D-backs suffer fourth straight loss
PHOENIX — The Diamondbacks had their chances against the Rockies on Tuesday night. Plenty of them, in fact. But as is the norm lately, those opportunities went for naught.
The D-backs squandered a big scoring chance in the sixth inning and saw A.J. Pollock’s late, game-tying home run quickly erased as the Rockies took the series with a 5-4 win.
"We had a ton of opportunities," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position; we left 11 guys on. Regardless, we had our opportunities."
Looking to avoid a fourth straight loss, the D-backs had the right components early on. Starter Mike Bolsinger dealt through five innings and the offense had three runs on four hits through four innings. Then came a troubling sixth inning.
Bolsinger lost his touch. He gave up a leadoff double to Carlos Gonzalez followed by a home run to Troy Tulowitzki and then a pair of singles. Gibson said Bolsinger started to leave his breaking ball up and couldn’t get it back down.
"He was through five innings pretty clean, and once we recognized that in the sixth we got him out of there pretty quickly and limited the damage," Gibson said. "But those guys struck us pretty quick there."
Reliever Oliver Perez got the D-backs out of the inning without any further damage, but then the D-backs cost themselves. Facing Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood, who left with elbow tightness, the D-backs loaded the bases with no outs, seemingly in position to erase Colorado’s 4-3 lead and blow the game open.
But up came Chris Owings, Roger Kieschnick and Tony Campana and down they all went. Two groundouts and a strike out had the Rockies out of the inning clean.
"We got nothing out of it," Gibson said. "That’s a tough situation."
Added Owings: "I hit a ball hard right at (Nolan) Arenado and got the force out at home. That’s just frustrating."
The missed opportunity for a big inning didn’t prove the D-backs’ death knell, though. That came in the ninth, when reliever Addison Reed served up his third ninth-inning home run of the season, giving the Rockies another lead and rendering irrelevant the three previous innings of stellar relief.
"Terrible slider in the zone," Reed said. "It was supposed to be down and away. I left it over the middle of the plate, and he made me pay for it."
Pollock had homered with two outs the previous inning off Rockies reliever Boone Logan, who took a blown save but also a win after Drew Stubbs’ homer off Reed.
As out of sync as the D-backs have been lately, it was hard to blame one particular thing for Tuesday’s loss. The offense had its chances, Reed couldn’t hold the lead and Bolsinger couldn’t give the D-backs a quality start. This one seemed purely a case of missed opportunities, including a ninth inning that saw the D-backs put two runners on with one out before consecutive fly balls to center field.
"Guys battled their tails off tonight," Gibson said. "We did everything we could to try to win that game."
Entering the night, D-backs right-hander Mike Bolsinger was holding right-handed hitters to a .187 average, while lefties were hitting .387 off the rookie. Looking to take advantage of the split, the Rockies started five lefties, who combined to go 5 for 15 with an RBI.
0 — runs scored by the D-backs in the sixth inning after they loaded the bases with no outs. They also left 11 runners on base and went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
* Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki has killed the D-backs through two games this series. He’s 5 for 6 with five RBIs, four walks and two home runs, including a two-run shot in the sixth inning Tuesday that gave the Rockies a 4-3 lead. In three games against the Dodgers before the Rockies came to Phoenix, Tulowitzki went 1 for 12.
* Brad Ziegler has been the rock of the D-backs’ bullpen lately. With a scoreless inning of relief Tuesday, Ziegler has now made 12 straight appearances without allowing a run.
* D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said he told third baseman Martin Prado before Monday’s game he’d be off Tuesday no matter his performance. Gibson had wanted to rest Prado on Sunday but decided not to after Prado committed a key error Saturday. "That would’ve killed him," Gibson said.
The D-backs entered the night with a league-leading 27 errors after two on Monday. They were error free Tuesday, but the team’s shaky defense was a hot topic before the game. Gibson said defense isn’t coming naturally to the D-backs, who have in recent seasons been among the league’s best defensive teams. It could be the added pressure of a poor start, Gibson said, or it could be players struggling offensively and taking their at-bats into the field. "It’s uncharacteristic, but it is characteristic of a team that’s struggling," Gibson said.