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Jun 1, 2014 9:22 PM by Posted by Greg Smith

Rockies end road trip on wrong foot vs. Tribe

CLEVELAND -- Rockies right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino had enough of Cleveland and the road in general after serving up Michael Bourn's two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth and absorbing a 6-4 loss Sunday afternoon to end the longest road trip of the season.

The Rockies are headed home for 10 straight, starting Tuesday against the D-backs. Ottavino will appreciate it more when he's at Coors Field.

"I wouldn't say happy is a word that describes my emotions right now, but we're happy to get the [heck] out of here," Ottavino said.

At least the Rockies and Ottavino (0-2), who tried to go up and in with a 1-0 fastball and watched Bourn muscle out his second homer of the season, are done with three-city road trips for the season. They went 2-5 at Texas, Cincinnati and Kansas City May 7-14.

The Rockies went 2-7 at Atlanta, Philadelphia and Cleveland. They dropped two one-run decisions, were shut out twice, twice saw the opponent score the winning run in the eighth inning, and absorbed two walk-off home runs -- the sixth of Philadelphia's Ryan Howard's career, the first of Bourn's.

Sunday's game was replete with spotty starting pitching, an 0-for-7 performance with runners in scoring position and 12 strikeouts to bring the road trip total to 76. It was the first time the Rockies have fanned at least 11 times in three straight games against the same opponent since Sept. 3-5, 2012, against the Braves, and the first time the Indians had ever fanned at least 11 in three straight games against the same team.

The Rockies fell to .500 for the first time since they were 10-10 on April 20, and are third in the National League West, 8 1/2 games behind the first-place Giants.

"Tough road trip, all the way around," said Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who went 1-for-4 Sunday after going 0-for-12 his previous four games. "We're .500. You try to build on as many positives as you can. Obviously, if we keep focusing on these negatives, there's nowhere to go but down."

Even before the homer, the trip was summed up in the top of the ninth when Brandon Barnes doubled with two out, but Scott Atchison (2-0) fanned Charlie Blackmon. The Rockies went 7-for-62 (.113) with runners in scoring position for the road trip.

"I don't feel terrible," Blackmon said. "At times like this when you kind of feel like there's no obvious adjustments to make, you don't go out searching for things to start changing. You don't need to go away from what's been successful just because you don't have success for a period of time."

The Rockies trailed, 3-0, after the first inning and 4-3 until the seventh. Corey Dickerson's two-run homer in the second -- his second homer in as many days and seventh of the season -- and manufactured runs in the third and seventh gave the Rockies a chance. Like other close games this trip, however, it wasn't enough.

"We battled and came up short, that's the way it went again," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "Get on the plane, go back home and start a winning streak."

Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin gave up three runs in a scattershot first inning during which he walked three -- including Jason Giambi with the bases loaded -- committed an error on a pickoff move and gave up just one hit.

The search for control and location led Chacin to pitch from the stretch even without runners on base, and he made it through five innings, giving up four runs on three hits and five walks.

He had seen steady improvement over his first five starts since coming back from a right shoulder strain that cost him the first month. Sunday was a step back, but he at least escaped with a no-decision.

Chacin, whose problems tend to come early in the game or at the start of innings, insisted there's nothing wrong physically, but he doesn't have answers.

"I have to be better," said Chacin, who hasn't won and has a 5.51 ERA after going 14-10 with a 3.47 ERA last season.

Dickerson served as designated hitter in Cleveland, but after going 6-for-18 (.333) with two home runs, five walks and five runs on the trip, he may have earned greater chances in the outfield rotation. Weiss used right fielder Michael Cuddyer at third for the second straight game on Sunday, with Nolan Arenado out. That could mean playing time for Dickerson if Cuddyer stays at third when the Rockies return to National League play.

"I'm sure I'll find at-bats for him," Weiss said.

Cuddyer singled to open the third and made a run possible with heady baserunning, taking third on Tulowitzki's one-out single to center and allowing Tulowitzki to advance on the throw. Justin Morneau's grounder to second, which could have been an inning-ending double play if not for Cuddyer's quick thinking, tied the game.

Down, 4-3, in the seventh, Barnes led off with a double off reliever Bryan Shaw, advanced on DJ LeMahieu's bunt and scored on Blackmon's sacrifice fly.

But Bourn erased the comeback.

"They said I was flying around the bases," Bourn said.

A shocked Ottavino removed his cap, rubbed his head and trudged off the field.

"I wanted to throw more in, but it got the plate," Ottavino said. "He did a good job, obviously. He turned on it nice, hit it really good. I didn't expect that there."

 

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