One of the most amazing comebacks in recent history was a potential high point of the season for the Rockies, but a ninth-inning meltdown was more than they could overcome as the Royals took the finale of their three-game series, 8-7 on Sunday.
Gomber dukes it out
Austin Gomber was looking to improve upon a not-great start in San Francisco, and largely did so on Sunday. He mixed his pitches well, specifically his curveball, and kept KC’s batters guessing for most of his outing. His final line reads as six innings pitched, allowing three earned runs on four hits, three walks, and three strikeouts. His damage came in the form of two home runs - a two-run shot by Emmanuel Rivera in the fifth inning, and a solo shot by Whit Merrifield in the sixth. Those runs marred an otherwise stellar outing, as Gomber retired eight straight batters between the second and fifth innings.
Gomber did a good job of keeping the Rockies within striking distance, especially as Daniel Lynch kept Colorado’s bats in fits.
Austin Gomber— RoxGifsVids (@RoxGifsVids) May 15, 2022
6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO pic.twitter.com/bAesK16rxh
Lynch’s reign of terror
Daniel Lynch looked just about untouchable for most of his start, and totally shut down the Rockies offense. He matched Gomber beat for beat, including retiring nine straight batters at one point. The lefty worked around what limited traffic the Rox could muster, and ended up tossing 5 1⁄3 innings of scoreless ball around three hits and four walks (two of those being the last two batters he faced).
The Rockies were able to get after the Royals bullpen, but Lynch certainly did his job on the day.
One single inning
As mentioned, the Rockies offense was utterly silent on the day, and facing a 6-0 deficit (reliever Jhoulys Chacín had a rough seventh inning and had allowed three runs, including Merrifield’s second homer of the day), it seemed the game was all but over. The Rockies, though, had other plans.
Elías Díaz opened the bottom of the seventh with a base hit off of KC reliever Collin Snider. Amir Garrett then entered and coaxed a fly out of Sam Hilliard before walking Garrett Hampson and Connor Joe. With the bases now loaded with one out, the Royals went to high-leverage reliever Taylor Clarke to quell the uprising. Instead, Yonathan Daza (how about Daza, huh?) singled to score two runs and make it 6-2. C.J. Cron then knocked in another run to puts things at 6-3. A Ryan McMahon fielders choice/error added another Colorado tally before Brendan Rodgers continued his resurgence with a base hit of his own. With the bases again loaded and then Rockies down two runs, up stepped Randal Grichuk, who was 0 for his last 17 AB’s.
With the game tied at six apiece, Díaz would record a sacrifice fly to give the Rockies their first taco’s - er, lead, of the game. The incredible inning included no extra base hits - it was all singles, some walks, and a dash of fielders’ choices.
Ninth inning scaries
Unfortunately, the lead would not last. After a scoreless eight inning from Tyler Kinley, closer Daniel Bard entered to finish the Royals off, but lost pinch-hitter Andrew Benintendi to open the ninth. Ryan O’Hearn then singled before Merrifield popped out. A runaway slider from Bard then moved the runners to second and third as a walk to Michael A. Taylor loaded the bases. Salvador Pérez then sent a single to left field to score two and give the Royals the lead once again.
Bard was able to record the next two outs, but the damage had been done. Royals closer Scott Barlow entered and shut the Rockies down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth to secure the victory.
The Rockies start a new series on Monday, this time against the Giants. Antonio Senztela (2-2, 4.88 ERA) starts for Colorado. San Francisco has yet to officially name their starter at the time of this writing - it’s likely to be Alex Wood (3-2, 3.60 ERA) or Alex Cobb (2-1, 3.98 ERA).
First pitch is at 6:40pm MDT. See you then!