Rockies lose series opener to Athletics, 7-1
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — David Hale put the Colorado Rockies in an early hole they were unable to overcome.
Josh Reddick and Ike Davis hit two-run homers in the first inning to back seven scoreless innings from Kendall Graveman, and the Oakland Athletics snapped a three-game losing streak by beating Colorado 7-1 on Monday night.
“They came out swinging,” Hale said. “I guess I left a few over the plate or something.”
Billy Butler also homered off Hale (2-3) and scored three runs as power-starved Oakland matched its season high for homers. The power barrage helped the A’s bounce back after getting swept in a three-game series by Kansas City to open a 10-game homestand.
Graveman (5-4) was the beneficiary of the big night from the bats, shutting down Nolan Arenado and the Rockies for his latest strong start since returning from the minors.
“He induced a lot of groundballs,” Colorado manager Walt Weiss said. “That’s what he did. He made us hit the ball on the ground for the most part. Commanded the ball real well. We were hitting the top of the ball all night.”
Arenado had one single to extend his hitting streak to 16 games but was unable to go deep after hitting eight home runs in his past seven games, including four in a weekend series across the bay in San Francisco.
Charlie Blackmon hit a solo homer off Evan Scribner for Colorado’s only offense. The Rockies have lost 14 straight road interleague games, one shy of the record set by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“Trying to play catch-up is not the easiest thing,” said Troy Tulowitzki, who had three hits and has reached safely in a career-high 28 straight games. “Obviously their pitcher was good. We just couldn’t scratch out enough runs.”
Graveman was sent down to the minors after a rough opening month when he went 1-2 with an 8.27 ERA in his first four starts with Oakland. But he has been a completely different pitcher since being brought back up last month, using an effective sinker to become an effective part of the rotation.
Graveman allowed five hits and three walks with three strikeouts to improve to 4-2 with a 2.01 ERA in eight starts since coming back from the minors.
“He seems to have gone down there and figured it out pretty quick,” Reddick said. “He’s transitioned that pretty well up here.”
Reddick got the A’s started when he hit a no-doubt, line-drive homer into the right-field seats with two outs in the first. Carlos Gonzalez never flinched in right field as the ball sailed over his head.
Butler followed with a single before Davis launched a high drive into the right-field stands to make it 4-0 with his third homer of the season.
Hale fell to 0-3 with a 7.54 ERA in his past four starts.
Rockies: 1B Justin Morneau continues to rehab a neck injury, with no timetable for his return.
Athletics: Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte (right shoulder) played catch with both arms before the game. ... RHP Taylor Thompson (shoulder) threw a 35-pitch bullpen session and is close to facing hitters.
Early in the game, a flock of seagulls started circling the stadium, making for some treacherous territory in the field. Reddick and Burns spent much of the time between pitches with their gloves on their head to protect themselves from bird droppings.
“Disturbing,” Reddick said. “Just trying to do the best I could to protect my hat and my face from getting pooped on. It was kind of strange. I don’t know what it was, but something was on the outfield grass. They seemed to enjoy it.”
Rockies: Jorge De La Rosa (4-3) returns to the mound after leaving his most recent start early with a cut on his left middle finger. De La Rosa faces the A’s for the first time since 2009.
Athletics: AL ERA leader Sonny Gray (9-3, 2.09) looks to tie Seattle’s Felix Hernandez for the league lead with his 10th win.