Rockies drop series but avoid baseball’s basement

May 12, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies catcher Dom Nunez (R) walks out to meet starting pitcher Jon Gray (L) on the mound during the sixth inning against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies dropped two of three to the San Diego Padres at Coors Field this week, but a split in Wednesday’s doubleheader ended a five-game losing streak and kept the home team out of the MLB cellar.

Josh Fuentes hit a two-run homer and a 410-foot walkoff single to help his club avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the second-place Padres, who used excellent pitching to overcome some COVID-related depth issues. San Diego started slow in Game 1 against Antonio Senzatela, who pitched well for a few innings in his return from the injured list before running out of gas in the fifth and sixth en route to an 8-1 loss.

Rockies starter Jon Gray went toe to toe with Padres ace Yu Darvish in Game 2 before experiencing his own issues the third time through. He walked two batters and was hurt by an Alan Trejo error in the sixth inning before exiting in favor of Robert Stephenson, who surrendered a grand slam to Padres catcher Victor Caratini. San Diego went on to win that game, 5-3.

What (else) went wrong

The Rockies had just six total hits through the first 14 innings of the series before their too-little, too-late string in the bottom of the sixth inning of Game 1 on Wednesday. Garrett Hampson and Matt Adams went hitless in the series, while Raimel Tapia was just 1-for-11. No one else other than Fuentes—and Yonathan Daza, who quietly finished the series with four hits in six plate appearances—did anything much of note, either.

Adams in particular has been quite the black hole at the plate. Though he had just four plate appearances in the series, one of them ended in a double-play grounder in a crucial situation. He’s just 2-for-19 and has yet to collect an extra-base hit during his stint with the Rockies.

What went right

Austin Gomber did not allow an earned run in 5 1/3 innings in Game 2 of the doubleheader. Gomber struck out six, walked just one, and allowed only four hits in an outing that likely would’ve been longer (he threw just 83 pitches, 55 of which were strikes) if not for the seven-innings rule.

Yency Almonte returned from a short stint on the injured list to post a pair of scoreless outings. Almonte’s quick sabbatical was more about getting right mechanically than anything else, and at least for now, the results are there.

What’s next

The Rockies stay home for a four-game set against the Cincinnati Reds, who have climbed back to .500 after winning eight of their last 13. Among the pitchers the Rockies will see is Wade Miley, who on Friday will make his first start since no-hitting the Cleveland Indians on May 7.

Colorado enters that series with a 13-24 record, placing them dead last in the National League and just a half-game better than the MLB-worst Detroit Tigers, who are 12-24 after winning three games in a row.