DENVER -- It was a strange game on a cool night at Coors Field but the Colorado Rockies ultimately fell short, falling one step farther back in the National League Wild Card race.
For a while, it seemed like the very first batter of the game would be the only one to score.
Dee Gordon reached on an infield hit placed just far enough away from Arenado that even the three-time Gold Glover couldn't make a play on it. Then, with two strikes on Giancarlo Stanton, Gordon swiped second without a throw for his tenth steal of the season. He came around on a hard-hit groundball double down the third-base line off the bat of Stanton and the Marlins led 1-0 early.
The Rockies had a chance to score in the second when Jorge De La Rosa delivered a surprising two-out base hit, but third base coach Stu Cole decided not to send Mark Reynolds and one batter later, Charlie Blackmon grounded out with the bases loaded to end the threat.
After that, the Rockies struggled inning after inning to get any traction. They lined into two double plays and just couldn't get any hard-hit balls to go anywhere than directly at a fielder.
De La Rosa did his part to keep the Rockies in the game, surrendering only the one run early and never really getting into trouble after that first inning. He has been stellar over his last nine appearances, posting a sub-4 ERA and generally giving his team a chance to win.
De La Rosa's final line: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K
That's a gem by Coors Field standards.
It looked like it would all be for naught, but the Rockies finally got a little luck going their way in the eighth when DJ LeMahieu scored on a wild throw from the Marlins shortstop.
LeMahieu started things with his third hit of the night and he moved up when Carlos Gonzalez extended his hit streak to 16 games with a single of his own. The Arenado hit into what looked like was going to be a momentum-killing double play but the aforementioned wild throw bailed him out and tied the game.
One batter later, David Dahl extended his own hit streak to 11 games (all 11 games of his MLB career) and drove in Gonzalez to give the Rockies a lead at 2-1. Dahl came around to score on a Reynolds' double off the right-field wall, showcasing his elite speed.
Just like that the Rockies lead 3-1 going into the final frame but almost as quickly, closer Carlos Estevez coughed the lead right back up, surrendering four runs on three hits and two walks. Estevez clearly didn't have his best stuff from the moment he took the mound and one has to think that not having pitched in over a week played at least some kind of role.
Rockies lose 5-3.
This was one of the worst losses of the season because of the timing and how close they were to a win. It shouldn't be overanalyzed because it came on a tough outing from a rookie closer who hadn't worked in some time but in the grand scheme of this season it hurts. The Rockies can do a lot to get right back in the hunt by winning the next few, but they absolutely cannot afford to let this game bleed into the next few and go on a losing streak.
Game 2 against the Marlins is set for tomorrow evening at Coors Field, starting a 6:10 MST. Chad Bettis will take on the newly-acquired Andrew Cashner (from the Padres) in an attempt to swing the series, and potentially the Wild Card race, in the favor of the Rockies.