DENVER -- The Rockies' Cristhian Adames rolled his eyes and head in disbelief as home-plate umpire Nic Lentz's third-strike call, with the bases loaded, ended the Rockies' 5-3 loss to the Blue Jays on Wednesday at Coors Field.
Nolan Arenado barked his displeasure with shoulders heaving. Manager Walt Weiss strode to the plate and gestured that Lentz should have at least checked with third-base ump Laz Diaz before ending the Rockies' hopes of a winning seven-game homestand and a .500 season record at home.
Wednesday's final scene provided a snapshot of the present Rockies (37-41, third in the National League West) -- frustrated because they can't achieve true progress. And they understand that they can't look to anyone -- certainly not an umpiring crew -- for help with the difficult transition from interesting group of talents to contender.
"Obviously, I was upset, but whatever. … At the end of the day, we probably didn't deserve to win, anyway," Arenado said.
The Rockies went 3-4 by splitting four with the D-backs and dropping 2-of-3 to the Blue Jays. Not that it would have been cause for a parade, but Wednesday's heartbreak left the Rockies' June record at 13-14 for the fifth straight year of sub-.500 ball in the calendar's sixth month.
"We kind of gave this month away," Arenado said. "We had a lot of chances to win close games. We had the lead going into the seventh inning. It's frustrating, but we're in a better position than we were last year. We're getting to the last stretch toward the All-Star break, and hopefully we can play good ball."
After six high-scoring games, the Rockies couldn't take advantage of a fourth straight solid start by lefty rookie Tyler Anderson, who pitched six innings, giving up three runs (two earned) with six strikeouts. The offense managed one run in eight innings against Toronto starter Aaron Sanchez, and the bullpen saw Jordan Lyles in the seventh and Carlos Estevez in the ninth each give up a costly run.
The Rockies had two chances. The game ended after they scored twice in the ninth on RBI doubles from Mark Reynolds and Daniel Descalso, with Adames believing he checked his swing at an inside pitch from closer Roberto Osuna. In the seventh, Ryan Raburn, battling a stomach illness, pinch-hit with the bases loaded, but he grounded into a threat-ending double play.
"The name of the game is winning ballgames -- it doesn't matter if you score one run or 20 runs," Raburn said. "Bullpen and pitching, they were doing well for a while. They've been in a little skid. Both sides of the ball, it happens. You get in little funks."
The struggles are galling because key players are playing well. Leadoff man Charlie Blackmon is hitting .400 (18-for-45) with five home runs in his last 10 games. Arenado is batting .340 during a 12-game hit streak. Carlos Gonzalez went 13-for-26 with three homers and 13 RBIs during the homestand.
In the odd world that belongs to the Rockies, they may be happy leaving Coors. Never mind that they're playing the second-place Dodgers and first-place Giants in three-game sets.
Thursday's off-day gives second baseman DJ LeMahieu (left knee contusion) and rookie shortstop Trevor Story (bruised right middle finger) rest, after they sat Wednesday. They won their last series at Dodger Stadium and split four games their last trip to AT&T Park. Plus, both parks are friendlier to pitchers than Coors.
It's a chance to go from an improving club to a threat.
"We still have a lot of work to do," Gonzalez said. "We're getting close to where we want to be, but you can't be satisfied. There's a lot of games in front of you, so you just continue to grind, and whenever you end up with a loss like today, you shake it off and show up tomorrow and try to win the game."