DENVER -- On an evening when the Rockies competed for fans with a nearby preseason Broncos game, the home team was down by a touchdown before getting its cleanup hitter to the plate for the first time. The Rockies fell to the Marlins, 6-5, on Saturday, putting them down a game in the four-game set with hopes of salvaging a series split in Sunday's finale.
The game opened poorly for Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood, who gave up three singles to the first three hitters. After retiring Carlos Lee, he challenged slugger Giancarlo Stanton with a fastball, but couldn't spin around quick enough to see it disappear 448 feet into the left-field concourse before bouncing out of the park and into the players' parking lot. The Herculean homer was Stanton's sixth in six consecutive games at Coors Field, setting a record for a visiting player at the Rockies' home, along with a Major League record as the first player to ever hit a home run in each of his first six games in a single ballpark.
"Sometimes you have to give full credit where credit is due," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "You can get him out, but in the process of doing so, if you misfire, and the ball sits in the middle of the plate or hangs if it's a secondary pitch and he runs into it, there's no ballpark in the league, American or National, that can hold him, I can promise you that."
Though Chatwood struggled to keep his pitches down in the first two innings, the pitch to Stanton was the one he wanted to throw.
"It was actually a good pitch, in off the plate," Chatwood said. "I was trying to go there, and he put a good swing on it."
The 22-year-old right-hander might have had a good thought behind his pitch, but the 22-year-old slugger at the plate got the best of him when it came to outthinking each other.
"I knew he was going to come in to get the double play, or not let me get extended with guys on first and second and less than two outs," Stanton said of his approach. "He came up and in first pitch, so I figured he was going to repeat it."
The Rockies went gently in a 1-2-3 first, then watched as the Marlins added on in the second on a rally sparked by starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and capped by a two-out, two-run triple to left-center from Jose Reyes.
"I think the two big pitches I messed up on were the two to Reyes," Chatwood said. "I left two pitches up to him, 1-2 and 0-2. That's kind of the pitches that got me."
Chatwood got through his remaining 2 1/3 innings without further damage, but the 6-0 hole he dug for the Rockies before four-hole hitter Michael Cuddyer got his first licks was too much to overcome. The Rockies have needed six runs to win five of their last six games, and have risen to the challenge three times. On Saturday, they did not.
"We surrender six runs in the first two innings of the game and had to climb out of that hole, but to the credit of the club, we [darn] near did it," Tracy said. "When you get in a hole like we got into early in the game, two things definitely have to happen. When you get an opportunity, you feel as though you have to capitalize on every single one. And your bullpen has to be virtually clean the rest of the way, because if they hit you another time offensively, they're going to take you out of the game. We didn't allow them to do that and got ourselves in a position where we had a chance to win the game, but just came up short."
Eovaldi held the Rox to a lone run in his 6 2/3 innings on the hill, pitching through traffic with six hits and four walks on his record while striking out three. His only blemish came in the fourth frame, when he walked Dexter Fowler to open the inning, then yielded a single to center off the bat of Cuddyer. With one out, Tyler Colvin finally broke through, driving a double to center to plate Fowler.
"He worked off that fastball and had some good velocity with it, and threw a hard slider and mixed in a few curveballs too just to keep us off balance," Colvin said. "He made pitches when he needed to."
Colvin was stranded in scoring position, as was a Rockie in each of the next four innings as they left 11 men on base. The sixth inning was especially frustrating, as Wilin Rosario laced a leadoff double to center, but was stranded by Colvin, Jordan Pacheco and DJ LeMahieu, who went down in order.
"I was kicking myself when Wilin led off with a double and I didn't get the job done," Colvin said.
Colorado rallied again in the eighth, opening with a leadoff walk and a single up the middle. Pacheco knocked an RBI single to right-center, sending home Rosario, and Chris Nelson lofted a sacrifice fly to plate Colvin and cut Miami's lead to three. But pinch-hitter Ramon Hernandez struck out, leaving Pacheco in scoring position.
Hernandez stayed in the game with Guillermo Moscoso taking Cuddyer's place in the order, despite the cleanup hitter being due up third in the ninth. After the game, Cuddyer revealed that he had re-injured his oblique and would almost certainly be going back to the disabled list.
The Rockies scored two more in the ninth to put their spin on the two-minute drill, but battle as they might, the hole proved too deep to escape.
"We put together a good offensive eighth inning and had the winning run standing at home plate in the ninth inning," Tracy said. "We created some opportunities for ourselves that we missed."
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.