Rockies improve to 5-1 on road trip behind bullpen Antonio Senzatela – Boulder Daily Camera
On a rainy night in Georgia, the resurgence of the Rocky Mountain Highway continued.
They beat the Braves, 3-2, in 10 innings Wednesday at Truist Park to go 5-1 on the current road trip.
Ramiel Tapia’s single down center led Colton Welker with the winning point. Under the extra innings rule, Welker started 10th on second base. He advanced to third place on the field of Dom Nunez in second.
But that victory really belonged to a quintet of Rockies pitching quintet: starter Senzatela and relievers Lucas Gilbreath, Tyler Kinley, Carlos Estevez and Robert Stephenson.
“It was really tough,” Kinley said of a game that was played in constant rain from first to last pitch. “But we kept telling each other – at the start of the game when we saw that the conditions were not going to ease at all – that both sides have to face it. There won’t be a stat line that says, “Oh, it was wet, the ball was slippery or it was raining for six hours.”
“So we were like, ‘You know what? We have to understand this. And if it’s moving, it’s moving and we have to find a way to get through it. Luckily tonight we were able to put some zeros in and help us win the game.
Stephenson pulled two sticks off the bottom of the 10th and got Dansby Swanson to show up to Charlie Blackmon in the shallow right to end the soggy affair which took 4 hours and 16 minutes.
“All the guys that went out there tonight fought and fought,” said Stephenson, who got his first stoppage of the season and reduced his ERA to 3.66. “I wanted to go over there and do the same thing everyone else did.”
Senzatela put in another excellent performance. In fact, it was his seventh consecutive quality start, the longest streak by a Rockies pitcher since Kyle Freeland and German Marquez both made 12 consecutive quality starts in 2018.
Senzatela pitched six innings and likely would have stayed longer, except the score was tied 2-2 when his place came in the batting order in the seventh.
Senzatela allowed two runs on seven hits, struck out seven on strikes and walked none. Of his 88 shots, 67 were thrown for strikes. The right-hander has pitched at least six innings in 12 of his last 14 starts, going 2-4 with a 3.57 ERA. In four career games against Atlanta, he’s 2-0 with a 3.51 ERA.
“The bullpen has performed very well, but don’t forget Senzatela,” said manager Bud Black. “I thought ‘Senza’ had a good fastball tonight. He’s a guy with great conviction in his fast pitch, which I adore. He pitched really well and threw big shots when he needed to. … He was exceptional on the road against a good team.
But make no mistake, the Colorado bullpen carried the torch for Senzatela. In the seventh, struggling right-hander Daniel Bard scored two goals and left-hander Lucas Gilbreath came on and blocked the goals when he walked with Ozzie Albies. But Gilbreath called off the rally by knocking out Jorge Soler for second baseman Brendan Rodgers.
Gilbreath, the rookie left-hander from Legacy High School, threw 15 straight outings without allowing a run. His 14 1/3 innings scoreless streak is currently the fourth longest in the National League.
In the eighth, Kinley ceded the singles to Freddie Freeman and Adam Duvall, but stoked Travis d’Arnaud and Swanson to keep the game tied at 2.
In the ninth, the Braves had Albies on second as a winning point and 2020 National League MVP Freddie Freeman at home plate. Freeman scored a first-pitch fastball from closer Estevez, but Garrett Hampson slid the ball into deep center field for the third out.
The Braves nicked Senzatela for a point in the second, bringing together singles from Austin Riley, Swanson and Eddie Rosario, who led the game’s first point.
Colorado took a 2-1 lead in the fifth against Huascar Ynoa, sending nine hitters to the plate. The rally started with back-to-back singles from Sam Hilliard and Colton Welker and the Bunt sacrifice score from Senzatela Hilliard. Charlie Blackmon worked a basics loaded walk on Ynoa to bring home the second run.
Rosario quickly tied the game down at the bottom of the frame with a first home run to the right. He played on Senzatela’s 0-2 slider.
The Rockies will look to sweep the Braves’ three-game series on Thursday afternoon.