If the Colorado Rockies were hoping to take any momentum into a season-long 11-day, 10-game road trip that features seven games against the top two teams in the National League East, the Blake Street Bombers failed miserably in doing so on Wednesday.
In what turned out to be a historic day with a pair of franchise firsts for Colorado, the visiting Texas Rangers raked four Rox hurlers for 18 hits in a 16-4 runaway of the home team before a crowd of 25,213 at Coors Field.
Buoyed by a seven-run second inning, Texas (57-67) built an early 9-0 lead before finishing with seven runs over the last two innings to split the short two-game set between the inter-division teams although Colorado (54-71) laid claim to the season series between the two after sweeping back-to-back contests in Arlington in April.
Brendan Rodgers and Elehuris Montero each had a pair of hits as the Colorado Rockies mustered nine base hits in the loss that gave the Rox a 3-2 mark in the final game of a homestand.
Colorado, which was blanked on four hits across six innings by Rangers starter Martin Perez (10-4) before tallying four runs in the seventh against the Texas bullpen, will have little time to fret over the one-sided loss.
The long road trip begins Thursday with the opener of a four-game series against NL East leader New York (79-46) before Colorado travels to Atlanta for three games against the Braves (77-48 entering action Wednesday night), who are second to the Mets in the NL East.
New York and Atlanta stand with the second- and third-best overall records, respectively, in the NL behind West Division leader Los Angeles.
It proved to be a historic day for two Colorado Rockies pitchers.
The Rox-Rangers finale produced franchise firsts for Colorado starting pitcher Jose Ureña and relief pitcher Austin Gomber although at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Making his 10th career start with the Rockies and on the heels of three straight outings in which he hurled at least six innings, Ureña did not make it out of the second inning on Wednesday afternoon.
The right-hander became the first Colorado pitcher in franchise history to permit at least nine hits and nine earned runs in 1.1 innings or fewer. In the Rangers’ seven-run, second-inning uprising, the first seven Texas batters reached base, marking the first time a Rox opponent has accomplished that in more than seven years (last time was by the New York Mets in the third inning on Aug. 22, 2015).
On the flip side of Ureña’s performance, Gomber — who relieved Ureña in the second inning — had a more positive record-setting day.
In what turned out to be the longest relief outing of Gomber’s career, the left-hander — who started the season in the starting rotation — tossed 4.2 innings of scoreless relief while allowing just one hit and one walk. In so doing, he became the first Rockies hurler in franchise history to throw 4.2 innings or more of scoreless relief while permitting one or fewer hits.
Suffice to say, Gomber and Ureña dominated Colorado Manager Bud Black’s postgame comments to the media on Wednesday.
Black praised Gomber, who needed just 55 pitches (34 strikes) for his 4.2-inning stint.
“He threw the ball very well,” the manager said. “Efficient. Got us outs. Worked fast. I liked that. I thought his tempo was outstanding. He gave us what we needed, four and two-thirds innings of no-run ball. He gave us a chance. If we got the bats going, (a chance) to creep in there. So he did his job.’
Despite Gomber’s solid outing against the Rangers, Black said there are no plans for the second-year Rockies player to return immediately to the starting rotation that has been hit recently with injuries to Chad Kuhl (on 15-day IL with a right hip flexor strain, but likely coming back this weekend for a start in New York) and Antonio Senzatela (out for the season with a left ACL tear).
“We talk about that all the time,” Black said in reference to the team’s starting pitchers. “We will continue to address our (starting) rotation as we move forward but nothing in the plans right now.”
Meanwhile, Black said Ureña was not able to keep his pitches knee-high with good sinking action on his arsenal of pitches (fastball, curveball, changeup, slider).
“Today, not a lot of action on the fastball,” the manager said after Ureña threw 60 pitches (32 strikes) and surrendered nine hits, nine runs and three walks in less than two innings.
“Sort of thigh-high to belt-high a number of times. Couldn’t get the change up into place or pull the change up a number of times. So, he was off today.”
Rodgers’ two hits on the day give him 126 for the season. Entering action Wednesday, he topped all Major League second baseman in hits and batting average (.282), extra-base hits (40), and total bases (188). He is now hitting .285.
Entering action Wednesday, Rodgers’ .364 home batting average since June 17 was second in the Majors. Topping the list for that time span was teammate Randal Grichuk at .382. Grichuk notched a hit on Wednesday in four at-bats.
Montero’s two hits marked his seventh career multi-hit game and his second in the last four contests.
For the series opener at 5:10 p.m. (Mountain time) Thursday against the Mets, Ryan Feltner (2-4, 5.88 ERA) is scheduled to start on the mound for the Colorado Rockies to be opposed by New York’s Jacob deGrom (2-1, 2.31 ERA).