Denied in their first chance at a series victory in Colorado, the Tampa Bay Rays hope for better luck on Sunday afternoon when they wrap a three-game set with the Rockies.
The Rays have never won a series in Denver, with Friday's win just the club's third victory in its first 10 road games in this all-time series. However, Colorado bounced back on Saturday with a big seventh inning that led to a 9-3 triumph over Tampa Bay.
Michael Cuddyer drove in the first run with two outs in the big seventh frame for the Rockies and following a walk by Wilin Rosario, Nolan Arenado connected on a grand slam to put the game out of reach.
After not starting Friday's opener due to leg soreness, Troy Tulowitzki was a perfect 3-for-3 yesterday and drove in three runs to up his season RBI total to 27. Carlos Gonzalez added a solo homer and Jon Garland picked up the win.
"As long as we're healthy, as long as we have Tulowitzki and all of us in the lineup, we can score a lot of runs and make sure they get a win," said Gonzalez, whose club had lost four of six.
While Tulowitzki returned to the starting lineup, outfielder Dexter Fowler did not after suffering a right hip injury in Friday's loss. He could return for today's finale.
He wouldn't be the only Rockie to return as Jhoulys Chacin is set to make his fifth start of the season and first since April 19 as he returns from a trip to the disabled list caused by a left lower back strain.
The righty was rolling in his last outing versus the Arizona Diamondbacks, scattering three hits and a walk over 6 1/3 innings before being forced out of the game due to his back issue. He still won his third straight start, moving to 3-0 with a 1.46 earned run average on the season.
Chacin, 25, will face the Rays for the first time after throwing 60 pitches to minor leaguers on Tuesday and then completing a bullpen session the following day.
He'll try to prevent the Rockies from a rare series loss to the Rays. They have taken two of three from the Rays in each of the previous two meetings, coming in 2009 and 2007, respectively. Both sets took place in Colorado and Tampa Bay hasn't won a set over Colorado since a three-game sweep at home in 2004.
They'll need a better effort today than the one David Price gave on Saturday. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner was charged with all nine runs on 11 hits and three walks over 6 2/3 innings.
Kelly Johnson had two RBI and James Loney drove in one run for the Rays, who have lost three of their last four.
"It was just one of those things," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "We couldn't break through. Their relief pitchers were good tonight. We kind of had Garland on the ropes ... we actually did a good job versus him. We had good at-bats, I thought, while he was in the game."
Tampa Bay's Yunel Escobar was taken out in the second inning after taking a pitch by Garland to the left wrist. He was replaced by Ryan Roberts, who manned second base, and Ben Zobrist moved from second to short.
Getting the call today for the Rays is Alex Cobb, who had a disastrous ending to what was shaping up to be an outstanding outing last time out.
Facing the Kansas City Royals and former teammate James Shields on Tuesday, Cobb did not allow a run through 5 2/3 innings, but then yielded six straight two-out hits and was charged with four runs to take the loss. That came after he had won his second straight outing on April 24 by hurling 8 1/3 scoreless frames versus the New York Yankees.
Not surprisingly, the right-hander was pretty upset with how his outing versus the Royals ended.
"Walking off the mound, I think that's the most angry I've ever been after a game," Cobb told Tampa Bay's official website. "But you know, I felt like from pitch No. 1, I was going to be able to have a smooth, easy-sailing game, go as deep as I could. Out of nowhere, that happens, so I think feeling good and everything coming kind of easy, and then just coming to a screeching halt is the most difficult thing to deal with."
The 25-year-old fell to 3-2 with a 2.55 ERA through five starts this year and will face the Rockies for the first time.