It’s been said that necessity is the mother of invention. You can ask the Rockies about that.
With their starting rotation racked by injuries, the Rockies were forced to use a bullpen game Tuesday night at Coors Field. A sextet of relievers blanked the Astros for eight innings in Colorado’s 4-3 victory.
The six: Tommy Doyle, lefty Fernando Abad, Gavin Hollowell, Pierce Johnson, Daniel Bard and closer Justin Lawrence. Lawrence set the Astros down in order in the ninth for his sixth save.
Colorado snapped a four-game losing streak to the Astros, who had won eight of the last 10 games entering Tuesday night.
Rookie shortstop Ezequiel Tovar, who’s proven worthy of all of the preseason hype, drove in the winning run with a two-out triple off the center-field wall. Tovar drove in C.J. Cron, who reached first when Houston starter Hunter Brown plunked him to open the inning.
Colorado is on a nice roll. It has won three of four games since the All-Star breaking, having taken two of three games from the Yankees over the weekend.
Tuesday marked Colorado’s third bullpen game of the season. Workhouse right-hander Jake Bird got the “start,” but his opening act did not go well. The Astros ripped him for three runs on three hits in the first inning.
Bird plunked Mauricio Dubon with the game’s first pitch and Alex Bregman doubled home Dubon on the fifth pitch. Bird fanned Kyle Tucker and Jose Ubreu before giving up an RBI single to Chas McCormick and an RBI double to Yainer Diaz.
Colorado tied the game in its first at-bat, utilizing Jurickson Profar’s leadoff single, an opposite-field, two-run homer by Kris Bryant and a 461-foot solo homer to center by Ryan McMahon. Bryant’s homer was his eighth and his second in four games. McMahon’s homer was his team-leading 15th.
A pitch clock violation cost Colorado a prime scoring opportunity in the sixth against hard-throwing reliever Ryne Stanek. McMahon led off with an infield single and advanced to third on C.J. Cron’s fluke double to left. It should have been an easy out for Kyle Tucker but he lost the ball in twilight.
Stanek got Elias Diaz to ground out sharply to short, and then Nolan Jones got rung up for strike three on the pitch clock violation. Stanek struck out Tovar to end the inning.
Both teams struggled to hit in the clutch. Houston finished 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on base. The Rockies were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
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