Pitching was at a premium for the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night at Coors Field, with starter Chad Kuhl and relievers Tyler Kinley and Daniel Bard making quick work during their time on the mound in Colorado’s 4-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
Colorado’s three pitchers needed just a combined 98 pitches to finish off the Reds and send them to their 18th loss in 21 games to begin the campaign. Perhaps even more importantly, Colorado Rockies pitchers threw strikes on 72 of those pitches. Cincinnati did not earn a walk in the loss and Kinley and Bard teamed up to close the door on the Reds, needing just 15 pitches to record the final five outs, with 13 of those going for strikes.
“Just pounding the ball down with aggressiveness,” is how Colorado manager Bud Black described Bard’s first outing since an April 27 one-inning appearance in Philadelphia. In all, Bard pitched on Saturday for just the second time since April 19, but struck out two in his one inning of work to earn his sixth save of the season.
“It’s so hard to dig out a ball in the upper 90s when it’s at your knees,” Black said of Bard’s command on Saturday. “I think that’s one of the things that has been a little different for him this season.”
While a pair of Colorado Rockies relievers finished things off, it was starting pitcher Chad Kuhl that set the tone against the Cincinnati Reds.
Kuhl went a career-high 7.1 innings for the Rockies on Saturday night, with the first pitch he threw going for a home run off the bat of Cincinnati’s Tyler Naquin and Aramis Garcia finishing Kuhl’s night with a solo blast in the eighth. However, between those two solo shots, Kuhl was sensational, allowing just three other hits the rest of his outing.
The 7.1 innings also represented the longest outing of the season for any Rockies pitcher.
“That’s another confidence-builder for him, going into the eighth inning,” Black said. “Efficient tonight, obviously, threw strikes. He had a good slider and the fastball had life. He mixed in a couple of changeups as well. I thought he was in control of the game for the most part.”
At the plate, Colorado did all of its damage in the sixth, scoring all four of its runs in the frame and logging three of the five hits on the night. Charlie Blackmon’s two-run double and Ryan McMahon’s two-run triple were the big blows of the frame.
For McMahon, his two-out triple was his first of the season (he has one triple in each season since 2018) and also marked, after his three-RBI night on Friday, the first time he has logged multiple RBI in back-to-back games since a three-game streak from August 14-17, 2019.
Colorado will have the chance to sweep the Reds behind starting pitcher Germán Márquez in a Sunday matinee (1:10 p.m. Mountain time first pitch).