DENVER (The Sports Xchange) – Rookie Antonio Senzatela took over the National League lead in victories Tuesday night, and Mark Reynolds vaulted into the major league RBI lead as the Colorado Rockies pounded the Cleveland Indians 11-3.
Senzatela (8-2) threw 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits. He also slugged his way into franchise history, joining Willie Blair in 1993 and Jorge De La Rosa in 2010 as the only Rockies pitchers to hit a three-run double.
It was the first extra-base hit of his career, gave him one more RBI than he had in his first 21 career at-bats and came after the Indians issued an intentional two-out walk to face him in the second. The hit gave the Rockies a 3-0 jump start on their romp.
“I looking for a fastball,” Senzatela said. “I just swung, and I got the pitch. That’s good.”
Reynolds hit two homers, giving him 24 career multi-homer games and his first this year. He drove in a career-high-tying five runs, giving him 51 RBIs. He hit a three-run shot in the fifth that built the Rockies’ lead to 8-1 and belted a two-run homer, his 15th of the season, in the seventh to make it 10-3.
The Rockies gave out Mark Reynolds T-shirts to 800 fans clustered in a section in left-center. Reynolds struck out on his first two at-bats, giving him nine strikeouts in five games, before he belted Mike Clevinger’s 3-2 pitch into the right-field stands.
“A lot of times guys throw hard, you swing underneath it,” Reynolds said. “So I was really concentrating on getting on top of the ball. Plus, I was thinking in my head, too, ‘Hey, it’s my T-shirt night. I can’t punch out three times.”
Carlos Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the third for the Rockies (37-23), who are a season-high-tying 14 games above .500 and 14-6 in series openers. They improved to 9-3 in games started by Senzatela, a 22-year-old who had never pitched above the Double-A level before making Colorado’s Opening Day rotation.
He walked one, struck out four and faced one batter with a runner in scoring position — Francisco Lindor, who flied out to end the third with runners on first and second.
Senzatela gave up a homer to Lonnie Chisenhall in the fifth and a two-run shot to Bradley Zimmer in the seventh that trimmed the Rockies’ lead to 8-3. When Yan Gomes followed with a single, Senzatela’s outing ended at and 98 pitches and 68 strikes. He threw 69 fastballs, 23 sliders and six changeups.
“The use of his secondary pitches and the mixing of those were probably just as important as the fastball,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “I think he threw more changeups tonight than in any other game. I think the breaking ball was in play, also.”
Indians starter Mike Clevinger (2-3) gave up five runs and four hits in four innings.
“Early in the game I couldn’t find the zone,” he said. “By the time I found it, it was a little bit too late.”
The Indians intentionally walked Tony Wolters to get to Senzatela, who lined Clevinger’s first-pitch fastball into the gap in right-center.
“That was a tough pill to swallow,” Clevinger said. “I don’t have many words for that. I just left a fastball over the plate and the pitcher got three RBI.”
Indians manager Terry Francona said, “When that happens, I’m kicking myself. I would have probably kicked myself more if Wolters throws a base hit into left and we have the pitcher sitting on deck. Those are things that kind of make you stay up at night.”
His eighth win moved Senzatela ahead of Washington’s Stephen Strasburg, Arizona’s Zack Greinke and Los Angeles’ Clayton Kershaw for the NL lead.
“That’s really good for me and really good for the team,” Senzatela said. “I got a really good team behind me. They play good defense, and they hitting really good. That’s nice.”
NOTES: Rockies LF Gerardo Parra will go on the disabled list with a right quadriceps strain that he sustained running to second base on an unsuccessful steal attempt to end the third. … Rockies RHP Jon Gray (left foot stress fracture) threw a 35-pitch simulated game followed by fielding drills. … Rockies RHP Chad Bettis (cancer) rejoined the team. … Rockies RHP Adam Ottavino (right shoulder inflammation) will throw a bullpen session Wednesday and is eligible to be reinstated Friday. … Rockies INF/OF Alexi Amarista was placed on paternity leave and will rejoin the team Thursday. OF Raimel Tapia was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque. … Indians OF Lonnie Chisenhall (concussion) was reinstated and RHP Danny Salazar (right shoulder soreness) was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to Sunday. … Indians RHP Trevor Bauer will start Wednesday on two days of rest after throwing 30 pitches in 1 2/3 innings Sunday before rain halted his outing at Kansas City.