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Colorado Rockies struggle with inconsistency in loss to Diamondbacks

A recurring issue cropped up once again as the Rockies dropped an 8-7 decision to their division rivals.

Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

An issue that has been plaguing the Colorado Rockies all season, inconsistency, was once again their downfall in an 8-7 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Rockies were inconsistent both on the mound and at the plate, scoring and allowing runs in bunches. Each team scored in three different innings, and in just one of those, the bottom of the second, was a lone run scored.

The lack of consistency has been an issue all season, with Colorado failing to win more than four straight games at any point in 2015 en route to a 31-40 record through 71 games.

As it was with the 4-0 start to the season, Wednesday's game started well for the Rockies. They scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first thanks to singles from center fielder Charlie Blackmon and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki along with a pair of Diamondback errors, putting the Rockies on top, 2-0. The Rockies expanded the lead to 3-0 in the second on a solo home run from catcher Nick Hundley, his sixth of the season.

However, as has been the case throughout 2015, and really franchise history, the Rockies pitching faltered. Starter David Hale cruised through his first three innings, allowing just a hit and a walk, before running into trouble in the fourth. With one out in the top of the fourth, Hale allowed consecutive doubles to right fielder Yasmany Tomas, third baseman Jake Lamb and second baseman Chris Owings, cutting the Rockies' lead to 3-2. He then walked catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia before giving up a game-tying single to shortstop Nick Ahmed.

Hale had more issues in the fifth, walking left fielder David Peralta to lead off the inning and following up the free pass with a gopher ball to first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, the 20th of the season for the Diamondbacks slugger, giving Arizona a 5-3 lead.

Hale didn't make it out of the fifth, pitching 4⅔ innings and allowing five runs, all earned, on eight hits with three walks and two strikeouts. It was the second straight rough outing for Hale, who allowed five runs on 10 hits in his last start on June 18 against Houston. The two poor outings for Hale followed four fairly solid ones that saw him compile a 4.56 ERA in 25⅔ innings.

The Rockies fought back again in the bottom of the fifth, with third baseman Nolan Arenado's single plating Blackmon, who singled to lead off the inning and stole second and third, cutting the deficit to 5-4. After left fielder Ben Paulsen walked, first baseman Wilin Rosario singled home Tulowitzki to tie the game and load the bases. Arizona starter Allen Webster then walked Hundley, forcing home Arenado as the go-ahead run. Colorado's lead expanded to 7-5 after an RBI ground out by right fielder Brandon Barnes.

Those would be the last runs scored for a while as eight relievers, five for the Rockies and three for the Diamondbacks, combined to keep the sixth, seventh and eighth innings scoreless.

Holding a 7-5 lead entering the ninth, perhaps the most consistent Rockie in 2015, closer John Axford, entered the game, looking for his 13th straight save.

Axford was off his game from the start on Wednesday, as the first four Arizona hitters in the inning reached on three singles and a walk, cutting the Rockies' lead to 7-6 before Owings struck out with the bases loaded. Axford then walked Saltalamacchia after a 10-pitch at bat to force home the tying run. Pinch hitter Aaron Hill made the second out of the inning, but it was on a sacrifice fly that scored the winning run.

The Rockies failed to muster anything resembling a rally in the bottom of the ninth, as it took Diamondbacks closer Brad Ziegler just eight pitches to earn his 11th save of the season.

In the game, like in 2015, there were plenty of positive signs, just nothing consistent enough to make it a real success.