As the sun began to set, the Rockies were riding high. Colorado tacked on nothing but runs through several early frames, but some eighth-inning bullpen struggles were enough for the Rockies to warm up the closer after holding a 10-0 lead.
Colorado held on, thanks to a dominant starter performance and a whole lot of hits through the entire lineup.
Cincinnati’s Castillo chased early
In his previous three starts, Luis Castillo allowed 11 earned runs in a combined 14 1⁄3 innings. He entered Coors Field this evening with a career-high ERA, FIP and xFIP; tonight’s eight runs allowed in 3 2⁄3 innings will do little to lower those figures.
Raimel Tapia led off with a single in the bottom of the first, and damage would quickly surmount. Connor Joe moved up to the second spot in the order and promptly responded with a first-inning double, putting the Rockies on the board within a matter of pitches. A Ryan McMahon fielder’s choice and Josh Fuentes homer would give the Rockies a 3-0 lead.
Castillo kept the Rockies off the board in the second and third, but Colorado would plate five more runs in the fourth by way of four consecutive singles (Joe, Charlie Blackmon, McMahon, Fuentes).
Cincinnati’s Opening Day starter exited with the Rockies’ winning percentage at 98.4.
Of the 10 Rockies that stepped to the plate, eight of them recorded a hit. Five of them had multi-hit evenings, and both Fuentes and Daza collected three hits of their own.
Fuentes drove in four runs, posting a .768 wOBA on the night with a first-inning homer and singles in both the fourth and sixth. Bud Black placed Fuentes in the fifth spot in the order behind McMahon, and the combo showed for some prime firepower in the middle of the lineup.
Daza helped set the tone for the Rockies in multiple innings; he didn’t drive in any runs but he posed a huge challenge as the seventh hitter in the order. Daza reached base as the leadoff hitter in both the second and fifth inning, and also reached with a one-out single in the fourth.
The Rockies had 15 hits on the evening. Seven additional walks by the Reds’ pitching staff inflated their pitch count, and it put the Rockies in prime position to take some hacks.
Colorado’s Chi Chi deals
Chi Chi González was not strong in his previous start, allowing seven earned runs to the Cardinals in four innings. His return to Coors Field was a favorable one, as he held the Reds to just four hits over seven scoreless frames.
Cincinnati did not send more than four hitters to the plate in any of González’s seven innings. The right-hander only recorded two strikeouts on the evening, but a combination of spaced-out hits and a ground ball percentage of 45.5 put González in prime position to have a day. He throw just 88 pitches in his seven innings of work, and allowed a single walk.
Colorado’s bullpen does not deal
After a Wednesday doubleheader, the Rockies entered Thursday action with a tired bullpen. González’s seven innings proved vital, and it showed when his day was done.
Cincinnati batted around in the 8th inning—and then some. They recorded eight hits and eight earned runs with Lucas Gilbreath, Robert Stephenson and Mychal Givens all tossing a third of an inning. A combined 28 pitches were thrown in the top of the 8th by Colorado arms.
The half-inning lasted over 30 minutes and the Rockies went from holding a 10-0 lead to playing in a 10-8 nailbiter. Cincinnati’s Shogo Akiyama, Nick Castellanos, Alex Blandino, Tucker Barnhart and Kyle Farmer recorded singles in the frame, and the Reds further threatened with Tyler Stephenson’s two-run homer and a three-run blast by Jonathan India.
Late breathing room: Rockies plate three in the eighth
Yonathan Daza continued his strong day at the plate with a one-out double to right field, scoring Dom Nuñez after the catcher reached on a walk. Alan Trejo would drive in Daza on a sacrifice fly, and pinch hitter Garrett Hampson would surmount the damage with a solo shot to left field.
Bowden closes the door
Colorado had at least some form of bullpen success as Ben Bowden worked a scoreless ninth. Cincinnati went quietly in the night with a groundout, walk and consecutive flyouts. Bowden needed just 10 pitches to cap off a 13-8 win.
The game got ugly—but the Rockies held on.
Cincinnati’s Wade Miley threw a no-hitter in his last outing, and the former Diamondback is readily familiar with Coors Field after spending four seasons in the NL West. He threw 114 pitches in his last start and receives some additional rest having last pitched on Friday.
Germán Márquez will look to turn his 5.49 ERA around; he has allowed 13 earned runs in his last 10 2⁄3 innings while eight of them came in a dismal start against San Francisco. Márquez is pitching on standard five-day rest and threw 90 pitches in his last start (6 IP).
Friday’s first pitch will again be at 6:40 p.m. MDT. Each team used five pitchers in tonight’s contest after using five or more on Wednesday, so Miley and Márquez will play a pivotal role in preserving their team’s bullpens.