DENVER - “I can only imagine,” manager Bud Black said before Antonio Senzatela took the mound on Mother’s Day, less than a year after losing his own mom to cancer.
“His relationship with his mother was a close one. Antonio this last year, it’s something for him that he will continue to show emotion in his own way and remember her. I know that each day that he starts there is something he does personally with his mom. I think every player out here has a way to honor their mom, especially today and Antonio probably more than most.”
In a nowhere near as important note Senzatela was pitching a first place hindering game for the Colorado Rockies against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Senzatela was solid enough to keep the Rockies up and in the inning, he came out, Nolan Arenado powered a two-run blast that would be the insurance necessary to keep the Rockies in first and Senzatela tied atop MLB's wins list with Clayton Kershaw.
Senzatela appeared perfectly calm but walked the Joc Pederson to begin the game after the Dodgers outfielder fouled off several pitches. Corey Seager then jumped on a fastball, hammering a moonshot 427 feet and over the right field fence to put L.A. up 2-0 early.
The Rockies came right back, though, taking the lead in the bottom of the first. Charlie Blackmon started things, as he so often does, with a single to center on a 1-2 changeup. DJ LeMahieu followed that with a perfect bunt, putting a pair on for Arenado who smashed a double down the left field line to make it 2-1.
Mark Reynolds continued his near-MVP caliber play by fighting through a tough at-bat and delivering a bloop single to center, scoring a pair and putting the Rockies up 3-2. Arenado showcased some excellent baserunning, seeing from the start that the ball would be dropped, not falling for the deke, making sure he scored the go-ahead run. It ended up mattering as well because Ian Desmond then grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The lead was short-lived for Colorado. Yasiel Puig caught Senzatela again, this time on a hanging slider, and shot a laser beam to left that just cleared the fence to tie the game. The home run came off the bat at nearly 111 mph.
The Rockies rookie pitcher got into some trouble in the third, issuing a lead-off walk followed by a double to Cody Bellinger and a single to Yasmani Grandal to put the Dodgers back on top at 4-3. The inning might have gotten out of hand but Senzatela struck out Chris Taylor with a 99 mph fastball, the hardest he has thrown in MLB, and then got some help on a spectacular defensive play from LeMahieu.
It looked like the do-si-do would continue in the bottom of the third with Blackmon and LeMahieu leading things off with a pair of singles. But Arenado popped out and LeMahieu ran into an out trying to steal, but there was a miscommunication and Blackmon was still standing on second. Reynolds grounded out to end the inning without a score.
The Rockies did take the lead back in the very next inning though. Carlos Gonzalez drew a walk and moved to third on a failed pickoff attempt. The Dodgers brought the infield in (in just the fourth inning) but it mattered not as Pat Valaika (Valatenight) blasted his second home run if the season 427 feet to center field.
The Rockies tagged back with some insurance one inning later taking advantage of a hit batsman by Julio Urias that knocked him out of the game. Sergio Romo entered and his struggles continued against Arenado, this time resulting in a two-run shot that was the Colorado sluggers third longest homer in the Statcast era.
Black played the bullpen game against Dave Roberts with the Rockies off day tomorrow, using 5 bullpen pitchers. Most notably Chris Rusin working out of a one-out two men on jam in the sixth. Adam Ottavino left a two runner, no outs mess to Jake McGee which he got out of with the lead still intact but lessened to one after two RBI singles one to Justin Turner and Bellinger.
The Rockies returned the favor in the bottom of the eighth getting two singles ahead for the sizzling Valaika. One guy was picked off but Valaika's damage was still more than enough, blasting the Rockies third two-run shot of the game, giving them a 9-6 lead.
Greg Holland remained a perfect 16-16 in save opportunities and won 9-6.