Frustration boils over in 9th for Blackmon, Rox

August 29th, 2019

DENVER -- It was almost over when the shouting began for the Rockies' .

The Rockies gave up four homers -- two to Xander Bogaerts and one apiece to J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers -- in a 7-4 loss to the Red Sox at Coors Field on Wednesday night. It was the Rockies' eighth loss in the past 10 games, and it was a called third strike by plate umpire Jerry Meals for the first out in the bottom of the ninth that pushed Blackmon over the edge.

Believing the Brandon Workman pitch was outside -- a contention supported by video -- Blackmon spiked his bat to earn an immediate ejection. Blackmon continued his argument, pointing to his own eyes and the pitch location. He slammed his helmet as he exited.

Then manager Bud Black earned the 31st ejection of his managerial career.

It was just the third career ejection for Blackmon, who is batting .316 and prides himself on strike-zone discipline. He has noted in the past that when he disputes a pitch then checks it on video, he is usually correct.

Blackmon, who went 0-for-5, was not present in the clubhouse postgame. But third baseman Nolan Arenado -- like Blackmon, a multi-time All-Star trying to keep up the intensity and preparation in the face of a season that has slipped away -- felt some frustration was good.

"Charlie, he's pretty passionate," said Arenado, who turned in at least five highlight-reel defensive plays and went 2-for-5 with a double. "He doesn't react like that unless he has a reason to. The last thing I expect from Charlie is not to have that fire. His work ethic, his intensity, are second to none. It doesn't matter what our record is. He's going to go out there and compete as hard as he can."

The Rockies' record began collapsing under the weight of wild, long, strange games that didn't go their way in June and July. And now, they're playing with all five original rotation members on the injured list (with Jon Gray, Chad Bettis and Tyler Anderson out for the year), and with younger players used in heightened roles as the Rockies evaluate for the future.

There was youthful good and bad Wednesday:

• Rookie righty , plagued by walks recently, walked just one. He left pitches over the plate for Martinez's two-run, two-out shot in the third and Bogaerts' two-run homer in the fifth, but Lambert took a step forward against a patient and potent lineup.

"The more I get ahead, the better," Lambert said. "I still fell behind a little bit today. That's never good against an offense like that."

• Center fielder stole an out with a 90-mph throw to erase Christian Vazquez's attempt at a double in the fourth inning.

• Daza and second baseman Garrett Hampson exceeded elite speeds on infield RBI hits (Hampson 31.1 feet per second on a fourth-inning squeeze bunt, Daza 30.2 feet per second on a fifth-inning infield single.

• Young relievers Jesus Tinoco, Wes Parsons, and Carlos Estevez each had strong sequences. But Estevez and Parsons (who worked two innings), were stung by homers.

But Blackmon's tirade -- and some solid play from Arenado, Trevor Story (2-for-4 at the start of an experiment at leadoff) and catcher Tony Wolters (2-for-4) -- are ways to keep the tone on chasing wins, not just conducting a two-month tryout camp.

"They outplayed us tonight, hit a couple long balls," Black said. "But how many great plays did Nolan make today? Hampson made a great play to save a run there in the ninth. Daza made a nice throw, Hampson made a nice tag. We're playing hard.

"Our guys are pros. They're going to keep playing, and they're going to keep playing hard."

Lambert said Blackmon's message was heard.

"These guys are coming in here, day in and day out, working," Lambert said. "They want perfection out of the umpires. Charlie wasn't happy, and I loved it."