While the Nuggets were taking care of business in Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Miami Friday night, it was business as usual at Coors Field.
In front of an announced crowd of 32,551, the punchless Rockies lost their fifth straight game and fell for the ninth time in their last 11 outings.
In their 9-6 loss to the Padres, the Rockies were outhit, out-homered, and out-pitched. San Diego slugged five balls over the wall, while Colorado hit one — a 441-foot, two-run blast by Mike Moustakas to right in the eighth off of Nick Martinez.
That brings up an interesting — and if you’re the Rockies, a disconcerting — statistic. Opponents have hit 45 home runs at Coors Field this season, while the Rockies have hit 30. Please don’t tell the Blake St. Bombers.
San Diego pounded lefty Austin Gomber like a piñata: seven runs on 11 hits over four-plus innings. The Rockies, meanwhile, didn’t begin solving veteran right-hander Yu Darvish until their three-run sixth inning, sparked by Elehuris Montero’s two-run, pinch-hit single. Darvish, who won the 100th game of his career, pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on five hits. He struck out six and walked four.
Gomber served up three homers, tying a career-high. Manny Machado lined a two-run homer to right in the first, Trent Grisham led off the second with a homer to left-center, and Gary Sanchez launched a two-run blast to left-center, also in the second.
Gomber now owns a 7.57 ERA and Friday marked his second short start in a row. In his last outing at Kansas City, he departed after just 2 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on six hits while walking three and striking out four. At least Colorado won that game, 6-4.
San Diego’s fourth and fifth homers came off of long reliever Peter Lambert. Fernando Tatis Jr. skied a 425-foot leadoff homer to center in the sixth and Brandon Dixon hit a two-out solo shot in the seventh to put the Padres ahead, 9-4.
Closing time. Manager Bud Black said before Friday night’s game that he was removing right-hander Pierce Johnson from the closer role. Johnson blew a save in Colorado’s 6-4 loss to the Giants Thursday night, giving up three runs in the ninth inning.
Johnson, who grew up in Arvada, signed a one-year, $5 million free-agent contract with Colorado last offseason. He converted his first 11 save chances this season, but he’s blown two saves in a row and owns a 7.50 ERA and a 1.958 WHIP. Opponents were batting .378 (14 for 37) with no runners on base, .313 (10 for 32) with runners in scoring position, and .350 (7 for 20) with RISP and two outs.
“We’re going to take a step back with Pierce and move him earlier in the game,” Black said. “We’ll see how each game plays out.”
The Rockies could turn to right-handers Daniel Bard, Justin Lawrence or Jake Bird, or lefty Brad Hand as their new closer. Black would prefer to have a designated ninth-inning pitcher but did not name which pitcher would take over that role.
Asked if he has a timetable to choose a closer, Black said: “No timetable. Let’s just play it out.”
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