6
St. Louis (61-50) heads home to face the Milwaukee Brewers (60-50) in a three-game set at Busch Stadium starting Friday night at 7:15 p.m. The Brewers currently sit just half a game behind the Cardinals in the NL Central. Eric Lauer (8-3, 3.59 ERA) will go Milwaukee — he took the loss last time he pitched against the Cardinals on June 22, yielding five earned runs over six innings. Jordan Montgomery (4-3, 3.53 ERA) will make his second start for St. Louis after being acquired from the Yankees at the trade deadline.
Around the Central
Diamondbacks 8, Pirates 3 – BOT 7
Cubs – Reds – 6:15 p.m.
MLB Pickle #155 – 5/9