By HAL McCOY
Tyler Mahle gave up four runs in the first inning to the Colorado Rockies Sunday afternoon in Coors Field. And the Cincinnati Reds figured they had the Rockies right where they wanted them.
Tanner Roark gave up four runs in the first inning Saturday night but the Reds won, 17-9, by scoring five runs in the sixth and five runs in the seventh.
Sure enough, the Reds scored four runs in the second inning off Colorado starter Antonio Senzatela to tie it. Outs in Coors Field are as difficult to find as Indian head pennies.
Unfortunately for the Reds, there were no five-run innings late in the game. Instead, the Rockies scored six runs in the fifth inning en route to a 10-9 victory.
Mahle was infected with two strike-itis. He gave up 12 hits in 4 1/3 innings and eight came with two strikes on the hitter.
And he was victimized by Sloppy Joe defense. The Reds made three errors that led to six Rockies runs. An error on a routine ground ball to Eugenio Suarez led to four unearned runs in the first inning.
With the Rockies scheduled to play a doubleheader Monday against the San Francisco Giants, manager Bud Black tried to go as long as he could with Senzatela.
When the Reds punched three hits for two runs in the sixth inning, cutting the lead to 10-7, Black took down Senzatela and brought in Jesus Tinoco.
Black had barely sat down in the dugout when Reds pinch-hitter Jose Peraza lined Tinoco’s first pitch over the left field wall and just like that it was 10-9.
That’s when the music stopped. Rockies relief pitcher Scott Oberg held the Reds scoreless in the seventh and eighth. Closer Wade Davis slammed the door on the Reds’ fingers, pitching a 1-2-3 ninth for his 14th save in 16 opportunities.
Reds relief pitcher Robert Stephenson pitched two perfect innings and struck out four, including all three in the seventh. Raisel Iglesias pitched a scoreless eighth, but the Reds couldn’t push across any runs over the last three innings.
The Reds did the Rockies a favor by not starting Yasiel Puig (four hits Saturday), Jose Peraza (four hits Saturday) and Joey Votto (two hits Saturday). The Rockies, though, returned the favor by not starting All-Stars Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon.
Peraza, though, made his presence felt with his pinch-hit home run. And when Jesse Winker injured his side while batting in the sixth, he was replaced in the outfield with Peraza.
Votto was used as a pinch-hitter with one out and one in the eighth and he flied out to center field. Puig entered the game late and lined out hard to third base to end the game.
The Rockies took two of three in the series, dropping the Reds 6 1/2 games out of first place behind the Chicago Cubs. And the Reds begin a three-game series in Chicago Monday night.