The Rockies’ party from late Friday night carried over into Saturday, when Charlie Blackmon — who stroked the 12th-inning, walk-off home run the night before — smashed Aaron Nola’s first pitch into the Colorado bullpen at Coors Field.
And it looked like the good times would continue, too, with Raimel Tapia’s rousing inside-the-park homer in the second inning and Antonio Senzatela’s solid initial two innings seemingly setting the table to secure Colorado’s first home series win of the season.
But Philadelphia, behind three-RBI hits from Bryce Harper and Phil Gosselin, zapped the party vibe in LoDo in a 8-5 decision that snapped Colorado’s five-game winning streak. The Rockies stranded 10 and finished the night 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
“Today we had a number of guys on base, and there was probably a little bit of anxiousness and maybe a little bit coming out of our approach,” manager Bud Black said. “We were being overly aggressive at times, and others we weren’t ready to hit a pitch early in the count.”
Nola, the Phillies’ ace who finished third in the National League Cy Young Award voting last season, wasn’t sharp from the first pitch, when Blackmon gave Colorado a 1-0 advantage as he become the first Rockies player to hit a leadoff home run one game after hitting a walk-off home run the previous one.
“I feel like I’m seeing the ball pretty good,” said Blackmon, who finished 4-for-5 and a double shy of the cycle.
The Philadelphia right-hander’s first pitch of the second frame also led to a run as Tapia’s moonshot off the highest part of the center-field wall enabled the speedster to get home and make it 2-0. It was the 18th inside-the-parker in franchise history, and the first since Blackmon did it at Citi Field on July 16, 2017.
But Philadelphia chipped away at Colorado’s momentum in the third inning, and then took it away completely in the fourth.
Cesar Hernandez’s two-out RBI single got Philadelphia on the board before the Rockies responded with Trevor Story’s RBI single in the bottom of the third inning, when Nola escaped worse damaged by striking out Garrett Hampson to end a bases-loaded threat.
The Phillies then busted apart Senzatela’s quality start the next inning, when, after stranding 19 runners Friday while batting 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position, Gosselin doubled off the center-field wall to plate three and swing the game in the visitors’ favor, 4-3.
“I missed right in the middle of the plate on that pitch, and (Gosselin) got me,” said Senzatela, who lasted six innings after running up his pitch count early. “Plus, I didn’t have my best fastball tonight and I threw too many balls to start the game.”
Harper’s two-strike, two-out homer in the seventh off southpaw Mike Dunn then ballooned Philadelphia’s lead to 7-3.
“I had a pretty good track record against (Harper), and I’ve faced him a lot,” Dunn said. “I made a couple good pitches, and I went with the slider again that he swung and missed at twice. I missed my spot down and in, right in the nitro spot for any lefty hitter.”
Meanwhile, Colorado’s offense went quiet for several innings before getting to former Rockies reliever Pat Neshek as Ian Desmond’s sacrifice fly and Blackmon’s RBI triple made it 7-5 in the eighth. Colorado nearly tied the game a couple of batters later when Trevor Story’s long fly down the right field line was foul of being a home run by about a foot, but it was the last gasp the Rockies would have.
‘Our pitching staff has really picked us up this past week, and we had an opportunity to do that tonight. We almost got there, but came up a little bit short,” Blackmon said. “A lot of times the difference (in winning tight games) it’s going to mean getting the big hit in the big spot with runners on base, and they got that tonight (with Harper).”
Andrew McCutchen tacked on a solo blast off Seunghwan Oh in the ninth inning, and then Hector Neris set Colorado down in order for the save.
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