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Senzatela throws eight shutout innings as Rockies snap losing streak

The Rockies were reeling from a four-game losing streak on Wednesday afternoon. By the time Antonio Senzatela felt the mound after eight shutout innings, they felt ready to take on the world.

Senzatela, the Rockies’ most-improved pitcher in the abbreviated 2020 campaign, bounced back from last week’s poor start with an impressive, 96-pitch performance on a cold night in Denver. Senzatela scattered four hits, two walks and three strikeouts throughout those eight innings, giving credit to catcher Elias Diaz, who called a solid game that stifled the Diamondbacks’ attack.

“We had a good plan today,” Senzatela said after the game. “We executed that plan.”

Senzatela finished the night with 14 groundball outs, a key to success for any pitcher in Coors Field. Manager Bud Black was effusive in his praise, telling MLB.com, “I don’t want to give away any trade secrets, but he had a good slider tonight, for sure. He and Elias did a good job of mixing pitches. The fastball was located better than his previous start.”

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NEXT UP: Rockies (2-4, T-4th in NL West) vs. Diamondbacks (2-4, T-4rd, NL West) | Thursday, Apr. 8 at 1:10 p.m. | COL: Jon Gray (0-1, 1.80 ERA) vs ARZ: Merrill Kelly (0-1, 6.75 ERA).

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NOTES

• Garrett Hampson went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks as the Rockies’ leadoff hitter Wednesday, and he made the Diamondbacks pay further when he stole three bases on the night. Hampson said that his mother, Marjie, texted him prior to the game with a tip. “She said, ‘Leadoff! Be aggressive!’ I took it to heart. When ‘Moms’ tells me to do something, I’m going to listen.”

• Chris Owings went 3-for-3 with a double, a triple, and a pair of RBI as his hot start to the season continued. Unfortunately, Owings, who’s hitting .500 on the season, left the game with a stiff right hamstring and is likely to sit Thursday’s matinee out.

• Sam Hilliard replaced the injured Chris Owens in right field and went 1-for-2 with a triple. Hilliard hit a home run on Tuesday night in the Rockies’ extra-inning loss.

• Antonio Senzatela threw eight shutout innings on Wednesday and earned the win, improving his career record at Coors Field to 22-10.

• Jordan Sheffield, a Rule 5 draft pick from the Dodgers this offseason, finished off Wednesday’s win with a clean ninth inning. Sheffield, 26, has had two relief appearances this season, and both have resulted in shutout innings. As a Rule 5 selection, Sheffield must remain with the Rockies’ big-league club all season long or be offered back to the Dodgers for a mere $25,000 fee.

• Jon Gray, who left his last start over the weekend with “full-body” cramps, will pitch the finale of the seven-game homestead on Thursday. Gray remembered that he didn’t eat his usual pre-game banana prior to the start; something he won’t forget on Thursday. “Carb up and get my bananas in,” Gray said.

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THE FINAL WORD

“Games like this, they’re being watched by other National League teams. They know that he could be a pest. And that’s sort of the message that I’ve sent to him about how his game plays in the majors.” — Manager Bud Black, on Garrett Hampson, who had three steals in Wednesday night’s win.

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INJURY WATCH

• Chris Owings (right hamstring soreness) left the Apr. 7 game and is day-to-day.
• Kyle Freeland (strained left shoulder) was placed on the 10-day IL on Apr. 1. He is expected back in early May.
• Brendan Rodgers (strained right hamstring) was placed on the 10-day IL on Apr. 1.
• Scott Oberg (blood clots) had surgery prior to the end of Spring Training. He was placed on the 60-day IL on Mar. 27 and his season is in doubt.

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STARTING LINEUP:

CF Garrett Hampson
RF Chris Owings
SS Trevor Story
1B C.J. Cron
2B Ryan McMahon
3B Josh Fuentes
C Elias Diaz
LF Yonathan Daza
SP Antonio Senzatela

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Shawn Drotar is the host of “The Fan Late Night with Shawn Drotar;” weeknights from 10:00 p.m. to midnight — only on 104.3 The Fan. Follow him on Twitter at @sdrotar.

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