Rockies miss early chance vs. Wainwright

Rockies miss early chance vs. Wainwright

ST LOUIS -- An ill-fated decision from Charlie Blackmon ended up hurting the Rockies on a Wednesday night when they had no margin for mistakes.

Blackmon tripled off Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright to open the top of the game. But with one out, Blackmon sprinted plateward on Trevor Story's grounder straight to Cards third baseman Matt Carpenter. Blackmon was thrown out, and the Rockies were on their way to a 2-0 loss that ended a five-game win streak.

It was the first time the Rockies were shut out this season, but it's not the first time they've struggled against Wainwright (4-3), who struck out five and pitched around six hits in 6 2/3 innings. Wainwright improved to 8-1 with a 1.33 ERA in 13 career games (nine starts) against Colorado.

With so little history of success, the Rockies couldn't afford to hand Wainwright an out at the plate with a chance at a lead without having taken the field defensively. Blackmon's running mistake occurred with Nolan Arenado, second in the National League with 33 RBIs, on deck.

"I think it was probably just instinct -- he just took off," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "Probably off the bat it looks like it's going to be in that hole there. We got a couple baserunners on after that. Just couldn't get anything across."

Rockies starter Chris Rusin (1-2) wasn't as stingy but came close. A small patch of trouble in the third, which led to Matt Holliday's bouncing two-run double inside the bag at third, was the only blemish in his six innings (six hits, five strikeouts, two walks).

"You live and die by the ground ball when you're a contact pitcher, so you can't really hang your head too much on that," Rusin said. "But I felt good."

Rusin had defensive help -- third baseman Arenado's diving play on Yadier Molina's grounder to start a double play to end the first and snuff a bases-loaded threat, and first baseman Mark Reynolds' glove flip to the plate to foil a squeeze play in the fourth.

Arenado saves a run

But the Rockies missed their chance against Wainwright, who gave them nothing else.

"He pitched well today, but I felt like we could've done better," the Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez said. "He mixed his pitches well. We were chasing the bad pitches, and we got him out of trouble."

The loss, in the second game of a nine-game road stretch against the Cards, Pirates and Red Sox -- contenders all -- highlighted the importance of making the prudent play. But the Rockies have been generally good at that while going 12-9 on the road. 

"No matter where we're playing, we're pretty confident," Story said. "Against good teams like that, we like to take the challenge and see what we can do with it."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.