Rockies tie record after ending no-hit bid

April 3rd, 2021

DENVER -- The Rockies tied a club record, broke up a no-hitter and severely skewed the numbers of two Cy Young Award winners, all in a bizarre, Coors Field bottom of the seventh inning on Friday night. The Rockies hit four homers in the frame, something they’d done only once before in 1999, but it wasn’t enough in an 11-6 loss to the Dodgers.

Trevor Bauer entered the frame having given up no hits and feeling every Dodger Blue cent of his three-year, $102 million contract. He faced five batters. Two of them, (after ’s leadoff single) and , parked two-run homers. Bauer took the mound that inning nearly perfect, and trudged off with a 5.68 ERA.

David Price’s Cy Young Award win was long ago, in 2012 with the Rays. and introduced him to Coors with solo homers to cut the difference to 10-6.

“We showed a lot of life there in the seventh,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “But we just fell too far behind and it was a tough row to hoe there -- down 10-0, but I’m proud of our guys the way we came back and made it a four-run game.”

Fair play to Price after that harrowing introduction in his return, after deciding not to play in the pandemic-affected 2020 season. Price survived 1 2/3 innings and kept the game from getting any wilder.

Blackmon, McMahon, Nuñez and Hilliard matched the feat of Henry Blanco, Neifi Perez, Dante Bichette and Angel Echevarria on June 6, 1999, against the Brewers -- also at Coors.

A rather large cat interrupted Price’s eighth by racing into the outfield and grabbing the best seat of the house, in dead center. After the delay, McMahon singled.

“I didn’t think it was a cat -- it looked bigger than a cat at first,” McMahon said. “It might have helped me out -- might’ve slowed Price down a little bit and helped me crush a hit.”

But the Rockies’ extra life ended when Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager snared ’s line drive and doubled McMahon off first.

By the time of the Rockies’ homer barrage, the Dodgers were well ahead after scoring seven runs on nine hits in just 3 1/3 innings against Rockies starter . They finished with 16 hits, none of them homers.

While the seventh inning was grounds for encouragement, the Rockies are left to determine if the first six are cause for concern.

After an uncommonly weak offensive performance in 2020, the theme of Rockies Spring Training was to be ready to hit the fastballs that they missed at an alarming rate last season. Well, Bauer, whose only experience at Coors was not good (four earned runs in 3 1/3 innings), decided he wasn’t scared to make a ball break. The Rockies choked on his diet of sliders and cutters.

“I don’t know if it was necessarily, ‘I wish he’d throw me a fastball,’ but we definitely were talking about it,” McMahon said. “He does a good job playing with that shape. He can make it go straight sideways, straight down. He’s a talented pitcher, so we were trying to get as much information as we could and do our best with what we had.”

The lineup was sprinkled with players with long track records, such as Story, Blackmon, and , but also had lesser-experienced players trying to meet the challenge of making Major League adjustments. They all struggled for six innings.

“We know that [Bauer] pitches with the fastball top of the zone, pitches away with the fastball, but tonight, he threw a lot of breaking balls,” Black said. “So you have to adjust. We just didn't really adjust until the latter part of the game.”

The Rockies know they can’t be content with fighting to the end alone. The challenge is learning how to make adjustments sooner in order to win even games that look bleak early.

“Obviously, we want to win every game,” McMahon said. “That’s the main goal. It doesn’t matter how you get there. That’s a positive thing we can build off of. Now, we know when we are down, it can turn quick. So let’s just stay on it, keep grinding.”