The Rangers and the Rockies demonstrated last night why Coors Field in Denver is known as a home run park; each team smacked two homers during the contest, but the Rangers came up short with a final score of 6-7.
Coors Field is a lot of things, but a pitcher’s paradise is not one, partly because of the area’s thin, dry air.
“Because Denver is a mile above sea level, the air is thinner, which means there’s less resistance,” stated ABC News Meteorologist Mike Nelson in 2021. “Denver has about 15% less air resistance than a city at sea level — that means fewer molecules for that baseball to go through.”
The drier air means the surface of the ball and the strings on it don’t swell as much as in a more humid climate, so curveballs and off-speed pitches don’t work as well.
“It’s tougher for the pitchers to throw effective stuff to the hitters, and that’s the reason why we get more home runs and a lot more offense in Colorado,” explained Nelson.
Rangers starting pitcher Dane Dunning and Rockies starter Germán Márquez combined for 11 innings of work in interleague action on Tuesday night, five for Dunning and six for Márquez. By the time the two hurlers had exited the game, the scoreboard had recorded 10 earned runs — Dunning four and Márquez six — and an old fashion shootout was underway.
Ultimately, the Rangers squandered the chance for a four-game winning streak on the road — losing 6-7 after winning three straight in Minnesota — but the tug-of-war contest was a coin-flip as to who would be victorious as the bullpens took over for the two teams.
Marcus Semien led off the contest with, you guessed it, a home run, his 20th of the season.
Dunning yielded the lead one inning later after giving up a single, plunking a batter, and then a three-run homer to Elias Diaz.
The two teams somehow figured out how not to score runs for the third and fourth innings, but in the fifth, Texas struck back.
Semien smoked a triple to right field to score Bubba Thompson, who had singled and swiped second base for his sixth steal of the year ahead of his teammate’s three-bagger.
Seager earned a walk ahead of Lowe, who grounded out to first but scored Semien on the play. Adolis Garcia – who had already extended his hitting streak to 20 games with a double in the fifth – singled to left to score Seagar for his team-leading 77th RBI of the season and gave the Rangers a 6-3 lead through five and a half innings of play.
Dunning allowed a run in the bottom of the fifth to leave the lead at 6-4 Texas before his departure. Dunning pitched five innings and allowed four runs on seven hits with no walks and four strikeouts. Though he left the game with the lead, Dunning would not earn a decision in the contest.
Josh Sborz tossed a scoreless sixth inning to earn his first hold of the year, but the generally reliable Brock Burke entered the contest in the seventh, and the wheels fell off the wagon for the Rangers.
Seager committed his 16th error of the season – third most in the American League — to open the inning, allowing Rockies’ Wynton Bernard on base. Bernard was out at second on the next play when Ryan McMahon singled.
Two batters later, with two men on base, Colorado slugger C.J. Cron stepped to the plate and smashed a three-run homer to right for the 7-6 lead.
Burke allowed three runs in his inning of work, though they were all unearned thanks to Seager’s fielding miscue. Burke earned the loss, bringing his tally to 6-3 on the season, marking his fourth blown save of the season.
Once Rockies starting pitcher Márquez left after six innings, the Rangers could only muster one more hit in the contest — a pinch-hit double in the top of the ninth by Jonah Heim — and no more runs on their way to the loss, snapping a three-game winning streak.
Texas will look to get back in the win column and have a chance at a series split with Colorado starting at 2:10 p.m. on Wednesday.
Starting pitchers in the game are Rangers ace Martin Perez (9-4, 2.80) versus José Ureña (2-4, 4.71) for the Rockies.