By HAL McCOY
With apologies to Kermit, who said it isn’t easy being green, it isn’t easy being red these days, especially if you are a member of the Cincinnati Reds.
The Colorado Rockies slapped a memory on the Reds Tuesday night in Coors Field that even Alzheimer’s couldn’t erase.
Stopping the Rockies from crossing home plate on this night was like trying to stop the rain from failing, a 17-4 obliteration during which Colorado hit seven home runs and eight doubles. Reds pitchers tied a club record by giving up the seven home runs in one game.
If it had been a heavyweight boxing match it would have been stopped in the first round for humanity’s sake.
Manager Bryan Price knew he was in for hard times this year under a rebuilding program, but he had no idea the hard times would be like serving hard time breaking rocks in a old-time southern prison.
IT WAS A PERFECT display of what happens when a team has to send a steady stream of Class AAA pitchers to the mound in a big league game in a venue where even established and accomplished pitchers shudder at the thought of pitching there.
There was much joy in Cincinnati when it was time for Jon Moscot to return from the disabled list to the starting rotation.
That joy was tempered when Moscot faced his first hitter in the bottom of the first. For the second straight day, Charlie Blackmon led the bottom of the first with a home run on the second pitch he saw.
THEN IT GOT UGLY, er, uglier. Moscot gave up a double to D.J. LeMahieu and a home run to Nolan Arenado and it was 3-0 before an out was recorded. Moscot retired the next two, then gave up three more hits for two more runs and a 5-0 Reds deficit in the first.
Moscot gave up two more home runs in the second, one to LeMahieu and one to Carlos Gonazalez to make it 7-0.
Well, you get the jist of what this one was all about.
BLACKMON LATER HIT another home run. a grand slam off Dayan Diaz, and Arenado later hit another home run, two home runs after he sat out Monday’s game because he was enmeshed in a 4 for 32 slump.
And here is what the Reds pitching lines looked like as they pitched in Coors, a den of morosity for the Reds, who are 8-amd-20 in their last 28 appearances in Denver.
—Jon Moscot: 2 innings, 7 runs, 8 hits, four home runs.
—Daniel Wright: 3 1/3 innings, 4 runs, 8 hits, two home runs.
—Dayan Diaz: 0 2/3 innings, five runs, two hits, four walks and a home run.
—A.J. Morris: 2 innings, one run, one hit, two walks.
AND HERE IS HOW Colorado scored inning-by-inning: 5 2 1 – 0 0 3 – 6 0 X — 17 (19 hits).
Charlie Blackmon had two hits (both homers) and five RBI. D.J. LeMahieu had four hits, scored four runs and drove in two and homered. Nolan Arenado had two hits, scored three runs, drove in four and hit two homers. Carlos Gonzalez had three hits, scored one, drove in two and homered.
Gerardo Parra had three hits, scored two and drove in two. Daniel Descalso had a hit, scored two and drove in one. Tony Wolters had three hits, drove in one and scored one. Shortstop Trevor Story was the only Rockies starter who went hitless.
The beneficiary of the carnage was Rockies starting pitcher Jon Gray. He went six innings and gave up three runs and five hits, with two of the runs coming on solo home runs by Joey Votto and Jay Bruce.
Bruce had three hits and was a single short of the cycle with a double, triple and home run. But he was the only Reds player with more than one it.
The Reds had a bizarre inning during which four runners reached base, but they scored only one run when they had the bases loaded with no outs in the third inning.
Tucker Barnhart reached on an infield hit. Moscot, trying to bunt was hit in the ear with a pitch. Zack Cozart walked to fill the bases and Billy Hamilton worked a nine-pitch walk to force in a run.
One run in, bases loaded, still no outs. Votto struck out on a pitch in the dirt, Adam Duvall struck out on a pitch in the dirt and Bruce grounded out.
The Reds, 5-and-20 on the road this year, are 2-and-6 on this trip (0-3 in Los Angeles, 1-and-2 in Milwaukee and 1-and-1 in Colorado with two left with the Rockies.