The Colorado Rockies offense is still searching for that big hit in that big moment. They are still leaving far too many men on base, failing to cash in opportunities that their dynamic top of the order so frequently provides. Despite that, the Rockies held the lead for most of the night but Greg Holland blew it again in the ninth, giving the Kansas City Royals a 6-4 win in soul-crushing fashion for Rockies fans.
Colorado got another fantastic outing from a rookie pitcher, Antonio Senzatela in yet another return to the rotation was sporting new-look sliders and curveballs and while he did give up a fair few hits to a pesky Royals offense, was able to show just how good he could be if he ever gets control of those pitches enough to keep hitters off of his fastball.
The Rockies got on the board, as they so often do, with an offensive contribution from Nolan Arenado who blasted his 29th home run of the season over the left field fence. With the RBI, Arenado now has 108 on the season, eight more than any other player in MLB.
The Royals tied it at one run apiece in the second on a rare Trevor Story error, coming with two outs.
Charlie Blackmon put the Rockies back on top on the very first pitch of the third inning, launching his 30th home run of the season, a new career high. Blackmon is the first National League leadoff hitter to hit at least 30 home runs since Hanley Ramirez did so for the Miami Marlins in 2008. DJ LeMahieu followed with a single and Arenado with a walk but Gerardo Parra ground into a double play and Mark Reynolds struck out to end the inning.
With a three-hit day, Blackmon is now just one behind Jose Altuve for the MLB lead in that category and is now 15 up on Ender Inciarte who is second place in the National League.
Colorado looked set for a big fifth inning after three straight singles from Story, Blackmon, and LeMahieu but they would have to settle for just one run. Arenado uncharacteristically struck out in the bases-loaded, nobody out situation, but Parra came through with the productive out, a sac fly to left to make it 3-1, Rockies. Reynolds walked with two outs to load the bases a second time in the inning but Carlos Gonzalez popped out on the infield, ending the threat.
Kansas City struck back with a single from Whit Merrifield and a double from Lorenzo Cain to open up the fifth and pull them to within a run. But Senzatela dug deep and got three straight weak groundouts to strand Cain at second and preserve the lead.
In the top of the sixth, the Rockies rallied with two outs, starting with a walk from Story who moved to second on a single to left from Blackmon. It was a brilliant at-bat for Blackmon who saw 10 pitches, left-on-left and used a contact swing to loft an offspeed pitch into the opposite field. Story scored on a single up the middle from LeMahieu, delivering the two-out hit that has so eluded the Rockies lately.
Whit Merrifield continued his reign of terror (a four-hit night) in the bottom of the seventh, singling up the middle against Pat Neshek and then stealing second base, the 24th bag he has swiped this season. Neshek struck out Melky Cabrera then gave way to Jake McGee who jammed Eric Hosmer with a high, inside fastball but Hosmer managed to muscle it out to left field for a shallow single that scored Merrifield to make it a 4-3 contest in favor of the Rockies. McGee worked a clean eighth.
Holland was called upon to face his old team for the first time and his August woes continued, walking Alex Gordon to start the frame, giving up a jam-shot opposite field single to Cabrera before Hosmer lined a no-doubt, walk-off home run down the right-field line to secure a 6-4 Royals victory.
Colorado missed the opportunity to retake the lead in the National League Wild Card and remain a half-game behind the Arizona Diamondbacks.