DENVER -- Early hits and solid relief work helped the Tigers defeat the Rockies, 4-3, on Monday night at Coors Field, picking up their sixth win in their past 22 games.
The Tigers pounced on Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela, tallying four runs and six hits in his 3 2/3 innings. Nicholas Castellanos led the charge with three RBIs, all of which came against the Rockies' rookie. Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann navigated through five innings, after which the bullpen tossed four scoreless and shut down multiple Rockies opportunities.
• Senzatela labors with command
Despite a 3-for-4 night from Jonathan Lucroy, including his first home run with the club, the Rockies missed a chance to gain ground in the playoff hunt. They fell two back of the D-backs, who were off Monday, for the top National League Wild Card spot. The Brewers also were idle, shaving the Rockies' cushion for a postseason berth to three games.
"The pace of the game and the way the scoring was going, I was a little worried it was going to be one of those back-and-forth Coors Field battles," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "Around the fourth it kind of settled down. There wasn't much offense, and the pitching got better. Zimm got through five. And big outings from the bullpen. ... It's not easy to close out one-run games in this ballpark."
• Tigers lose Miggy in 5th with back tightness
Ian Desmond returned from a calf injury and started in left field after Carlos Gonzalez was scratched with a sore left ankle. Desmond went 2-for-4 with a run, even legging out an infield single in the fifth.
"I felt good, I get to do what I love again," Desmond said. "I would've liked to come through with the runner on first and no outs in the seventh, but all you can do is try." More >>
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Stumpf-ed: Trailing 4-3 in the sixth, the Rockies had a big chance to retake the lead. Nolan Arenado, who entered Monday hitting .406 with runners in scoring position, came up with the bases loaded and one out. But Tigers reliever Warwick Saupold got Arenado to fish on a 90-mph slider out of the zone, and Daniel Stumpf got the next batter, Gerardo Parra, swinging. The Rockies have struggled with RISP all month and went 1-for-7 Monday.
"We're getting hits, but we're not getting the key hits at the right time," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "That's the thing that's been eluding our offense. We're getting guys there with the lineup that we have, but we're not getting the hits with the same guys."
Castellan-Yes: Castellanos' biggest hit of the night came in the third inning. He drove a two-run triple into the left-field corner as the Tigers took a 4-3 lead they wouldn't relinquish. Castellanos' three-base knock came after the Rockies had scored three in the second to take a 3-2 advantage. Senzatela walked the two batters right before Castellanos, earning himself a mound visit from Black.
"He swung the ball well, got some big hits," Ausmus said of Castellanos' 3-for-4, three-RBI night. "He even hit the ball hard when he made outs." More >>
"I haven't seen a ton of [DJ LeMahieu]. Those two plays were Gold Glove plays. Now I know why he won a Gold Glove. Especially the double play -- that took the wind right out of our sails. -- Ausmus, on LeMahieu's diving play to his right to nearly foil Castellanos' infield single in the fifth and his diving play with a flip to short for a rally-killing double play in the seventh
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Since Aug. 6 vs. the Phillies, the Rockies are hitting .200 with runners in scoring position. That mark was fourth-lowest in MLB entering Monday.
Tigers:Michael Fulmer makes his Coors Field debut Tuesday (8:40 p.m. ET) as he faces the Rockies for the first time. Fulmer went six innings in his last start, giving up five runs (four earned) to the Yankees on five hits with three walks while striking out three. Following his Rookie of the Year season in 2016, Fulmer is third in the American League this season with 18 quality starts.
Rockies: Colorado sends rookie German Marquez (10-5, 4.18 ERA) to the hill Tuesday at 6:40 p.m. MT in his first career start against the Tigers. Marquez pitched well in his last start, holding the Royals to two runs in six innings at Kauffman Stadium last Thursday. In four starts vs. AL clubs, Marquez has given up six runs in 24 total innings. Preview >>
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