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Guardians 4, Rockies 3: Blackmon giveth, Blackmon taketh away

Charlie Blackmon’s late home run gave the Rockies life, but his even-later baserunning gaffe was a tough pill to swallow

Antonio Senzatela pitched his second straight quality start and Charlie Blackmon’s home run was a joyous moment, but an extra-innings baserunning error may have sunk the Rockies as they lost the first game of their series with the Guardians 4-3 on Tuesday.

Senzatela sizzling

Antonio Senzatela has had a rough 2022 in totality, but things seem to be moving in a positive direction as of late. After tossing a quality start against the Giants in his last outing, he held down a very game Guardians lineup on Tuesday evening, holding them to three runs (two earned) in his six innings. Senzatela was not without trouble, but most of it was localized to two innings - the third and sixth. Of the eight hits he allowed, six came within those two frames.

Senzatela was able to limit damage and keep the high-contact Guardians largely off the board and keep the Rockies in the game. It’s the seventh quality start for Rockies starters in their last eight games.

Guardians strike first

In that third inning, it would be Cleveland who crossed the plate first, all with two outs. Steven Kwan stood on first base with two outs before moving to third on Amed Rosario’s double. Early MVP candidate José Ramírez then sent a 2-1 fastball out to left field to score two and give the Guardians the early lead.

The Rockies would get one back in the bottom of the inning thanks to a CJ Cron triple(!), but Cleveland made it a two-run affair again after taking advantage of some sloppy defense. In the top of the sixth, Ramírez walked to open the inning and moved to steal second base. The ensuing throwing error by catcher Brian Serven allowed Ramírez to advance to third and score on Josh Naylor’s base hit to make it 3-1. The error marks the 11th straight home game that the Rockies have recorded an error, in a franchise record. With the way Shane Bieber was pitching, that lead may be hard to overcome.

Blackmon bops Bieber

Shane Bieber showed why he’s a top-flight starter, holding the Rockies to one run on just six hits through six innings while striking out seven batters. Approaching the century mark in his pitch count, Cleveland manager Terry Francona clearly had faith in the right-hander and let him take the mound in the seventh. With Brian Serven on first base with two outs, Charlie Blackmon stepped up as the tying run, and belted a high-up knuckle-curve over the right field fence to tie up the ballgame.

Blackmon’s 201st career home run follows his blast into McCovey Cove just days ago. He’s now tied for the sixth-most home runs in franchise history with Dante Bichette.

With the game now tied at three runs each, Jhoulys Chacín, Alex Colomé, and Daniel Bard all pitched scoreless innings to send things to extra innings. (including Bard expertly working out of a two-on, no-out jam).

Would there be some walkoff magic in LoDo?

Pivotal tenth inning

Robert Stephenson faced down the leadoff hitter Ramírez with a runner on second to open the top of the tenth inning. Ramírez struck again, sending a ball to right that took a brutal hop just past C.J. Cron for an RBI double, putting Cleveland ahead again at 4-3.

The score would remain there and go to the bottom of the inning. With Blackmon at second to start, Yonathan Daza sent a ball to second baseman Andrés Giménez, who couldn’t handle it and put runners at first and second with no outs for Brendan Rodgers. What followed was an utterly bizarre play wherein Rodgers tapped one in front of the plate, which was handled by catcher Austin Hedges. Blackmon broke for the plate on contact, and was retreating to third base once he realized he would be unable to score. Hedges, though, dropped the ball, and Blackmon again ran towards the plate. Hedges recovered and threw to home, causing Blackmon to retreat once again and finally be tagged out.

Look just find a gif of it, okay? It’s hard to describe...

Either way, the Rockies lost a run-scoring opportunity, and Guardians reliever Emmanuel Clase forced C.J. Cron into a 4-6-3 double play to end the ballgame.

Up Next

The Rockies and Guardians play the second game of their series tomorrow when Konnor Pilkington (1-0, 3.57 ERA) gets the start opposite Austin Gomber (3-6, 6.17 ERA).

First pitch is at 6:40pm MDT. See you then!