Rockies fall to Marlins, 7-4, as Chad Kuhl and Austin Gomber get roughed up

Stymied by one of Miami’s aces and unable to get any offense going between the first and the last innings, the Rockies fell 7-4 to the Marlins on Wednesday night and lost another road series in the process.

Last-place Colorado dropped to 3-6-1 in road series this season, and 11-20 away from LoDo with the loss at loanDepot Park.

The Rockies got on the board in the first inning by manufacturing a run after Yonathan Daza’s leadoff double. Pablo Lopez’s attempted pickoff of Daza went into center field, advancing Daza to third, and Charlie Blackmon brought Daza home with a sacrifice fly to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

But Miami took control of the game in the third against right-hander Chad Kuhl when the Marlins plated four runs.

“The ball got elevated, and (Kuhl) tried to make the adjustment during the inning, but he couldn’t,” manager Bud Black said.

Miguel Rojas led off the frame with a single, then Jon Berti’s RBI triple and Jazz Chisholm’s RBI single made it 2-0. Garrett Cooper, who had the game-winning RBI double in the eighth inning in the series opener on Tuesday, tacked on a two-run homer to center field to make it 4-1.

Lopez, meanwhile, remained in control after getting nicked for the first-inning run. The Venezuelan right-hander spun his sixth quality start of the season and looked like the same pitcher who shut out the Rockies for six innings at Coors Field in Colorado’s comeback win on May 30.

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Even when Colorado did barrel him up, Lopez found a way out of it. He grinned as he walked off the mound in the sixth, having worked around Brendan Rodgers’ leadoff triple to throw up another zero. He finished with four hits allowed through seven innings and six strikeouts.

“With the heart of the order coming up and (to not score), that was a little frustrating,” Black said. “That would’ve got us to 4-2 and the game would’ve changed there… We need to do a little better job of situational hitting.”

Austin Gomber, having recently taken on a bullpen role, kept Colorado within striking distance with a scoreless sixth. But Gomber got into trouble in the seventh when Chisholm blasted a two-out, two-run homer. Jorge Soler then made it back-to-back dingers, and Miami suddenly led 7-1.

After raking 13 hits in Tuesday’s series opener, a 9-8 loss, Colorado’s offense remained stuck in neutral for most of Wednesday until it was too late.

The Rockies couldn’t do any damage against left-hander Steven Okert in the eighth, but got to right-hander Louis Head in the ninth. Outfielder Randall Grichuk exited the game in that final inning after getting hit on his left hand by a Head fastball. Then two batters later, Elias Diaz pumped a three-run homer to left that ended Head’s night.

“(Athletic trainer) Keith (Dugger) think’s (Grichuk) is going to be fine,” Black said.

The series concludes with Thursday’s matinee before the Rockies travel to Minnesota.

On Deck
Mike McGinnis, The Associated PressColorado Rockies starting pitcher Kyle Freeland delivers against the San Diego Padres during the first inning of the second game of a baseball doubleheader Saturday, June 11, 2022, in San Diego.

Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (3-5, 4.46 ERA) at Marlins LHP Braxton Garrett (1-2, 4.85)
1:10 a.m. Wednesday, Marlins Park
Radio: KOA 850 AM/94.1 FM

Freeland is trending upward in June, with a 3.15 ERA across three starts this month. The southpaw has only allowed one homer during those outings and picked up two wins. But Marlins first baseman Jesus Aguilar has been a problem for Freeland, as Aguilar has three homers, a double and seven RBIs in 11 career at-bats against him. Freeland’s pitched well on the road this year, with a 3.00 ERA in five starts and two homers allowed. Meanwhile, Garrett was called up from the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp on June 5 and turned in two shaky outings and one impressive one in the time since. In his last start, the southpaw was hit for three runs in four innings in a loss to the Mets. The Rockies only have 12 collective at-bats against him.

Trending: Kris Bryant continues to rehab in Triple-A Albuquerque, making his second start for the Isotopes on Wednesday night. The outfielder hasn’t played for the Rockies since May 22 because of a lower back strain but is expected to return this weekend for Colorado’s series in Minnesota.

At issue: With Wednesday’s loss, the Rockies fell to 30-39. A defeat in Thursday’s series finale would put Colorado 10 games under .500, tying for a season low watermark. And Colorado has been unable to ever get hot this year, as the Rockies’ longest winning streak is four games (April 9-12).

Pitching probables
Friday: Rockies RHP German Marquez (3-5, 6.16) at Twins RHP Dylan Bundy (4-3, 5.17), 6:10 p.m., ATTRM
Saturday: Rockies RHP Antonio Senzatela (3-3, 4.42) at Twins RHP Chris Archer (1-3, 4.44), 5:15 p.m., FOX
Sunday: Rockies RHP Ryan Feltner (1-2, 5.46) at Twins RHP Joe Ryan (5-3, 3.00), 12:10 p.m., ATTRM