Rockies display blueprint for success in 8-0 defeat of Arizona

Rockies display blueprint for success in 8-0 defeat of Arizona

Rockies display blueprint for success in 8-0 defeat of Arizona

If the Rockies could draw up a blueprint for success in 2021, it would look like their 8-0 victory over Arizona on Wednesday night at chilly Coors Field.

Right-hander Antonio Senzatela, who was off his game in his first start of the season against the Dodgers, looked like the “Senza” from 2020, when he was Colorado’s most consistent starter.

He tossed the Rockies’ only complete game in 2020, and he flirted with another one Wednesday. He smothered Arizona batters for eight scoreless innings, allowing only four hits. He struck out only three, but then, Ks aren’t a big part of his game anyway.

Inducing groundball outs, however, has become Senzatela’s forte. He got 15 of them Wednesday night, including a double play in the first inning. He threw 96 pitches, 62 for strikes.

“He had a really good slider, got a lot of grounders and kept our infield busy,” manager Bud Black said. “He set the tone. And we just kept on the attack both at the plate and on the mound. Good game for the Rockies.”

Against the Dodgers, Senzatela was gone after just 3 1/3 innings, having given up seven earned run on nine hits. The Dodgers teed off on fastballs over the plate, but Senzatela learned his lesson and he kept the Diamondbacks off-balance.

“The slider tonight was a good pitch,” the right-hander said. “I think we did a good job tonight, just pitch by pitch, and the guys did a really good job tonight on defense.”

The one glitch in the near-perfect evening for the Rockies was the right-leg injury suffered by valuable utility player Chris Owings, who got the start in right field. Black called the injury “hamstring tightness,” but didn’t think it was a big deal.

“We were being cautious by taking him out of the game,” Black said. “It tightened up a little bit. We don’t think it’s a strain, maybe just a little bit of a cramp. Hopefully, it will resolve itself overnight, and with some treatment. But he had a wonderful night.”

Before departing the game prior to the sixth inning, Owings hit 3-for-3, raising his season average to .500 (7-for-14).

Colorado, which pulled out of its four-game losing skid, played its best game of the young season and put together the type of offense Black preached about throughout spring training. That is: timely hitting, speed on the basepaths and moving runners along.

Garrett Hampson, a right-handed batter placed in the leadoff spot against Arizona lefty Madison Bumgarner, went 2-for-3 with two walks, stole a career-high three bases and scored three runs.

He got a pre-game boost from his mom, Marjie Hampson, who saw that her son was leading off.

“My mom texted me today,” Hampson said. “She said, ‘Leadoff!! Be aggressive.’ I took it to heart. When mom tells me to do something, I’m going to listen. So, I just had that mindset going in. She’ll probably take all of the credit for this one.”

Black loved the energy that Hampson infused in the lineup and said that Hampson will lead off again Thursday afternoon against the Diamondbacks in the finale of the three-game series.

“We saw a little bit of that last year from him, playing for a nice little stretch for about two weeks at the top of the order, creating a lot of havoc for the opposing team,” Black said. “He puts pressure on the defense, there’s no doubt about it.

“Games like this, they’re being watched by other National League teams. They know that he could be a pest. And that’s sort of the message that I’ve sent to him about how his game plays in the majors.”

The Rockies’ two-run fourth inning provided an example of what they would like to do going forward. Yonathan Daza led off with a single (his first hit of the season) and moved to second on Senzatela’s perfect, two-strike sacrifice bunt. Daza sprinted home on Hampson’s single, and then Owings plated Hampson with a double.

Owings put on quite a show before he was injured.

He lashed an RBI triple in the first to score Hampson, doubled and scored a run in the third, and then hit the double that scored Hampson. Add on Owings’ diving catch in right field to rob Carson Kelly of a hit in the fifth and it illustrated why Black was so eager for the Rockies to re-sign Owings in the offseason.

Bumgarner, meanwhile, looked like a shadow of the pitcher who used to dominate hitters when he was the San Francisco Giants’ ace. The Rockies ripped him for five runs on eight hits in five innings and his ERA sits at 11.00 after two starts. Bumgarner, who signed a five-year, $85 million contract with Arizona in December 2019, was 1-4 with a 6.48 ERA in nine starts last season.

Rockies display blueprint for success in 8-0 defeat of Arizona