Bullpen falters, Rockies fall 6-4 to Brewers in finale
AP Sports Writer
DENVER — The bullpen blew another game for the Colorado Rockies— an all too familiar trend in 2016.
Leading in the eighth, Carlos Estevez surrendered a two-run homer. Tied in the 10th, Chris Rusin surrendered the game-winner to Andrew Susac as the Rockies fell 6-4 to the Milwaukee Brewers in the season finale Sunday.
Just the way things have gone as the relievers finished 37 of 65 in save chances.
In his pregame chat, manager Walt Weiss even acknowledged the bullpen needed to be revamped, saying, “we have to iron things out.”
Whether Weiss is around to fix it remains unclear. His contract expires at the end of the season and the front office has yet to announce whether they will bring Weiss back.
“That’s never weighed on me, as a player, as a manager,” Weiss said. “I’m always going to show up the same way, no matter what my contract situation is.”
The Rockies had a prolific offensive year with DJ LeMahieu winning a batting title and Nolan Arenado leading the league in RBIs — along with tying for the NL lead in homers. The starting pitching has been consistent, too, as German Marquez became the latest to turn in a solid outing by throwing six strong innings against Milwaukee.
But then it all unraveled.
Domingo Santana hit a two-run homer in the eighth to give the Brewers a 4-3 lead. It wouldn’t last as Jordan Patterson tied it with a two-out single in the ninth that scored Arenado. Patterson also had a run-scoring double in the fifth — his first two major league RBIs.
In the 10th, Orlando Arcia hustled for a two-out double. Susac followed with a liner to left off Chris Rusin (3-5). It was Susac’s first homer since July 12 last year while with the Giants.
Reliever Tyler Thornburg (8-5) won after blowing a lead for a second straight day. Corey Knebel pitched a perfect 10th for his second save, striking out Charlie Blackmon to end the season.
LeMahieu sat out Sunday to protect his lead in the batting title race. It worked as LeMahieu edged Washington’s Daniel Murphy .3478 to .3465.
“Certainly one of the best story lines of this season, especially when you take into account the guy — the type of guy DJ is and how hard he’s worked to achieve that,” Weiss said. “That’s no small achievement, to win a batting title in this league.”
LeMahieu didn’t really know what to think, mostly because it hadn’t sunk in.
“It’s a relief,” LeMahieu said.
There was plenty of intrigue with Chris Carter and Arenado dueling for the NL home run title. Both were kept in the park Sunday and finished tied with 41.
“It would be cool to win by myself. But at the same time, he’s had a great year for himself. He earned it,” said Arenado, who led the league in RBIs with 133. “I’m just happy I had another good year. It’s cool. It’s a cool thing to be a part of.”
Blackmon led off with a homer — the 10th time he’s done that this year. He also had two doubles and a single.
After the game, the players took a lap around the park to thank the fans, throwing all sorts of souvenirs to them.
“It’s not about us. It’s thanking them for coming out and supporting us through good times and bad times,” Arenado said. “It’s great to see them out there. We want to bring them a championship and get to the playoffs for them.”
Rockies: SS Trevor Story (torn ligament in left thumb) said he’s about a month away from being “full go.” He was limited to 97 games, but led rookies with 27 homers.
Olympians Emma Coburn and Jenny Simpson threw out the first pitch Sunday — while wearing their bronze medals from the Rio de Janeiro Games. Simpson (1,500 meters) and Coburn (steeplechase) crossed things up by throwing to opposite catchers.
Milwaukee (73-89) won five more games than a season ago and Colorado (75-87) turned in its best record since 2010.
The Brewers host the Rockies in a four-game series to open the 2017 season.
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