The Colorado Rockies are in quite the rut. They lost their fifth straight game on Tuesday night, never feeling like they were hanging in the competition with the Philadelphia Phillies until the final moments of the 5-4 defeat.
Starting pitcher Jon Gray continues to have trouble finding traction early in games. He issues a pair of walks in the first, and couldn't seem to get any pitch in the exact quadrant of the zone he was aiming for. Still, he was one pitch away from escaping the jam, which would have been huge considering the corner he seemed to turn later, but Scott Kingery got ahold of a well-placed sinking fastball to smash a three-run home run in the first, giving the Phils a lead they would never lose.
Gray settled down after that, allowing just one more run over his total of six innings, striking out 10.
Kingery drove in another run against Gray in the third but the story at that point was that the Rockies couldn't get anything going against Phillies ace Aaron Nola, who has been one of the best pitchers in baseball in 2018.
Colorado finally got on the board on the very first pitch thrown by someone other than Nola who had allowed just two singles before Trevor Story and Gerardo Parra chased him with another pair in the seventh frame. Tom Murphy, making his 2018 MLB debut, came through with his second of three hits in the game, a single up the middle to put the Rockies on the board.
The real rally came in the ninth, though, and just barely fell short. The Rockies got five straight singles from Story, Parra, Ian Desmond, and Chris Iannetta to suddenly make a game of what looked to be an easy Phillies win. DJ LeMahieu then put a jolt into the Rockies fans watching at home (and the handful in attendance) by driving a liner into the left-center field gap, but a ball that might have been gone with the earlier winds in the game, fell just short, LeMahieu having to settle for the sac fly.
With the tying run at second and still just one out in the game, Charlie Blackmon leaned on a fastball that looked, off the bat, like it had every chance to clear the wall and put the Rockies on top but it was tracked down at the wall and Nolan Arenado went down on a check-swing strikeout to end the game with Colorado's tying run stranded at second.
Game 2 of the series will see Tyler Anderson take on Nick Pivetta in a matchup that should favor the visitors. First pitch is at 5:05 Mountain Time.