One bad inning sinks strong Rusin start

One bad inning sinks strong Rusin start

DENVER -- It seemed for once during this long, dry home stretch for the Rockies, momentum would come from the right person -- starting pitcher Chris Rusin. The previous six home starts produced a 9.00 ERA, but Rusin held the D-backs scoreless for the first five innings on Tuesday night.

But while Rusin was thriving, the offense was sinking into its own slump. Then Rusin coughed up four sixth-inning runs, and the Rockies would lose, 5-1, to run the Coors Field losing streak to seven games.

"It's always good to get them off the field quick so they can get in there and stay in their routine, get in their hitting routine or whatever," Rusin said. "We're just getting some tough breaks and sooner or later, it'll start falling for us."

It's the longest home skid since 2012, when they dropped seven straight July 17-Aug. 1. The club record home skein is nine games, at old Mile High Stadium in the inaugural year of 1993, July 25-Aug. 18. The Rockies are one game off the longest losing streak at Coors Field, Sept. 15, 2011-April 9, 2012.

Rusin (1-1) suffered through his second straight frustrating outing. At San Francisco on Friday, the Rockies scored a club-record 13 runs in the fifth inning but Rusin didn't make it through the bottom of the fifth, and Christian Bergman vultured the decision in a 17-7 Rockies victory. For a while, Tuesday looked similar to Rusin's May 1 performance, when he held the D-backs to one hit in five innings of his first start of the season.

"I thought he was throwing the ball really well," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "In the sixth, he didn't throw the ball bad. We got a few ground balls that had eyes, but even Tony [Wolters, the Rockies' catcher] said it, he was still making good pitches at that point. but they manufactured a few runs."

Some of the hits off Rusin in the sixth found holes. Nick Ahmed's single to the right side, with the deficit at 1-0, was through a drawn-in infield with runners at second and third. But the two most damaging hits, Welington Castillo's leadoff double and Chris Owings' one-out, RBI double, came when Rusin attempted to bust them inside but left the ball over the middle.

"I let that leadoff man get on, get aboard with that leadoff double and that kind of started things," Rusin said. "And then I made one more mistake that cost me some runs, and I wasn't able to get that third out. It's frustrating because things were going good, and especially after the tough outing my previous outing, I just couldn't get out of that inning, which really stinks."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.