DENVER — For a fleeting moment, the Rockies held a 2-1 lead over Chris Archer and the Rays, but over the course of two disastrous innings it all unraveled and the Rockies dropped the game, 11-3, as well as the series.
As was the case in all three games of the series, the Rays took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Evan Longoria doubled home Brandon Guyer, who had walked.
The Rockies got a pair of runs in the third when Daniel Descalso doubled, advanced to third on an error and scored on a Tony Wolters squeeze bunt. Mark Reynolds then came across on a Charlie Blackmon sacrifice fly after initially being called out but having the call overturned when replay showed he was never tagged at the plate.
Things started to come apart for Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa in the third, which followed a similar pattern to the first, with Guyer being hit by a pitch and Longoria doubling. That was followed by three straight singles to give Tampa Bay a 4-2 lead.
After a meek bottom of the third from the heart of the Rockies’ order, the rout was on as allowed five runs on five hits and a walk in a bottom of the fourth that also saw a Trevor Story error, giving the Rays a 9-2 advantage.
De La Rosa’s final line was not pretty as he pitched just four innings, allowing nine runs, seven earned, on 11 hits, walking two and striking out just one. The poor performance came on the heels of a six-start stretch in which De La Rosa posted a 2.68 ERA in 37 innings.
“I felt good, just pitch selection was really, really bad and in the big leagues when you make mistakes they hit you hard,” De La Rosa said.
Once the Rays established the seven-run lead, the parade of strikeouts begun as nine of the next 13 Rockies hitters to come to the plate went down on strikes, primarily against Archer, who allowed two runs on four hits in six innings with a pair of walks and 11 strikeouts.
The Rockies struck out 15 times on the day, a season high at Coors Field, surpassing last night’s 12, with De La Rosa being the only Rockies starter to end the day with at least one K to his name. It was the first time in franchise history that the Rockies have struck out at least a dozen times in back-to-back home games.
“We’ve faced a couple good breaking balls the last two days,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “(Blake) Snell had a real good slider, Archer had a real good slider, that was a common denominator.”
The Rockies now face an important four-game series over the weekend with Atlanta, who they took two of three from at Turner Field last week. With the August 1 trade deadline fast approaching, the series with the Braves could well determine just how many pieces the Rockies decide to sell.
“For us as players, we know we’re going to go out and play ball the next day, so we just have to concentrate on playing better,” Gonzalez said.
The Rockies will get the chance to start playing better tomorrow night against the Braves at Coors Field with Chad Bettis on the mound facing Mike Foltynewicz. First pitch is at 6:40 p.m. Mountain time.