Phillies' rally falls short against Rockies

Phillies' rally falls short against Rockies

DENVER -- DJ LeMahieu understood why the Phillies walked Charlie Blackmon intentionally with two out in the eighth, but he still made them pay with an RBI single to deliver the Rockies' fifth victory in the last seven games, 4-3, over the Phillies at Coors Field on Friday night.

Phillies reliever Luis Garcia (1-3) walked Pat Valaika to open the inning. And, although Blackmon was 0-for-3 Friday, his 1.022 OPS coming into the game dictated that the Phillies avoid him -- even if it meant facing LeMahieu, whose hit made him 15-for-34 (.441) over his last 10 games.

"I don't think they're disrespecting me or anything like that, but it feels good to get hits when they walk to get to me," said LeMahieu, who won the National League batting crown last year and has shaken an early slump to reach .322.

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin, whose team lost its fourth straight, despite Nick Williams' three hits, said of LeMahieu: "Well he's a good hitter, all those guys are good hitters. You look at their averages, their on-base percentages, in that last inning it was pick your poison. Do I want to face LeMahieu or Blackmon?"

Mackanin on 4-3 loss to Rockies

Altherr aggravates hamstring, exits game

And the Rockies, who had closer Greg Holland salt away the ninth for his 34th save in 35 chances, took their third one-run victory in the last four games. They hold the second National League Wild Card spot, a half-game behind the D-backs, and 5 1/2 ahead of the Brewers.

"Our guys, when it sort of gets hot and gets tight, are OK," Rockies manager Bud Black said.

Holland notches the save

Rockies lefty starter Kyle Freeland, who came into the game leading the Majors in several rookie categories, left after just 11 pitches because of a left groin injury.

Freeland exits in first with injury

Freeland exits game in the 1st

But lefty Chris Rusin escaped a man on second in the first and bases loaded with no outs in the second, and finished with 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Antonio Senzatela -- a rookie starter helping out the bullpen -- ate two innings and gave up two runs in the sixth inning as part of a good-enough relief effort. Lefty Mike Dunn (4-1) went 1 1/3 innings for his 12th scoreless outing in his last 13.

Dunn strikes out Williams

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Thrice as nice: The Phillies' Maikel Franco entered Friday hitting .224, but in the sixth he tripled -- his first of the season and third of his career -- to drive in Williams to tie the game at 2. Franco's hit eluded Carlos Gonzalez, who fell after an awkward route.

Franco's RBI triple

Just needed a bigger fly: The Rockies were frustrated with repeated fly-ball outs, especially during Phillies starter Vince Velasquez's five innings. But leave it to Nolan Arenado to do a fly ball right. Arenado launched a 2-1 fastball from Ricardo Pinto into the bleachers in left-center in the seventh for his 25th home run.

"The momentum was on their side when they came back, tied the game [in the sixth] and took the lead [in the seventh]," Black said. "Nolan had the big swing that sort of energized us a little bit a couple different ways.

"He had a couple pitches to hit, and he missed them. He was frustrated. That happens. But we'll take Nolan in a big spot any day."

Arenado's 25th home run

QUOTABLE
"Tonight was a big win, with all the circumstances, with all the things that happened early in the game. We didn't score a bunch of runs, and when your starting pitcher only gets to throw a few pitches and has to come out of the game it looks really ugly. But good teams always find ways to win those games." -- the Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez, who had a two-run single off of Velasquez with the bases loaded in the first, and has hits in 12 of his last 13 games

CarGo's two-run single

"The velocity wasn't up. He was 91, 92 and then he increased the velocity a little bit. … What we're looking for from him is to be able to throw 96 pitches in more innings. The next step for him is to economize his pitches." -- Mackanin on Velasquez's long first inning and subsequent rebound.

Velasquez strands two to end 5th

WHAT'S NEXT
Phillies: Rookie right-hander Nick Pivetta (4-6, 5.42 ERA) will make his first career start against the Rockies on Saturday, beginning at 8:10 p.m. ET. Pivetta gave up one run in six innings in his last outing vs. the Braves, but he had a 9.37 ERA in his three previous starts. On the road, Pivetta has a 6.70 ERA compared to a 3.89 ERA at home.

Rockies: Righty Jon Gray (3-2, 5.52 ERA) is looking to avoid the one hiccup when he faces the Phillies at Coors Field on Saturday at 6:10 p.m. MT. In his last start, a loss at Washington, Gray was perfect for six of his seven innings, but gave up two homers and three runs in the fifth inning.

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Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page.

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver and covered the Phillies on Friday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.