By Pat Graham, AP Sports Writer
DENVER (AP) – Nolan Arenado tossed his bat to the ground in repulsion when his hard-hit liner disappeared into the glove of second baseman Ian Kinsler to start the ninth.
Just the latest frustrating night at the plate for the Colorado Rockies.
Nicholas Castellanos had three hits, including a two-run triple , and Jordan Zimmermann rebounded from early trouble to help the Detroit Tigers beat Colorado 4-3 on Monday.
The Rockies stranded 11 baserunners and went 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position as their lead for the second NL wild-card spot dwindled to three games over idle Milwaukee. They’re now hitting just .223 with runners in scoring position this month.
“It’s just a matter of time, man,” Jonathan Lucroy said of the offense reawakening. “We’re going to get big hits when we need them. Our lineup is too good. You can’t hold everybody down at once.”
Zimmermann (8-11) went five innings and allowed three runs — all in the second. He settled down to move his career mark to 7-0 against the Rockies in 11 career starts.
“I don’t think he was as sharp as I have seen him, but he pitched good enough to get a win,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.
Shane Greene struck out two of three in the ninth for his sixth save. He fanned Mark Reynolds to end the game.
Antonio Senzatela (10-5) never found his command in allowing four runs over 3 2/3 innings. The right-hander has bounced between the starting rotation, the minors and the bullpen since he was the NL rookie of the month in April.
Trailing 3-2 in the third, Castellanos laced a two-run triple into the corner to give the Tigers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. It was Castellanos’ AL-leading 10th triple of the season. He also had an RBI single in the first.
“It’s been a roller-coaster year,” Castellanos said. “My production has been good, I guess. I am not too happy with it because I expect a lot more from myself.”
Detroit’s bullpen came up big in a pivotal sixth. After Warwick Saupold worked his way into a one-out, bases-loaded situation, he struck out Arenado on a pitch off the plate. Lefty Daniel Stumpf was summoned to face Gerardo Parra and struck him out with a fastball. Stumpf screamed as he walked off the mound.
“The Parra at-bat was huge with the bases loaded to end that inning,” Ausmus said. “It’s not easy to close out games, especially one-run games in this ballpark.”
Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera left the game in the fifth inning with lower back tightness . He went 0 for 1 with two walks and a run scored.
Lucroy had a two-run homer off Zimmermann. He finished 3 for 4.
“Nothing special,” Lucroy said. “I wish it was.”
Tigers: LHP Daniel Norris (left groin strain) will make a rehab start Thursday with Triple-A Toledo. … RHP Anibal Sanchez (left hamstring strain) is scheduled to throw Thursday for Class A West Michigan.
Rockies: RF Carlos Gonzalez was a late scratch with a sore left ankle. “We did treatment during the game,” he said. “I’m feeling better.”
VOTE OF CONFIDENCE
Greg Holland remains manager Bud Black’s closer despite a rough stretch. Holland has blown three saves and given up 14 runs over his last eight games. He pitched a perfect ninth Monday in a nonsave situation.
“Greg will be a big part of us getting to where we want to be moving forward,” Black said.
Holland is coming back from Tommy John surgery that caused him to miss all of last season. He has 36 saves this season.
Outfielder/infielder Ian Desmond was activated from the disabled list, where he’s been for the last month with a strained right calf. He was added to the starting lineup when Gonzalez was scratched. Desmond had two singles.
“He feels good about his calf, he feels good about where he is physically and he feels good about where he is making contributions from here on out,” Black said.
Ausmus doesn’t exactly have warm regards for hitter friendly Coors Field.
“Pinball baseball,” Ausmus called it.
Tigers RHP Michael Fulmer (10-11, 3.69 ERA) makes his first start against Colorado on Tuesday. The Rockies will throw RHP German Marquez (10-5, 4.18 ERA), who has never faced Detroit.
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