Rockies start fast but end up with series split vs. Brewers

Jun 20, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies left fielder Raimel Tapia (15) follows through on a swing for a single in the sixth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies split a four-game set with the Milwaukee Brewers at Coors Field, taking the first two games on Thursday and Friday before a pair of one-run losses over the weekend.

The Rockies, after a three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres, started quickly against the Brewers. Colorado jumped out to a 7-0 lead fueled by a C.J. Cron grand slam en route to a 7-3 series-opening win. Milwaukee starter Brandon Woodruff entered that game with a 1.52 ERA but was bitten by the long ball, first giving up the bases-loaded blast to Cron then serving up a solo shot to Garrett Hampson. Woodruff was outdueled by Germán Márquez, who finished with only two strikeouts but gave up just one hit in six innings of work.

Cron came up big for the Rockies again on Friday, wasting no time in the bottom of tenth inning by leading off with a ground-ball single into right field to score Ryan McMahon, who started the inning on second base. Cron picked up teammate Daniel Bard, who blew the save in the top of the ninth inning by giving up a run on a pair of hits and a walk. That spoiled a quality start by Antonio Senzatela, but all ended well in a 6-5 win.

The Rockies weren’t able to salvage a blown ninth-inning lead again on Saturday, though. Tyler Kinley served up a two-run shot to Willy Adames in the top half of the final inning to turn a 5-4 lead into a 6-5 deficit, and the Brewers held on in the bottom of the frame to give themselves a shot at a split on Sunday.

Milwaukee jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the finale, but the Rockies–on the strength of four home runs–roared back to tie the game in the sixth inning. Yonathan Daza got things started with a two-run homer off of Brewers starter Eric Lauer, and Trevor Story followed with a solo shot. Two batters later, Cron hit a two-run dinger of his own off of Zack Godley before Joshua Fuentes tied the game with a one-out solo homer. That was all the scoring for the Rockies, though, while the Brewers again broke through against Bard in the ninth with three singles, including one of the run-scoring variety, and went on to a 7-6 victory.

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Cron, Story, and Raimel Tapia each finished with seven hits in the series. Cron now leads the team with an .847 OPS after going 3-for-4 in the finale, and Tapia is the owner of a 17-game hitting streak dating back to June 2. During that time, he’s hitting .442 with a .623 slugging percentage.

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Though it’s no fault of his own, Austin Gomber is in this category because he wound up on the 10-day injured list with forearm tightness. Gomber started on Saturday and gave up two runs on four hits in two innings of work before being replaced by Jhoulys Chacin. Those two runs allowed by Gomber were more than he’d given up in his previous three starts combined.

Gomber underwent an MRI over the weekend and it showed no damage, leading Rockies manager Bud Black to tell reporters the club thinks the left-handed starter will be fine. Still, Gomber has been the Rockies’ best starter this season, and even missing a couple of starts will hurt, particularly as Colorado prepares to head out on the road, where it owns a 5-27 record.

What’s next

The Rockies head to the Pacific Northwest for a quick two-game set against the Seattle Mariners before heading east to face these same Milwaukee Brewers for three over the weekend. With Monday and Thursday off, an immediate replacement for the injured Gomber may not be necessary.