Rockies’ southpaw Austin Gomber pitched only two innings on Saturday before exiting with “left forearm tightness” against the Brewers.
Colorado initially withstood his unexpected absence. But closer Tyler Kinley gave up a two-run homer in the ninth that snapped the Rockies’ five-game winning streak at Coors Field. Their 6-5 loss added insult to injury as the team anxiously awaits a health update from its most effective starter this season.
Gomber threw 33 pitches and allowed two runs on four hits prior to leaving the game. It is unclear how long Gomber will be unavailable moving forward.
“I don’t know a lot yet. The forearm started to tighten up a little bit in the muscle belly of the forearm, not in the joint, so that’s a good thing,” manager Bud Black said. “He felt it a little bit warming up. He thought it would go away and it didn’t. So, we were very precautionary and got him out of the game. We’ll know more in the next few days to see how it sets up.
“He was very astute in letting us know, and hopefully, we got this in time where he didn’t try to pitch through it tonight. … I’m crossing my fingers that this is just a little forearm tightness and he’ll be back.”
On Saturday, the teams exchanged two runs apiece in the first inning. Brewers’ shortstop Willy Adames ripped an RBI double and then scored on a fielder’s choice. Raimel Tapia and Yonathan Daza extended their multi-game hit streaks while each recorded one run. Colorado took a 3-2 lead in the second when Tapia’s infield single scored Elias Diaz.
The Rockies appeared in trouble when right-hander Jhoulys Chacin replaced Gomber in the third. Chacin gave up a walk and double that set the stage for a Christian Yelich RBI groundout. But Chacin escaped the inning with the game tied, 3-3.
Colorado took a two-run lead in the fifth with small-ball perfection. Tapia walked, moved to third on a Daza single, and scored on a Charlie Blackmon RBI groundout. Then Ryan McMahon brought Daza home with an RBI single.
Daza also provided the defensive highlight of the game in the sixth. Brewers’ infielder Jace Peterson sent a line drive into deep center off reliever Justin Lawrence. Daza snagged the baseball in mid-air, crashed into the wall, and abruptly fell to the ground while still securing the catch.
However, Milwaukee clawed back against reliever Yency Almonte with two outs in the seventh when Adames smashed a two-out double. Brewers’ outfielder Avisail Garcia scored Adames with an RBI single to make it 5-4. Reliever Lucas Gilbreath retired three consecutive batters in the eighth to squash Milwaukee momentum.
Colorado turned to Kinley in closing the game. Brewers infielder Luis Urias pegged him with a one-out single. Then Adames blasted a home run to put the game away. Typical closers Daniel Bard and Carlos Esteves both a scheduled nights of rest on Saturday, Black said, providing Kinley the opportunity.
“I’ve got to look at the ball that Adames hit,” Black said. “From the side, it looked like a pretty good pitch, and he just went with it. He probably committed to a ball away from him and went and barreled it. A really good swing.”
Now, the Rockies (30-42) turns their attention to Gomber’s looming injury status. The most significant return from the Nolan Arenado trade entered Saturday night at 6-5 with a 3.54 ERA. Gomber had thrived at Coors Field over his first five starts with the team, touting a 0.95 ERA and only three earned runs.
“We have a couple of off-days coming up. We were going to push (Gomber) back anyway,” Black said. “So, this gives him a little bit of a break. We’ll see how it sets up in the next three to five days.”