Rays Stave Off Rockies Rally, Take Series

Jose Caballero of the Rays tagging out Nolan Jones of the Rockies
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Rays 3, Rockies 2

DENVER, Apr. 7 — The Colorado Rockies had a late chance to take the lead but fell short in their rally, dropping their series finale to the Tampa Bay Rays, 3–2, Sunday afternoon.

Rays starting pitcher Ryan Pepiot thwarted the Rockies at every turn. He allowed only three hits, walking none and striking out eleven across six scoreless innings. “It reminded me of what (Rockies starting pitcher Ryan) Feltner did yesterday,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “A good fastball that played today, moved it around the zone. He had a good slider and a good change. Pitched aggressively with the fastball. And he beat us, at times, with the fastball in the strike zone. So that tells me he had a little life to it, and he had enough secondary stuff to keep us off balance.”

Pepiot, who spent the last two seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, outdueled Rockies starting pitcher Dakota Hudson. Hudson also tossed six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out four.

Rockies – Rays Game Summary

For the 16th game in a row, the Rockies’ opponent scored first. It happened with two outs in the top of the second, when Jose Caballero and Austin Shenton cracked consecutive doubles off Hudson. Jose Siri made the lead 2–0 with a follow-up RBI single. In the third, an Isaac Paredes single through a drawn-in infield made it 3–0.

The teams traded zeroes until the bottom of the eighth. Jake Cave opened with a pinch-hit triple to right-center off Phil Maton and scored on a follow-up single by Elias Diaz. Walks by Charlie Blackmon and Ezequiel Tovar loaded the bases with nobody out. In came Shawn Armstrong, who got Ryan McMahon to bounce into a 5–2 fielder’s choice and got Kris Bryant to ground into an inning-ending 6–4–3 double play.

Jones led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk and advanced to second on a groundout. Doyle drove him in with a single to right. That brought up Cave with one out and the tying run on first. After he struck out looking on a pitch that appeared to be inside, Diaz grounded to third for the game-ending out.

What Went Right for the Rockies

Starting Pitching

Hudson gave the Rockies their second straight Quality Start. He allowed three runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out four. His loss goes down as a Tough Loss, meaning he took the loss despite notching a Quality Start. A starting pitcher’s job is to give his team a chance to win, and Hudson certainly did that.

Defense

The Rockies played sound defense. Alan Trejo made a full-extension diving stop at second base, robbing Yandy Diaz of a hit in the top of the seventh. Ryan McMahon corralled a tough hop and fired in time to nab Jose Caballero for the third out of the eighth. With the runner on first, Richie Palacios, going on the pitch, the Rays would have had runners on the corners had McMahon not come up with it. Brenton Doyle robbed Diaz in the ninth, also making a diving stop before gunning him down for the third out.

Relief Pitching

Tyler Kinley and Victor Vodnik both had scoreless outings. Vodnik is the only pitcher in the majors with at least seven innings pitched who has yet to give up a run.

What Went Wrong for the Rockies

Lack of Early Offensive Production

The Rockies only managed three baserunners off Pepiot. They reached base by way of two singles and a double.

Missed Opportunity in the Eighth

The Rockies loaded the bases with nobody out after already scoring a run. But they squandered the opportunity to tie the game or take the lead, losing the runner on third on a fielder’s choice groundout and ending the inning on a ground-ball double play.

Quick Hits

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The Rockies have not won a series since taking three of four from the San Francisco Giants between September 15 and 17, 2023. … This is the fifth consecutive series the Rockies have lost to the Rays, dating back to 2013. … The Rockies streak of 16 games where they have not scored first is the longest in the majors since the 1989 San Francisco Giants had a 16-game streak between June 28 and July 17. … Ryan McMahon (1-for-4) now has a six-game hitting streak and has hit safely in nine of ten games. He is slashing .389/.452/.611 (14-for-36) with two doubles, two homers, seven RBI, five walks, and four runs scored. McMahon is fourth in the NL in both batting average and OBP. Additionally, he is tied for fourth in the NL in hits. … Brenton Doyle cracked multiple hits in back-to-back games, a career first. … Rays first baseman Austin Shenton (2-for-4), with a second-inning double and ninth-inning single, picked up the first two hits of his major league career.

Looking Ahead

Pepiot (1–1) earned the win, with Hudson (0–2) taking the tough loss. Armstrong notched his first save of the season.

Both the Rockies (2–8) and the Rays (5–5) play Monday. The Rays will continue their road trip in Anaheim, California, where they will play the Los Angeles Angels (5–4) in a three-game set. Rays right-hander Zach Eflin (1–1, 5.25 ERA) will face Angels left-hander Tyler Anderson (1–0, 0.00). First pitch will be at 6:38 pm Pacific time.

The Rockies will continue their homestand with a three-game series against the defending NL Champion Arizona Diamondbacks (4–6). Rockies left-hander Kyle Freeland (0–2, 27.00 ERA) will take on Diamondbacks ace right-hander Zac Gallen (2–0, 0.82 ERA). First pitch will be at 6:40 pm Mountain Time.

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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