After Senzatela sizzles, 'magic tag' seals W 

Righty goes 7 strong IP before Nuñez, McMahon pull off crucial out in 8th

September 4th, 2021

DENVER -- Everything Rockies third baseman 's glove touches just may be -- dare anyone say -- turning to gold.

With Colorado leading by a run with one out in the eighth and the Braves’ Eddie Rosario trying to steal third, McMahon caught catcher Dom Nuñez’s pinpoint throw with his back to the runner. Then, McMahon made a deft, between-the-legs tag to end the potential rally and preserve the Rockies’ eventual 4-3 victory on Friday at Coors Field.

“It just goes to show another example of Mac playing great defense,” manager Bud Black said. “I mean, what an athletic play -- body control, on the run. Both Dom and Mac had to do the right thing.”

What Rosario did was questionable, because he was already in scoring position. Braves manager Brian Snitker said Rosario was “pushing the envelope a little too much,” but the player saw opportunity.

“I noticed that [Rockies reliever Jhoulys Chacin’s] delivery on those offspeed pitches towards home was a little slower,” Rosario said through an interpreter. “... After watching the replay, I saw it was a great play from the catcher and the third baseman.”

The play also made sure that righty Antonio Senzatela was rewarded for his seven gritty innings, during which he held the Braves to three runs on six hits. It was the fifth straight start that Senzatela went at least six innings and yielded three or fewer runs. This one, however, started inauspiciously. Ozzie Albies drove the second pitch of the game for the first homer Senzatela has yielded since July 1.

“I was like, wow … the last homer I had given up was to [the Cardinals’] Paul Goldschmidt,” Senzatela said. “But it was, like, ‘OK, keep going. This happens.’”

Senzatela threw seven scoreless innings at Dodger Stadium in his previous start. This time, he had to survive several tests from the Braves. But his patented fastball-slider mix produced 11 groundouts, and he didn’t walk a batter.

“I thought he pitched -- really good use of the fastball to both sides of the plate, the slider keeps getting better and better, mixed in a couple curveballs to give them a slower look,” Black said.

Charlie Blackmon homered for the second straight game, in the first inning off Braves starter Huascar Ynoa, and the Rockies grabbed their final lead on C.J. Cron’s RBI single in the sixth.

But after Rosario doubled off Chacín to open the eighth, it took Nuñez’s arm and McMahon’s increasingly magical glove to keep Colorado on top. Carlos Estévez earned the save with his 14th straight scoreless outing.

The Rockies traded Nolan Arenado and his eight straight National League Gold Glove Awards to the Cardinals during the offseason, but McMahon is putting up an argument to keep the glistening trophy in Denver.

Entering the game, McMahon led all MLB defenders with 22 defensive runs saved (according to Fangraphs) and a 2.6 defensive wins above replacement (Baseball-Reference). His 14 DRS at third led the Majors, and in significant (but less) time at second base, he was fourth in the Majors with eight DRS.

“I got too excited -- Nunez made a really good throw and Mac made a magic tag over there,” Senzatela said.