Despite a slight offensive improvement, the Cincinnati Reds couldn’t match the Colorado Rockies’ hot lineup while extending their longest losing streak in 17 years.
Cincinnati looks to capitalize on a seemingly advantageous matchup with Jorge De La Rosa Tuesday night at Great American Ballpark as it tries to avoid a 10th straight loss.
The slumping Reds (18-26) had scored two runs or fewer six times in the first eight games of their skid while going 5 for 53 with runners in scoring position.
Manager Bryan Price even elected to bat starting pitcher Jason Marquis eighth Monday – the first time since 1933 that a Reds pitcher hit in any spot other than ninth. Marquis had a base hit and Todd Frazier and Marlon Byrd homered, but it wasn’t enough in a 5-4 loss that extended the club’s longest skid since dropping 11 in a row in 1998.
"We’ve earned our nine-game losing streak, but we’re capable of playing better," Price said. "It makes it hard to find enjoyment and peace when you know you’re capable of playing better."
Zack Cozart was 0 for 3, falling to 2 for 30 over his last eight games.
Colorado (18-25) appears to be in the midst of at least a modest turnaround, winning four of six while hitting .321 and averaging 7.3 runs. Nolan Arenado had three hits, including his ninth homer, and added a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the ninth. DJ LeMahieu was 2 for 5 with two RBIs and is 12 for 30 during an eight-game hitting streak.
"I see it turning around," manager Walt Weiss said. "I see us pitching better, taking better at-bats, just playing better."
The Rockies might need another big number with De La Rosa (1-2, 6.51 ERA) coming off yet another tumultuous outing. He needed 108 pitches Thursday to complete 4 1-3 innings against Philadelphia, allowing three runs and three walks. Though his five strikeouts made him the franchise’s all-time leader, it marked the fifth time in six games he failed to record a quality start.
"It was a bad outing for me," he said. "But it’s always good when you break a record."
The left-hander has been extremely inefficient, averaging 19.0 pitches per inning – the worst mark among NL pitchers with at least six starts.
De La Rosa is 3-1 in his last four matchups with Cincinnati despite a 5.09 ERA and six home runs allowed over 23 innings.
Cozart is hitting .353 against lefties and is 3 for 6 off De La Rosa.
Michael Lorenzen (1-1, 3.79) makes his first start for the Reds since May 10, when he gave up one run over five innings in a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox. The first-year hurler has allowed three runs over three innings in two relief appearances since.
Rookie starters are 3-2 with a 4.75 ERA versus Colorado this season.
Cincinnati placed catcher Devin Mesoraco on the disabled list before Monday’s game due to a sore left hip. He has been limited to pinch and designated hitter duties since April 12 and is batting just .178.