With the Cleveland Indians visiting for the first time since 2008, the Colorado Rockies played the rude host on Tuesday night as they crushed the reigning American League champions by an 11-3 final from Coors Field.
One of the top teams in baseball so far in 2017 proved themselves worthy of their 37-23 record as the Rockies scored in five different innings, four of which were multi-run efforts. Even the pitcher chipped in, as rookie right-hander Antonio Senzatela (8-2) aided his own cause in the second inning against Mike Clevinger (2-3).
The Indians’ second-year righty looked good in the first, striking out Nolan Arenado swinging to end the inning, but was his own worst enemy in the second as he walked the scuffling Carlos Gonzalez to start the inning. After a strikeout of Mark Reynolds, Gerardo Parra singled to right and both runners moved up as Trevor Story grounded back to Clevinger for the second out. Terry Francona played the odds, intentionally walking eight-hitter and former Indians minor leaguer Tony Wolters to bring up Senzatela. With a career 3-for-21 effort at the plate with 13 strikeouts in 25 total trips coming into play on Tuesday, the Colorado starter lined a bases clearing double to the gap in right-center to put the Rockies up by a three-spot.
The Indians stranded a pair in the top of the third against Senzatela and the Rockies got back to work in the home half as Arenado worked a one-out walk and Gonzalez took Clevinger deep to right-center for a two-run blast. His fifth homer of the season made it a 5-0 game.
Cleveland got its first run of the night in the second at bat of the game for Lonnie Chisenhall, back in right field after being activated from the 7-day concussion disabled list prior to the game. With a single to his credit in his first AB, he put up an even better effort the second time as he cleared the fence in right with a solo shot to put the Indians on the board.
The Rockies may have eliminated all doubts in the bottom half of the frame as they responded with a big blast of their own. Zach McAllister, on in relief of Clevinger, gave up a single to Charlie Blackmon before retiring the next two hitters. Blackmon stole second and moved to third on an error charged to catcher Yan Gomes, whose caught stealing attempt bounced off the thumb of the fielding glove of shortstop Francisco Lindor at second base and into center field. Gonzalez, who was at the plate at the time, drew a walk and, after working the count full, Reynolds made his former team pay with a three-run blast that wrapped around the right field foul pole, making it an 8-1 ball game.
The Indians would not go down quietly, despite the lopsided tally. Senzatela had retired five straight after the Chisenhall homer before Jose Ramirez singled to left with one out in the seventh. The next batter, Bradley Zimmer, got to enjoy his first taste of Coors as he sent a two-run homer out to right. His fourth of the season made it an 8-3 contest. One batter later, Senzatela would leave after a single by Gomes, but the Indians would strand their catcher at first with one out with a chance to cut further into the Rockies’ big lead.
As was the case with the Indians’ first scoring effort of the night, the Rockies responded with more runs of their own in the home half of the seventh as Nick Goody entered for Dan Otero. After striking out Arenado swinging, Gonzalez singled to center before Reynolds delivered a mammoth blast to center, pushing the score to 10-3.
The Rockies tacked on one more in the bottom of the eighth, charged to Boone Logan and surrendered by Bryan Shaw. Logan retired the first two batters of the inning before giving up a double to Blackmon. Shaw entered and allowed the base runner to advance to third on a wild pitch before a single from DJ LeMahieu drove in the eleventh run of the ball game, giving the game its final score.
Clevinger worked four innings in the loss, allowing five runs on four hits with three walks and six strikeouts. He threw 45 of 76 pitches for strikes, including first pitch strikes to 13 of 18 hitters faced. He had swing and miss stuff, inducing 15 swinging strikes, but was also all around the zone at times. The loss was his third of the season and pushed his ERA over four at 4.09.
The rookie Senzatela’s breakout season continued with six and one-third innings of quality baseball. His seventh quality start of the season brought home his eighth win as his offensive teammates once again drove in runs for him by the bucketful.
Reynolds drove home five runs with his 2-for-4 day at the plate that pushed his season batting average to .299. The home runs were numbers 15 and 16 on the season and marked the 24th time in his career that he had homered twice in one game. He also moved into the team’s RBI lead with 51 on the year. His big night at the plate coincided with a promotion t-shirt of him given away at the ball park on Tuesday night.
Blackmon’s two hits pushed his season average to .331. He also drew a walk and scored twice in the game.
Chisenhall’s homer was his seventh of the year and Zimmer’s was the fourth of his rookie campaign. Chisenhall was the only Indians player with a multi-hit game and he did so despite seeing just seven pitches over his three trips to the box on the night.
Right-handers Trevor Bauer (5-4, 5.83 ERA) and German Marquez (4-3, 4.53) will match up in a quick turnaround on a getaway day. Start time for the brief series finale is scheduled for 3:10 PM ET on Wednesday. It will be both pitchers’ first career starts against the respective opposition. Bauer was washed out of his last outing early by rain after an inning and two-thirds. Marquez, the 22-year-old out of Venezuela, saw his four-game winning streak come to an end after allowing six runs on eight hits in five innings in San Diego in his last start, despite striking out a career-high nine batters.
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