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Rockies bullpen collapses, allows Reds comeback in embarrassing loss

Antonio Senzatela was just being nice.

“When I come out of the game, I assume we’ve got good pitchers, good relievers,” Senzatela said. “But that’s the ballgame. Anything can happen.”

After dealing seven solid innings of one-run baseball, the Rockies’ starter left Sunday’s game with a 6-1 lead over the Reds; their beleaguered bullpen needed only six outs for Colorado to win their first four-game series of the season, and only their second in 2021. In that first series win against Arizona in early April, Senzatela had his best game of the season, pitching eight shutout innings. Jordan Sheffield, a Rule 5 draft pick from the Dodgers, finished that game off cleanly in the ninth.

Lightning didn’t exactly strike twice for the Rockies, but the Reds certainly did.

Reliever Yency Almonte started the eighth with a walk, then a single, then a hard line out, and one more walk to load the bases. Manager Bud Black called hard-throwing rookie Justin Lawrence from the ‘pen, but Lawrence immediately allowed a two-run single, an RBI sacrifice fly, followed by two singles, the latter of which drove in another run to make it 6-5. Tyler Kinley relieved Lawrence, and finally got the last out of the disastrous inning.

Still, the Rockies were in the driver’s seat in the top of the ninth, when Mychal Givens took over. Givens immediately hit a batter, got an out on a fielder’s choice, allowed a single, a sacrifice fly and another walk to load the bases. Givens threw a high-and-inside fastball to the next batter that ticked off on catcher Dom Nunez’s glove; the passed ball allowed the game-tying run. After Givens walked the next batter, he, too, was finished.

Black went to Sheffield, who finished off Senzatela’s win back in April, but threw a wild pitch to the first batter he faced, giving the Reds a lead they wouldn’t relinquish when the Rockies couldn’t cash in a leadoff double by first baseman Connor Joe.

The ugly two-inning tally included four walks, four hits, two sacrifice flies, one hit batter, one passed ball, one wild pitch, six decisive runs… and the Rockies’ most frustrating loss of the season.

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NEXT UP: Rockies (15-26, 5th in NL West) at Padres (24-17, 2nd in NL West) | Monday, May 17 at 8:10 p.m. | COL: Jon Gray (4-3, 2.93 ERA) vs. SD: Yu Darvish (3-1, 2.08 ERA).

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NOTES

• Connor Joe went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and an RBI, raising his batting average to .345 in the process. Despite the pair of doubles — one led off the ninth inning, when the Rockies were a single run down — Joe never scored a run in the game.

• Trevor Story went 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. Story has 42 strikeouts this season and 17 walks.

• Josh Fuentes went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI. The gives Fuentes a five-game streak with multiple RBI, tying the franchise record with Charlie Blackmon (April of 2017) and Dante Bichette (July of 1995). Over that span, Fuentes is now a scalding 11-for-22 (.500) with three doubles, two homers and 13 RBI; going from a platoon player to a must-start in the process.

• Dom Nunez had a two-run home run to right overruled on replay, which showed that the ball skimmed just past the outside of the foul pole instead.

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THE FINAL WORD

“‘Senza’ (Antonio Senzatela) gave us a great start. We were in a position, and then the bullpen had a tough day.” — Manager Bud Black

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STARTING LINEUP

LF Raimel Tapia
1B Connor Joe
SS Trevor Story
2B Ryan McMahon
CF Garrett Hampson
3B Josh Fuentes
RF Yonathan Daza
C Dom Nunez
SP Antonio Senzatela

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INJURY WATCH

• Ben Bowden (strained left shoulder) was placed one the 10-day IL on May 16.
• Brendan Rodgers (strained right hamstring) was placed on the 10-day IL on Apr. 1. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Albuquerque on May 14.
• Kyle Freeland (strained left shoulder) was placed on the 10-day IL on Apr. 1. He has been throwing bullpen sessions and is expected back in May.
• C.J. Cron (strained lower back) was placed on the 10-day IL on May 10, retroactive to May 7.
• Carlos Estevez (strained right middle finger) was placed on the 10-day IL on May 3, retroactive to April 30.
• Chris Owings (left thumb surgery) was placed on the 60-day IL in mid-April and will likely be out until the All-Star break.
• 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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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

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