The Colorado Rockies faced the Atlanta Braves on Sunday without All-Star center fielder Charlie Blackmon in the starting lineup. The bearded slugger was held out after suffering back tightness on Saturday night, but the Rockies hope he’ll be ready for Monday’s game against the Padres.
Without his traditional leadoff hitter, Rockies manager Bud Black moved second baseman DJ Lemahieu into the leadoff spot and slid catcher Chris Iannetta into the number two slot. The move didn’t help as Atlanta posted a 4-0 win to take two of three games in their only visit to Denver this season.
Though no runs were scored until the fifth inning, that doesn’t mean the teams were without their chances.
Rockies squander early opportunity
More from Colorado Rockies News
- A Colorado Rockies Thanksgiving
- Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon out for the season
- Colorado Rockies: Injuries shift look of roster ahead of Dodgers series
- Colorado Rockies: 3 things we appreciated from Tuesday in San Francisco
- What Bill Schmidt’s comments mean for the Colorado Rockies in 2023
The Rockies threatened in the bottom of the first, putting together three hits but unable to score.
After Iannetta grounded into a double-play following LeMahieu’s swinging bunt single to open the game, third baseman Nolan Arenado lined a single to right field to keep the inning going.
Shortstop Trevor Story followed that up by poking a single through the left side to put runners on first and second with two outs.
It looked like the Rockies might have a chance to take an early lead before Newcomb struck out left fielder Ian Desmond to end the threat.
Freeland resilient early on
Freeland stood tall in the second inning when he faced some traffic. Braves veteran right fielder Nick Markakis singled to lead off the inning and speedy shortstop Dansby Swanson reached on a bunt towards first base.
With two on and nobody out, Freeland coaxed a fly ball to left from third baseman Charlie Culberson. Left fielder Peter Bourjos proceeded to ground into a fielder’s choice at second and Freeland ended the inning by striking out Newcomb swinging.
After Story’s single in the first, Newcomb retired sixteen consecutive batters until Arenado reached on a fluke infield hit off the third base bag in the bottom of the seventh.
Newcomb struck out nine Rockies over that span.
He went six-plus innings, giving up five hits, no walks, and no runs. Newcomb joined Jon Gray and Randy Johnson as the only three starting pitchers in the history of Coors Field to throw at least six innings without giving up a run while striking out at least nine and issuing no walks.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Black dismissed concerns about the offense after the shutout.
"“There are times when a guy pitches a really good game — I think we saw that today,” Black said."
With no outs in the seventh, Newcomb was lifted for former Rockies reliever Shane Carle after giving up hits to Arenado and Story.
On the first pitch, Carle got Desmond to ground into a double-play and one batter later, right fielder Gerardo Parra lined out to left to end the inning.