Bullpen has rare stumble in loss

Bullpen has rare stumble in loss

CINCINNATI -- You know how good the Rockies' bullpen has been all year? It was that bad Saturday in a 12-8 loss to the Reds

Chad Qualls, Mike Dunn and Scott Oberg all were hit hard as the bullpen surrendered an 8-4 lead. The trio combined to pitch three innings and allowed eight runs on seven hits, including two home runs. 

The Rockies had converted 20 of 22 saves coming in and they were 23-0 when leading after six innings. 

It appeared as though Colorado had put this one away with six runs in the fifth. 

"When you put up a big number like that, you want to keep the lead obviously," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "Today was a rare occurrence. This hasn't happened. It's one of these days where they strung together hits. They found some holes.

"It's baseball. A baseball game was played. They hit some homers in the sixth inning themselves and crawled back into the game with their bats."

Qualls, the right-handed veteran, started the sixth. He gave up a home run to Devin Mesoraco to start the inning. Scooter Gennett followed with a single. Billy Hamilton lined out on a fine play by center fielder Charlie Blackmon.

Blackmon's diving catch

After Qualls walked Zack Cozart, Black brought in lefty Mike Dunn to face Joey Votto. Votto walked. Adam Duvall singled to get in a run. Eugenio Suarez got another run in with sacrifice fly.

It was still an 8-7 game, but Scott Schebler hit a rocket out to right to make it 10-8.

Oberg gave up two more in the seventh. 

Before Saturday's meltdown, Rockies relievers had a 2.04 ERA on the road over 70 2/3 innings. They had only walked 22 and struck out 74. 

"We shot ourselves in the foot with a couple of walks," Black said. "You can't do that."

John Fay is a contributor to MLB.com based in Cincinnati and covered the Rockies on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.