The Rockies needed a big win and Antonio Senzatela delivered.
Recording his first career complete game (in this fourth season and 68th start), Senzatela balanced his pitches, found his way out of jams, and helped the Rockies earn a 3-1 win over the A’s on Tuesday night. Senzatela’s performance was the first complete game for the Rockies since Germán Márquez’s win in April of 2019 in San Francisco and the first one at Coors Field since Jon Gray’s gem on Sept. 17, 2016 against the Padres.
Senzatela’s final line was one run on six hits with one walk and three strikeouts. He totaled 109 pitches, 74 of which were strikes. Out of the 27 outs he recorded, 16 came on ground balls. In addition to his nice balance of pitches, Senzatela (4-2) was so effective because he stayed calm and got out of Oakland scoring chances all night long.
In four of the first five innings, Senzatela found himself in jams. Three times, he miraculously got out of it. Great defense also helped in the seventh.
First inning: Runners at first and second with no outs. Result: No damage thanks to a great fielding play by Elías Díaz to throw out Mark Canha.
Second inning: Runners at the corners with one out. Result: A sac fly from Tony Kemp.
Fourth inning: Jake Lamb hits a one-out double. Result: Lamb was left on base after a strikeout and a groundout.
Fifth inning: Kemp hits leadoff double and gets to third. Result: Kemp was stranded after a pop fly, a fly ball, and a groundout.
Seventh inning: Ramón Laureano hits a leadoff single. Result: Hampson initiates a diving stop, glove-flip double play.
In the ninth inning, fueled by the chance to record a historic night, Senzatela unleashed a 97-mile-per-hour fastball — his fastest of the night — to strike out Canha. Lamb then hit a grounder to Josh Fuentes at first. He threw it over to Senzatela, who stepped on the bag for the third and final out, clapping his glove in celebration.
You know that moment in “Happy Gilmore” when Happy hits a hole-in-one and declares, “That was so much easier than putting. I should try to get the ball in on one shot every time.” That should be the motto for the Rockies for the remainder of 2020: Starters pitching a complete game is so much more effective. They should try to bypass the bullpen every time.
Fuentes and Díaz lead the way
Josh Fuentes helped the offense get going and was involved in both innings when the Rockies scored. The first came in the fifth inning when Fuentes reached on an error and hustled all the way to third base on the wild throw. We then got to jog home on a Díaz homer, which put the Rockies up 2-1 and gave them a lead they never lost. It was not only Díaz’s first homer as a Rockie, but also his first RBI. In the sixth inning, Nolan Arenado and Kevin Pillar hit back-to-back singles, and then Arenado advanced to third on a fielder’s choice by Matt Kemp. Fuentes then hit a sacrifice fly to give the Rockies an insurance run, even though they didn’t need it.
Hampson flashes glove and speed
Garrett Hampson has been struggling at the plate. He entered the game with an 0-for-13 streak and it was extended to 0-for-15 after two strikeouts to Oakland starter Sean Manaea (4-3), who struck out seven Rockies in 5 2/3 innings. Hampson needed something to break out of the slump and it turns out, it was making good plays in the field. In the seventh, with a runner on and no outs, Hampson made a great diving stop and then threw from his glove to Trevor Story, who finished the double play.
When Hampson came up to bat in the bottom of the inning, he led off with a bunt single to snap his hitless streak. In the eighth, he made a jumping grab on a line drive and a great stop and a fade-away throw to rob Robbie Grossman of a single.
The Rockies are now 22-25 and one game behind the Giants (23-24), whose game at the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night was postponed because of poor air quality due to fires and is now moving to San Francisco. After the game, Josh Fuentes said the Rockies are still optimistic about their playoff chances: “There is always time for a run and I feel like, why not now?”
The Rockies will play their final game of the season against the A’s on Thursday at 1:10 p.m. at Coors Field. Germán Márquez (2-5, 4.35) will be on the mound for the Rockies, while Mike Fiers (5-2, 5.06) will start for Oakland.