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Rockies lose 4-3 to Padres after bullpen blows lead

The Rockies couldn’t complete the sweep at Coors Field

Everything started out well for the Rockies. Jon Gray looked the part of an ace this afternoon at Coors Field. His fastball had movement, and his slider was sharp. Nearly half of the outs he recorded came by way of the strikeout. But a nearly hour and a half rain delay cut his day short. Though the Rockies had a 3-0 lead once play resumed, the bullpen slowly gave the lead away, until Greg Holland finally let it go entirely in the ninth. The 4-3 loss along with the Brewers’ win means the Rockies are now 3.0 games ahead of Milwaukee for the second Wild Card.

The Padres had just two hits against Gray. He struck out seven Padres, and he walked just one. Gray’s season ERA fell to 3.75, and his FIP fell to 3.28. The latter number is the second best in team history for starters with at least 90 innings pitched. Unfortunately, weather cut Gray’s day short. Rain hit in the bottom of the fifth, and that led to a one hour and 23 minute delay. The Rockies had a 3-0 at the time. Chris Rusin came in for the Rockies when play resumed.

Jhoulys Chacin, old friend, looked good for the Padres, but the Rockies got to him in the fourth inning. Carlos González worked a walk to lead off the inning, and he moved to third base after Nolan Arenado singled. Gerardo Parra brought CarGo home with a single, and Trevor Story scored both Arenado and Parra with a double to left-center field. Story attempted to stretch the double to a triple, but the Padres executed a perfect set of relays to throw him out.

The Padres got on the board in the sixth inning. Yangervis Solarte hit a home run to the damn concourse, which made it 3-1.

That score held until the eighth inning. Pat Neshek, who recorded the final out of the seventh inning, returned for the eighth. He got the first two batters he faced, but then the Padres mounted a two-out rally. Carlos Asuaje singled off of Neshek, and that prompted Bud Black to pull Neshek and insert Jake McGee to face Solarte. Solarte doubled, although a lucky bounce in left field held Asuaje at third. Scott Oberg then came in, first to pitch around Wil Myers, and then to allow a game-tying single to Héctor Sánchez.

Holland started the ninth inning well, striking out Erick Aybar on three pitches. But he walked Matt Szczur without coming close to the strike zone. Allen Córdoba followed with a singled that put runners on the corners. The Padres took the lead after Austin Hedges laid down a safety-squeez that, if Holland was able to keep the ball in his glove, would have resulted in the second out. Instead, it resulted in the Padres taking their first lead of the day. The 4-3 would hold after the Rockies meekly went down in order in the ninth.

After a day off tomorrow, the Rockies begin their final roadtrip of the regular season on Tuesday. They’ll travel to San Francisco for two and San Diego for four. The opener against the Giants on Tuesday pits Germán Márquez against Johnny Cueto.