Rockies swept in San Diego; problems vs. 2020 Padres come to merciful end

San Diego Padres first baseman Mitch Moreland (R) celebrates his two-run home run with third baseman Manny Machado (21) during the first inning against the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park. Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

So much for that good feeling after the Colorado Rockies’ unexpected road series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers over the weekend.

The Rockies found completely different ways to lose all three games in a sweep at the hands of the suddenly formidable San Diego Padres, who have won five in a row over Colorado and finished 7-3 against the Rockies this season. The two teams went scoreless for eight and a half innings in the opener, which saw Kyle Freeland toss six shutout frames for the Rockies opposite Padres starter Dinelson Lamet, who struck out 11 without allowing a run in 7 2/3 innings. Colorado—despite outhitting San Diego, 7-4, entering the bottom of the ninth—fell 1-0 after Carlos Estévez gave up back-to-back hits, including a game-winning double off the bat of Jurickson Profar, to start the final inning.

Colorado didn’t waste any time scoring in Game 2 of the series, getting a three-run homer from Nolan Arenado off of Padres newcomer Mike Clevinger. But the Padres answered back in painstaking fashion, drawing three walks and a hit batsman against Rockies starter Chi Chi Gonzalez, who recorded just one out and was charged with four runs. That’s because immediately after Gonzalez was pulled, rookie Jose Mujica gave up a grand slam to Wil Myers to put the Padres on top, 5-3. San Diego added five more runs in the following inning, effectively putting the game away in familiar fashion; the Padres wound up winning, 14-5, and at that point had outscored the Rockies 34-7 over the teams’ previous four meetings.

The series finale was a seesaw affair. Colorado held leads of 1-0 and 3-2 but ultimately weren’t able to hold on. The deciding blow came on a rocket that Trevor Story was unable to handle off the bat of Jake Cronenworth. The hit drove in the go-ahead run for the Padres while sealing the fate of Antonio Senzatela, who allowed four runs on six hits and four walks in five innings in the 5-3 loss. Colorado starting pitchers over the course of the series issued 10 walks in 11 1/3 innings, numbers that won’t get the job done going forward.

Arenado led the Rockies with five hits, including the homer, during the three-game set. Matt Kemp added four hits including a home run of his own. Raimel Tapia, who entered the series on a seven-game hitting streak, finished just 1-for-13 in San Diego.

The good news is the Rockies no longer have to face the Padres, who outscored Colorado by a total of 27 runs in 10 meetings, during the 2020 regular season. Plus, the Rox theoretically get some reprieve this weekend, when the 17-27 Los Angeles Angels travel to Coors Field for a three-game series. But at 20-23 and two games out of a playoff spot, Colorado no longer has room for error.

Extras

  • The Rockies reinstated David Dahl from the 10-day injured list prior to the series finale. The club will likely ease Dahl, who hasn’t played since Aug. 17 and is hitless in his last 18 plate appearances, back into regular playing time. Dahl had a miserable August, hitting just .149 with a .388 OPS in 51 trips to the plate. But he was an All-Star just last season, and a healthy Dahl can only help a Rockies team that is struggling to find any sort of offensive consistency.
  • To make room for Dahl and Ashton Goudeau, who was recalled from the team’s alternate training site, the Rockies optioned relievers Luis Mujica and Antonio Santos, both of whom made their major league debuts within the past week. Mujica surrendered seven runs—six earned—in 2 2/3 innings in what amounted to early mop-up duty on Tuesday. Santos, perhaps a more promising arm, showed his inexperience; the 23-year-old righty gave up five runs on nine hits and a pair of walks in 5 1/3 innings spanning two appearances.
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