MILWAUKEE -- Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta snapped his bat across his right thigh. Center fielder Charlie Blackmon flipped his bat and helmet in frustration. Ian Desmond, left standing at third in the seventh -- after Iannetta and Matthew Holliday struck out and Blackmon lined out -- grimaced and left the
MILWAUKEE -- Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta snapped his bat across his right thigh. Center fielder Charlie Blackmon flipped his bat and helmet in frustration. Ian Desmond, left standing at third in the seventh -- after Iannetta and Matthew Holliday struck out and Blackmon lined out -- grimaced and left the field.
The reactions, whether extreme or understated, summed up the lament of a team hoping to go home and find its offense. The Rockies dropped a 4-0 decision to the Brewers on Friday afternoon at Miller Park to fall behind, 2-0, in the National League Division Series.
The Rockies, shut out for the first time in their postseason history, will try to avoid elimination Sunday afternoon at Coors Field. It's the Rockies' first home postseason game since Oct. 12, 2009, when the Phillies took a 5-4 victory to eliminate Colorado from the NLDS, 3-1.
:: NLDS schedule and results ::
"Teams can go on streaks," said Iannetta, who says he has snapped bats before -- just not in front of packed stands or a national television audience. "The Brewers have won 10 in a row, and we've won nine or 10 in a row. It has happened before. But we've gotta start hitting. Some of it is us missing pitches, some of it is the Brewers' pitching staff is really good."
The best that could be said about the six-hit performance is it put a merciful end to a week in which the Rockies bounced about the country but picked up just six runs in four games -- the NL West tiebreaker loss to the Dodgers, the 2-1 win over the Cubs in a 13-inning NL Wild Card Game and the two NLDS games with the Brewers.
"It's been a whirlwind of a week, that's for sure," said shortstop Trevor Story, who earned NL MVP Award attention during the regular season but has seen old pitch-chasing habits return while going 0-for-8 with five strikeouts in two NLDS games. "We're looking forward to getting back to Denver."
Only consecutive doubles in the fourth from Mike Moustakas and Hernan Perez swung this game to the Brewers, who haven't exactly dominated offensively either. Lefty starter Tyler Anderson, in his first postseason start and second postseason appearance, held the Brewers to the one run on four hits, with five strikeouts. Moustakas added an RBI single and Erik Kratz a two-run single in the eighth.
The Rockies spent much of this season battling, and at times overcoming, their history of weak road performances. They won a club-record 44 road games.
But now they need Coors Field more than ever.
In the history of five-game series with the 2-2-1 format, teams that win Games 1 and 2 at home have gone on to take the series 24 of 27 times (89 percent). However, just last year, the Indians lost to the Yankees in the American League Division Series after grabbing a 2-0 lead in Cleveland. And the Rockies' own recent history sheds some light.
In their last two regular-season homestands, during which they went 7-3 and 6-1, they posted team OPS figures of 1.059 and .962, respectively. They averaged 6.3 and 8.3 runs in those two homestands. But there is no margin for error now -- the Rockies have to take both games to keep the series alive and force a Game 5 back in Milwaukee.
"I think playing at home can get us going," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "We still need to do what we have to do to win. We've got to pitch well and we have to swing the bats. We have pitched well here, but we haven't swung the bats."
On Friday, the Rockies managed only three scoring chances. Nolan Arenado singled and Carlos Gonzalez walked against Brewers starter and one-time Rockies stalwart Jhoulys Chacin, but Story swung over a Chacin slider for a strikeout.
With runners at first and second in the third, Chacin fanned Arenado -- "I don't really remember it, I just know I struck out on three pitches with men on first and second, and it wasn't a good at-bat," Arenado said. Chacin, who gave up three hits and three walks but struck out three, then worked a weak grounder from Gonzalez.
In the seventh, Desmond beat out an infield hit against Joakim Soria, then stole second and took third on Kratz's wild throw. But Soria fanned Iannetta and Holliday on three pitches apiece.
"I fouled two pitches off, then I got a slider over the middle of the plate that I thought I was on, but I was obviously out in front -- it was slower than I thought it was," Iannetta said.
The Brewers went to Josh Hader, and Blackmon lined the second pitch at 95 mph but right to second baseman Travis Shaw. The Rockies managed two hits but fanned three times -- to bring their Friday total to 10 and their two-game tally to 22.
"The story of the series so far is how we've pitched," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
ANDERSON ACCOUNTS FOR HIMSELF WELL
Solid work in his final three regular-season starts earned Anderson the opportunity on Friday. A key to his solid outing was holding NL MVP front-runner Christian Yelich and longtime star Ryan Braun to one walk, with five flyouts and a strikeout (of Braun) in six plate appearances.
Anderson worked up, and at times just above, the strike zone.
"I do my best work when I'm in and out and up and down," Anderson said. "So this is a team that likes the ball down -- a lot of their guys like the ball down. So we were going to go hard, and going up is the best way to get, if not a swing and miss, then some very weak contact."
Not only had the Rockies not been shut out in the postseason before Friday, but they had never been blanked at Miller Park. That's 60 combined regular-season and postseason games.
HE SAID IT
"That's a combination of aggressiveness and anxiousness. Part of it might be the moment." -- Black
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Desmond has gone 1-for-8 in the series. But after Thursday's tricky move to bait Yelich into an out, Desmond added another heady defensive play Friday. With runners at first and third and a run in, Anderson made a pickoff throw to first and Shaw dashed toward second. Instead of dealing with that, Desmond spotted Perez dancing toward the plate. After a pump fake, Desmond whipped a throw to Arenado at third, and third-base umpire Alfonso Marquez ruled Perez out.
The Brewers challenged, but the call stood because Arenado's right foot blocked the hand of Perez as it reached toward the base.
Righty German Marquez (14-11, 3.77 ERA in regular season) will try to keep the Rockies' hopes alive Sunday at 2:37 p.m. MT, when he faces the Brewers and lefty Wade Miley (5-2, 2.57) at Coors Field. The Rockies will be looking to extend the series to Monday, when lefty Kyle Freeland -- a Denver native -- is slated to start.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page.