In The Tall Grass: Rockies shutout for third time in four games

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The Colorado Rockies have been shut out for the third time in the last four games. After a brief respite from their woes on Friday night against former teammate Jordan Lyles, another starting pitcher who used to don purple, Jhoulys Chacin, dominated his old ballclub who seem more lost at sea by the day. A 5-0 loss on Saturday left them just one game ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers for the second National League Wild Card spot with seven to play. It is the first time in franchise history the Rockies have been shutout three times in four games.

Chad Bettis pitched a pretty good game, especially relative to his last outing in which he recorded just one out. He managed to strand a fair amount of traffic by inducing weak contact and getting strikeouts when he needed them the most. He finally stumbled in the fifth, walking Wil Myers after getting a gift out on the base paths from Manuel Margot. One out away from escaping the frame, Bettis spiked a pitch that catcher Jonathan Lucroy had no chance to block, advancing Myers to second. Of course, this would immediately come back to haunt him and the Rockies when a Yangervis Solarte soft single to center broke the scoreless tie, giving the Padres a 1-0 lead.

Carlos Estevez replaced Bettis and struck out Hunter Renfroe to end the inning.

The Rockies were being no-hit through the first several innings by an old teammate for the second game in a row until DJ LeMahieu singled to right with two outs in the sixth. Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado followed by working a pair of walks to load the bases, but Gerardo Parra fired at the first pitch and hit a weak pop fly to left field to end the rally without scoring any runs.

Cory Spangenberg greeted new Rockies pitcher Kyle Freeland with a broken-bat single to shallow right and Austin Hedges hit a sinking liner that popped in-and-out of the glove of a diving Carlos Gonzalez, going down as a double. Freeland bounced back to strike out Travis Jankowski and was replaced by Antonio Senztela who pitched well enough to strand both runners but wouldn't be so lucky. Badly fooling Christian Villanueva into a slow dribbler out in front of the plate, Senzatela was unable to get Spangenberg with a scoop-throw attempt at the plate. Without hitting the ball especially hard in the inning, the Padres had taken a 2-0 lead. Senzatela struck out Margot and got Carlos Asueje to pop out on the infield to prevent any further damage.

But the Padres found further damage in a nightmare eighth inning for the Rockies. Chris Rusin surrendered an opposite-field double to Spangenberg and a single to Hedges before plunking Jankowski to load the bases with nobody out. Rusin got a groundball to first from Erick Aybar but Ian Desmond made both a mental and physical mistake, tagging first base instead of coming home for the first out and then throwing off his wrong foot and with no grounding so that the ball lofted way off target, allowing two runs to score. A third came in on a sac fly from Margot, putting the Rockies down 5-0 heading into the ninth.

Colorado fell to 83-72 but with the St. Louis Cardinals losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates, did not fall into a tie for their Wild Card spot. The Milwaukee Brewers picking up a win over the Chicago Cubs, they leapfrogged in front of the Cardinals. The fourth and final game of the series takes place Sunday afternoon at 2:40 mountain time. German Marquez takes on Luis Perdomo. The Brewers and Cardinals both have afternoon games as well.

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