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Bullpen falls flat as Rox drop back-and-forth affair

Relievers allow 12 runs over final three innings as skid hits six games

DENVER -- The pitch location that made Rex Brothers one of the Majors' best left-handed relievers has gone, and neither he nor the Rockies are sure where it went.

"Good question," Brothers said. "If you know, you let me know."

Brothers negated a comeback by giving up five runs on four hits and a bases-loaded walk -- without retiring a batter -- in the eighth inning of a 16-8 loss to the D-backs at Coors Field on Wednesday night in front of 26,199.

The regression of Brothers (2-4), who finished last year with a 1.74 ERA and 21 saves but now has given up runs in four of his last six appearances and has a 5.47 ERA, was the insult on a day and night full of injury as the Rockies saw their season-high losing streak go to six games.

On a day when the club placed two-time All-Star left fielder Carlos Gonzalez on the 15-day disabled list to heal a troublesome left index finger that has made him ordinary, righty starter Jordan Lyles suffered a broken hand. Lyles, who gave up a Didi Gregorius leadoff homer in the first inning, suffered the injury covering the plate on his wild pitch in the three-run first.

Now the Rockies (28-30), who were a season-high eight games above .500 four weeks ago, are left to try to avoid their second straight sweep at the hands of a last-place club, first a weekend series at Cleveland and now against a National League West competitor.

"I think we caught Cleveland at a bad time -- they had just got swept and now they've beat up on Boston," said Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who went 2-for-5 and drove in two runs to bring his team-high total to 40. "They're playing good baseball.

"The Diamondbacks have fought their way back. They started off awful but they're starting to get hot and playing good baseball. Those guys still have some fight in them."

The Rockies had taken an 8-5 lead with four runs in the seventh. But Brothers (2-4) gave up singles to David Peralta, Ender Inciarte and Chris Owings, with the last of those sending a run home. Gregorius singled, then Brothers walked Gerardo Parra on five pitches.

Nick Masset replaced Brothers and gave up Paul Goldschmidt's game-turning, three-run double.

Brothers has struggled with first batters of innings (.379 on-base percentage). But in the past, he has pitched well with runners on base. That isn't happening either. Also four of the five hitters Brothers faced were left-handed. Last year, he held lefties to a .162 batting average.

It reached the point where manager Walt Weiss was asked if some time at Triple-A Colorado Springs could help.

"I'm not going to talk about Rex's situation right now, as far as his future," Weiss said. "He's just got to keep working through it like all of us do. It's up to us to turn this around, it's up to each guy."

With no specific answers, all Brothers, 26, can do is work.

"It's just taking care of what I can control," he said. "Things will turn around sooner or later. It's just stay the course and be competitive. That's all I can say."

The momentum gone, the game was put out of reach when righty Matt Belisle gave up five runs, including Miguel Montero's three-run homer, in the ninth.

The D-backs had a season road high for runs and knocked 21 hits.

"All the guys just put really good at-bats together, especially the lefties against Brothers, and we came up big," said Montero, who drove in a career-high six runs.

The positives for the Rockies doubled as oddities.

Lyles hasn't pitched beyond five innings in any of his last four starts. But this time Lyles threw three innings while dealing with the pain from the broken hand.

"It was tough; I didn't have anything to pull down on pitching-wise, but we got four innings and I couldn't do much," Lyles said, with his hand in a splint and his eyes filling with tears.

Also, the offense did nothing against D-backs starter Josh Collmenter for the first four innings. Then lefty Franklin Morales, who threw two scoreless innings in his first outing since being removed from the rotation, fought from a 1-2 count to draw a walk on the eighth Collmenter pitch. The inning featured Tulowitzki's two-run double and Michael Cuddyer's two-run single.

Morales will be replaced in the rotation by right-handed prospect Eddie Butler, who is being called up from Double-A Tulsa to start Friday night against the Dodgers at Coors Field. Morales could find himself back in the rotation, although a number of pitchers in the Minors -- lefties Tyler Matzek and Christian Friedrich, and righty Christian Bergman at Colorado Springs, and righty Jon Gray at Tulsa -- also are candidates.

But Morales was what an offense that was on a 7-for-69 skid with runners in scoring position needed.

"'Frankie' was big at that time, coming in and pitching a couple innings from us and, ironically, starting an inning offensively for us," Weiss said. "But obviously the game got away from us late."

The Rockies trailed, 5-4, going into the eighth, but the Rockies took a brief lead DJ LeMahieu's RBI single off Brad Ziegler (2-1) and Owings' one-run error, and Drew Stubbs' pinch-hit single.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb.
Read More: Colorado Rockies, Michael Cuddyer, Rex Brothers, Troy Tulowitzki, Drew Stubbs, Jordan Lyles