Rockies heat up offensively, unable to hold off Reds

Rockies heat up offensively, unable to hold off Reds

Rockies heat up offensively, unable to hold off Reds
DENVER -- One night after a tame offensive showing, the Rockies and Reds put on a good old-fashioned Coors Field slugfest on Saturday, combining for 16 runs and 22 hits.

On the bottom end of the 9-7 score, their 10th loss since the All-Star break, the Rockies must be thinking this trend -- the club is 36-31 when scoring three or more runs -- is getting pretty old.

"[We] scored seven, got [13] hits, didn't commit any errors, played good defense," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "But we gave up too many runs."

Said Reds manager Dusty Baker, "It's always old Coors here. Last night [Reds won, 3-0] isn't going to happen too often. You know if you got a shutout on Friday, Saturday you're going to have to hit, especially when you come here."

Michael Cuddyer hit a home run for the Rockies but the Reds smacked five -- three off Rockies starter Christian Friedrich -- to validate Coors Field's reputation as the best launching pad in the Majors. The ballpark, a mile above sea level, has seen 146 homers, one more than Yankee Stadium.

Such distinction has largely been at the expense of the Rockies pitching staff, which entered the day with the Majors' worst ERA and fewest innings pitched. Friedrich's seven runs allowed in 4 1/3 innings didn't do anything to correct that.

"It's just a matter of being consistent and keeping balls down," said Friedrich, who has a 6.30 ERA in July. "If you leave them up, they'll leave the yard."

Cuddyer's two-run blast -- nearly snagged by left fielder Ryan Ludwick -- in the seventh inning off reliever Jose Arredondo brought the Rockies to within a run, but Wilin Rosario struck out and Jordan Pacheco flied out to right to end the inning.

The fourth home loss in a row, played in front of 42,826, drops the Rockies to 20-31 at home.

"A loss is a loss," Todd Helton said. "We're a team. We've got to score more runs than the other team and we didn't do that tonight."

The way the game began, it didn't look like the Rockies would have a problem doing that. They finished the first inning with a 3-0 lead, thanks to hits by the first four batters in the lineup, including a two-run single by Carlos Gonzalez.

Their lead was erased after Friedrich surrendered solo shots to Ludwick, Todd Frazier and Drew Stubbs, but the Rockies responded with another run off Reds starter Johnny Cueto in the third.

But Friedrich (5-8) just couldn't keep any lead his offense provided before giving way in the fifth inning after Stubbs plated a run with a single up the middle. The lefty gave up just six hits, the second time in his career he's been tagged for more hits than runs.

"It's really difficult to be successful when you're removing a starting pitcher before 15 outs have been recorded," Tracy said. "That's a helluva lot of work for the bullpen."

Josh Roenicke came on in relief to face Brandon Phillips, who knocked a two-run double to dead center. Roenicke also gave up a solo homer to Scott Rolen in the sixth inning.

The Rockies had the bases loaded in the bottom of the frame, but Cueto (13-5) got Dexter Fowler to chop into a force at third base to end the inning.

"It was not an easy night but thank God I did my job," Cueto said via an interpreter. "At least I did it."

A scoring window in the bottom of the eighth inning, when DJ LeMahieu led off with a double, was quickly closed. LeMahieu moved to third on Eric Young's flyout to center but was stranded as Josh Rutledge popped up to second and Gonzalez struck out swinging against Sean Marshall.

It was a favorable matchup for Gonzalez, who's now 4-for-5 against Marshall in his career.

"We found ourselves in [good] situations," Tracy said. "But the opportunity was there for us to do more."

For many clubs, scoring seven runs -- the most the Rockies have scored in their past six games -- would be more than enough.

"We had a very solid game offensively," Tracy said. "But there's very little else you can do."

Trey Scott is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.