It was a perfect night for baseball in LoDo.
Nice sunset, a gentle breeze that cooled temperatures to the upper-70s by the sixth inning, and a lively Star Wars night crowd of 45,085 at Coors Field.
The only thing missing was quality baseball from the home team.
The Rockies were pounded, 11-3, by Oakland, owners of the worst record in the majors. The Rockies, owners of the worst record in the National League, have lost four straight, including an 8-5 loss to the A’s on Friday night.
In what’s become a common theme this season, lack of quality starting pitching — due to injuries and poor organizational depth — gave the Rockies little chance to succeed.
Saturday night, they turned to veteran right-hander Chris Flexen, who entered the game 0-4 with a 7.71 ERA. He was designated for assignment by Seattle earlier this season, then traded to the Mets, who released him July 6. Colorado signed him to a minor league deal July 13.
Flexen was called up from Triple-A for Saturday’s start, but his Rockies debut was such a disaster that Coors Field fans, usually a mild-mannered sort, serenaded him with boos. He gave up six runs (five earned) on four hits in 3 2/3 innings.
But that wasn’t the truly ugly part. Flexen also walked six, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch that scored a run. In addition, Flexen served up two home runs in Oakland’s five-run second inning. Zack Gelof hit a 406-foot solo shot to left and Brent Rooker blasted a two-run, 462-foot homer to left-center.
Meanwhile, Oakland right-hander Paul Blackburn pitched the kind of game that leads to success at Coors. True, he gave up nine hits over his six innings, but he struck out seven, didn’t walk anyone and was charged with two runs. In other words, he rolled with the punches.
The Rockies scored one run in the second, combining Elias Diaz’s double with Michael Toglia’s RBI single. They followed the same script in the third, with Ryan McMahon hitting a double and scoring on C.J. Cron’s single.
Perhaps the most encouraging moment of the night, in the large scheme of things, came when Randal Grichuk hit a solo homer off Tayler Scott in the eighth. Grichuk, a trade candidate, has been showcasing his talent. Saturday’s homer was his eighth of the season and his seventh in his last 22 games. The outfielder is hitting .312 with a .869 OPS.
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