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Senzatela's gem, 4-run third keep Rox on pace

September 22, 2018

PHOENIX -- During the tough early days of this road trip, the Rockies stuck with the formula of trying to overpower the opposition with pitching. It's a format Antonio Senzatela likes.Senzatela held the D-backs to one run and three hits in seven innings as the Rockies -- fighting to keep

PHOENIX -- During the tough early days of this road trip, the Rockies stuck with the formula of trying to overpower the opposition with pitching. It's a format Antonio Senzatela likes.
Senzatela held the D-backs to one run and three hits in seven innings as the Rockies -- fighting to keep pace in the National League postseason race -- beat the D-backs, 5-1, at Chase Field on Saturday night.
The victory merely kept the Rockies from losing ground. They're still 1 1/2 games behind the National League West-leading Dodgers and the same deficit behind the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot. The Dodgers beat the Padres, 7-2, and the Cardinals beat the Giants, 5-4, in 10 innings on Saturday.
"I think it was a big game for us," Senzatela said. "For morale, it would be a good game for the team to win. It was my best outing."

Senzatela (6-6) didn't give up a hit until A.J. Pollock's two-out homer in the fifth. Not even leadoff hits by Alex Avila in the sixth and Eduardo Escobar in the seventh fazed Senzatela, 23, who garnered all four of his strikeouts before the Pollock homer. Senzatela did it economically, on 75 pitches -- 50 of them fastballs.
"He's a fastball pitcher, with the complement of a good change and a breaking ball," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "He's an aggressive pitcher who attacks. He did that tonight. They were aggressive on the other side. When you have an aggressive pitcher and you're getting attacked, there are going to be some quick outs if you make your pitches."

Outside of Jon Gray's two-inning, six-run debacle in Monday's 8-2 loss to the Dodgers, Rockies starters have posted a 2.68 ERA through the first eight games of a road trip that concludes Sunday. Senzatela followed German Marquez's 11-strikeout performance in Friday night's 6-2 victory over the D-backs. Kyle Freeland pitches Sunday.
"We do like that," Senzatela said. "German passed to me, 'Let's go, let's get them tomorrow,' and I passed to Freeland, 'Let's go, get them tomorrow. He'll pass to 'Andy' [Tyler Anderson] and Gray.'"
The Rockies' offense was the main culprit in a 1-5 start to the trip. On Saturday, the Rockies blew a bases-loaded opportunity against previously hot D-backs starter Patrick Corbin (11-7) in the first inning on Ian Desmond's bases-loaded double-play grounder.

But when Desmond walked to load the bases in the third, Chris Iannetta -- who in his previous at-bat singled to end an 0-for-19 skid -- lashed a two-run single that started a four-run frame, chasing Corbin. David Dahl and Garrett Hampson added RBI singles
"We need to get it done, no matter how we get it, whether it's with no outs, one or two -- we just need to get wins," said Iannetta, who also drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk from Brad Boxberger in the ninth.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hampson, a rookie filling in at shortstop while Trevor Story tries to work his way back from right elbow inflammation, made two key plays in the sixth -- a backhand stab of a liner from pinch-hitter Socrates Brito with one out and one on, and a grab of a hard Jonathan Jay grounder to start an inning-ending double play.
Starting in the fifth with Paul Goldschmidt's hard liner that Charlie Blackmon slid to grab in center, the D-backs began making harder contact. Hampson's plays helped prevent rallies.
"We got some fortunate luck there with a couple hard-hit balls, but that just keeps him [Senzatela] confident," Hampson said.

After a one-hit seventh, which saw Goldschmidt hit a fly to center that could have gone a lot farther if squared up, Black went to Adam Ottavino and Wade Davis for perfect innings.
SOUND SMART
Ottavino's strikeout of Pollack in the eighth was his 107th of the season, which tied Curtis Leskanic (1995) for the Rockies' relief record.
HE SAID IT
"Sometimes it's good, and sometimes it's stressful, in all honesty. I was waiting for them to finally make an adjustment. But he has a really good fastball, and not many teams can make an adjustment." -- Iannetta, on catching Senzatela, who lives mostly on his fastball

UP NEXT
Freeland (15-7, 2.95 ERA) hopes to continue his push toward Cy Young Award consideration when he starts for the Rockies in the series finale against the D-backs and righty Zack Godley (14-10, 4.79) on Sunday at 2:10 p.m. MT. Freeland is 6-0 with a 2.35 ERA in his last nine starts. In his career at Chase Field, Freeland is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA and the Rockies have won all three of his starts.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.