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Rockies drop game one in Mexico City as Astros offense take flight

The Colorado Rockies became just the third team in MLB history to play in three different countries in the same month as they began a two-game set with the Houston Astros in Mexico City. Playing 7,350 feet above sea level in front of an enthusiastic crowd, the MLB World Tour is meant to help showcase the important international growth of the game of baseball.

Entering the series the Rockies and Astros represented two of the worst teams in baseball to begin the season as they held the same 7-19 record, meaning that something had to give at the offense-friendly confines of Mexico City. Looking for sparks, it was the Astros who would catch fire as familiar struggles plagued the Rockies in a 12-4 loss.

The Rockies struck out 14 times in the game, adding to their now National League-leading total of 266 punchouts which is the third most in all of baseball. Ezequiel Tovar had four strikeouts and Hunter Goodman had three, while every starter save Nolan Jones had at least one strikeout. They scattered six hits and went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position, leaving 12 men on base as a team. The team has now trailed in 27 consecutive games to start the season and are one away from tying the modern-era record set by the 1910 St. Louis Browns.

Things looked hopeful at the start, as the Rockies kept the Astros off the board in the top of the first. Both teams have struggled mightily in the first inning and it was the Rockies to be on the positive end of that struggle as Tovar led the game off with a single. Brenton Doyle then popped up a pitch on the infield that Jose Altuve and Jose Abreu miscommunicated on, allowing it to drop but they quickly threw out Tovar at second. With Doyle at first, Ryan McMahon launched a ball to center field for his fourth home run of the year to give the Rockies an early 2-0 lead.

Unfortunately for the Rockies, they were unable to muster much offense as Ronel Blanco as the 30-year-old right-hander continued his strong start to the season. After surrendering the home run in the first, Blanco ended up lasting 5 2/3 innings, scattering five hits while striking out five against two walks, lowering his ERA to 1.65 on the year. He left the game with runners on first and second in the sixth inning, but reliever Seth Martinez shut the threat with a bases-loaded strikeout of Tovar.

Houston’s offense struggled coming into the game, but managed to induce plenty of damage against the Rockies. The Astros snagged a run back in the second on a Trey Cabbage double to score Yainer Diaz –who went 3-for-4 on the day with three runs scored.

The Astros then took the lead in the top of the third when Chas McCormick reached via hit-by-pitch and scored on a tower home run by Yordan Alvarez, his first of two home runs as part of a 3-for-5 day with three RBI. Kyle Tucker then followed up the home run with one of his own to left field, taking advantage of a light breeze and the thin air to just drift over the fence and give the Astros a 4-2 lead.


Looking to crawl back into the game in the bottom of the fifth, the Rockies got a two-out single from Doyle followed by a catcher interference which allowed McMahon to reach. Elias Diaz then laced a ball into left field that seemingly scored Doyle, but the Astros appealed to third base where it was ruled that Doyle had missed the bag and was therefore out on the play. The Rockies challenged the call and the video replay showed Doyle stumbling going around third, arguably because of the bag, but the call on the field stood, thus keeping the Rockies from scoring and changing the momentum in the game.

The Astros took advantage in the top of the first against Cal Quantrill who was chased from the game after loading the bases in the top of the sixth without recording an out. In relief, Jalen Beeks managed to get out of the inning but two runs scored in the process. Quantrill went five innings, allowing six runs on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts on 95 pitches.

Two more runs came across for Houston in the eighth against Victor Vodnik thanks to RBI singles from Yainer Diaz and Abreu. They then added four more runs in the top of the ninth against a struggling Tyler Kinley thanks to Alvarez’s second home run of the game, a double from Mauricio Dubon, and singles from Abreu and McCormick.

The Rockies squeaked across a couple of runs in the ninth on singles from Charlie Blackmon and Elehuris Montero before Jones grounded out to end the game.

On the day the Astros had 15 hits with four strikeouts and five walks and went 6-for-12 with runners in scoring position. The Rockies on the other hand drew six walks, but the strikeout issues continued and have plagued the roster top to bottom. The Astros also scored four runs with two-outs, a lingering pattern for the Rockies this season.

Up next

A pair of lefties in Austin Gomber and Framber Valdez will take to the mound in the final game in Mexico City. Gomber has rebounded nicely from his first couple of starts and has ramped up his ability to get strikeouts, but walks have also been a issue for the lefty. Valdez makes his first start since suffering an elbow strain in his throwing arm early this month but is always a threat for a dominant outing.


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