DENVER -- The Rockies faced the D-backs in a tense September game Tuesday, but it felt like October. The Rockies managed three runs against Arizona ace Zack Greinke, but missed opportunities in the late innings kept Colorado from adding to its 42 comeback wins as a 6-3 loss evened the
DENVER -- The Rockies faced the D-backs in a tense September game Tuesday, but it felt like October. The Rockies managed three runs against Arizona ace Zack Greinke, but missed opportunities in the late innings kept Colorado from adding to its 42 comeback wins as a 6-3 loss evened the series.
With the second-place Dodgers losing their second straight game to the Reds, the Rockies maintained their 1 1/2-game lead in the National League West, but third-place Arizona pulled within 2 1/2 games in the division race that gets tighter by the day as Colorado eyes its first division title in the franchise's 26-year history.
Arizona jumped on Rockies right-hander Antonio Senzatela right out of the gate, with David Peralta going deep to center with a two-run shot -- his 27th homer of the season -- to put Colorado into a familiar first-inning hole.
"Antonio was solid," manager Bud Black said. "They nicked him for two runs in the first inning. It looked like he missed on a fastball to Peralta for the homer. ... Then he put up some zeros, looked to be in control."
The Rockies bounced back quickly in the bottom of the frame, with Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado lacing a pair of doubles off Greinke to score one run and bring hot-hitting Trevor Story to the plate with two outs.
Story knocked a run-scoring double down the left-field line, plating Arenado and tying the game at 2. It was Story's 100th RBI of the season and his 40th double to go with his 32 homers, making him the first National League shortstop in history with at least 100 RBIs, 30 homers and 40 doubles.
"It means a lot," Story said. "I wish I could have enjoyed it a little more with a win. But it means a lot. I had a bad year last year. To come back and play the way I want to is big for me."
• Story makes SS history with 40th 2B, 100th RBI
Senzatela's line was shy of a quality start, but four runs on seven hits and a pair of walks over six innings was enough to keep the game close. The 23-year-old righty has had a solid second half, but the rotation's dropoff after Kyle Freeland, German Marquez and Jon Gray has been a factor in preventing the Rockies from creating some distance between themselves and the two teams breathing down their neck.
"He pitched well, two runs into his last inning and then two outs and two strikes on Paul Goldschmidt," Black said, referencing the sixth inning, when the D-backs added two runs in a two-out rally. "Goldy got a double with two outs, and then the chopper -- bad break, that's baseball -- and a pitch down and in looked to be a ball to Marte and he sort of golfed it down the right-field line [for a two-run single]. But he pitched well. He kept us in the game. He held his own with Greinke. Hard fought both sides."
Greinke's ability to quiet an offense that scored 13 runs the night before by changing speeds and keeping them off balance highlighted the inconsistent output from a potent Rockies lineup. The Rockies managed just five hits through six innings, then were shut out over the final three innings despite four hits and two walks.
"We haven't been clicking on all cylinders like we feel we can," Story said. "Obviously, it's a hard game, and it's not always going to be like that. I think it's all about how you play when you're not playing your best. Hopefully, we get some wins that way, too."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rockies can't cash in: Trailing, 4-3, the Rockies had a chance to take their first lead in the seventh. Pinch-hitter Matthew Holliday got the rally going and knocked Greinke from the game with a two-out double off the right-field fence -- just inches from clearing the wall for a game-tying homer.
Andrew Chafin took over for Greinke and walked pinch-hitter Chris Iannetta and Blackmon to load the bases, but D-backs manager Torey Lovullo went to Brad Ziegler, who retired DJ LeMahieu on an inning-ending grounder to second.
HE SAID IT
"We had a lot of chances. Tonight we didn't get the big hit. Obviously we're trying to get the big hit, trying to knock runs in, but they made some pitches when they needed to. Seems as though the outs they got on those situations were good quality pitches. They executed some pitches down in the strike zone or on the corners, on the edges, which makes it tough to get base hits. At times, you have to give the opposition pitching a little credit." -- Black
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
A call overturned by the replay official prolonged a rally that ultimately added a pair of insurance runs to the D-backs tally. With the typically lights-out Adam Ottavino on the mound in the eighth, A.J. Pollock was called out at first on a grounder to short. The D-backs challenged, and the call was overturned, putting runners on first and third with one out. Pollock stole second and then scored on Ketel Marte's two-run single.
"A weird play by me on the field, one I wish I'd been a little quicker with and maybe that inning goes a little different," Story said. "I try to play with my instincts. I thought about throwing to third and I just didn't get it to first quick enough."
Gray gets the nod for Game 3 of the four-game set with the D-backs, facing left-hander Patrick Corbin at 6:40 p.m. MT on Wednesday at Coors Field. Gray has been hot and cold lately, and he struggled with command Friday against the Dodgers. He allowed two runs on four hits in four innings and left with the game tied because five walks had his pitch count up to 85.
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver.