DENVER -- The Rockies successfully improved their odds of getting a better draft pick in next June's draft with a listless performance in a 7-2 loss to the Diamondbacks tonight before an official late September crowd of 36,005 (yeah right, Rockies). Arizona scored a run in the first and the second innings, then broke the game open with a four run third that put the Rockies in a 6-0 hole from which they could not recover.
Collin McHugh struggled through five innings, allowing six runs on 11 hits to take the loss. McHugh couldn't replicate the form he showed in his last start, a five inning, four hit, one run stint against the Cardinals. Instead, Arizona batters repeatedly squared up McHugh in his five innings of work.
"(I was) Not good today, it was kind of disappointing", McHugh said after the game. "Too many balls up and in the middle of the plate - command was not great today".
On a positive note, Colorado's bullpen delivered an excellent performance, hurling four innings of three hit, one run ball in relief of McHugh.
On offense, Charlie Blackmon continued his torrid September with a 3-5 night, while Charlie Culberson added two hits and two stolen bases. Both Blackmon and Culberson are now hitting above .300 on the year, providing a bright spot for Rockies fans in a trying time.
"He's finding the barrel consistently, hitting the ball really hard, taking some good swings", manager Walt Weiss said after the game. "It looks like he's in complete control of his at-bats. He's on a roll right now, he's playing really well".
Added Blackmon after the game. "I'm starting to get comfortable in the sense that I'm not swinging at pitches that I can't hit hard...I just feel good right now, that's just kind of how baseball goes".
When asked about how getting more playing time has helped, Blackmon added that "Any time you play consistently you can make more adjustments quickly than if you play off the bench. I don't think I've ever gotten this many at-bats in a season - I would say that this is as good as I've felt so far (in the big leagues)".
Culberson said after the game that "Things are coming together for me, I'm getting a few starts and going out there and having fun...I've been in the Springs for almost four months and I think I played pretty well there and I'm getting a chance now (to prove it in the big leagues)".
When asked about the move to the outfield, Culberson remarked that "Every day it's a lot better. Early on I was trying to get the feel of fly balls and line drives...there's still some balls that I'm having to work on, but all in all it's been a lot better. I'm having a lot of fun with it".
Todd Helton continued his Coors Field farewell, scratching out an infield hit and scoring the Rockies first run on a sac fly in a close play at the plate in the fourth inning. Outside of that Helton hit (and before all his plate appearances), the loudest the crowd got was when they were doing the wave in the 9th inning. In all, the Rockies managed nine hits on the evening, one for extra bases.
Dexter Fowler, hobbled by injury over the past few weeks, appeared to pull up lame after grounding out to first in a pinch hitting plate appearance. From the looks of it, he might need to be shut down for the rest of the season.
The Rockies will conclude the series with the Diamondbacks with a game tomorrow afternoon. They will send Juan Nicasio to battle Patrick Corbin.
Postgame quotes to follow shortly.
We Salute: Blackmon (.090 WPA), Culberson (.072)
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