Guards stop Rockies at Steven Kwan’s saving catch

Sometimes you just have to tip your hat to your opponent.

Such was the fate of the Rockies on Wednesday night at Coors Field in their 7-5 loss to Cleveland.

Left fielder Steve Kwan saved the game for the Guardians with a sensational jump catch to end the seventh inning.

The Rockies had cut Cleveland’s lead to 6-5 on Yonathan Daza’s two-out, RBI single to left-center. The Rockies had Brendan Rodgers in third and Daza first when Jose Iglesias ripped a line drive to the left. It looked like something like an extra base hit, but Kwan turned on his jets, reeled in the ball and dove, leaving a long skid mark on the warning track. He ran 65 feet to make the catch.

The Guardians players went nuts.

“It was wonderful. That was a great play and he won the game,” said Daza, the Rockies’ top outfielder. “In that situation, when you dive and the ball flies off you, it’s fun. I mean, when If you don’t do the play, no one will tell you anything for pursuing it.

Colorado manager Bud Black said, “That was a game changer. That (would have) given us the lead. He has gone far. Good jump, good speed. Being left-handed probably helped him.”

Cleveland added an insurance run in the ninth off from Rockies right-hander Carlos Estevez. Amed Rosario, who ended the cycle short with a double, led into the corner of right field with a three and found with Oscar Gonzalez’s sacrificial fly.

The Rockies had 11 hits, but their lack of big hits in big moments continues to be their trademark. They were 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

Colorado starter Austin Gomber had a rough night, and last year’s “Blake Street Gomber” nickname didn’t suit the left-hander. In fact, Gomber didn’t sit well with it all season.

The Guardians batted him for five carries with nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. Included in the barrage was a leading homer by Rosario in the third. Rosario’s first homer of the season traveled 447 feet to left center.

Black said Gomber sometimes failed to make critical pitches at critical moments.

“I think you could say that,” Gomber said. “I didn’t give up that many runs last year.”

At Coors Field last season, Gomber was 5-1 with a 2.09 ERA across nine starts. He served five homers. In six home starts this season, he is 1-4 with a 6.68 ERA with seven homers allowed.

“I don’t think there’s anything that you can really put your finger on,” Black said. “His things are the same. He (still) has a four-tone mix.”

To be fair, Colorado’s sloppy defense in Cleveland’s five-run fifth inning was detrimental to Gomber’s line. Rosario and Jose Ramirez got a double steal and catcher Elias Diaz threw wildly into left field, giving Rosario a goal and Ramirez finishing third.

Then Gomber walked Gonzalez, Owen Miller’s sacrifice fly scored Ramirez and Josh Naylor’s double drive in Gonzalez. Colorado’s 4-2 lead became a 5-4 deficit.

Diaz has had four errors in his last 18 2/3 innings. And the Rockies have missed 12 straight home games, extending the longest streak in franchise history. Colorado’s 52 errors are the most in the majors.

“I haven’t spoken to ‘Ellie’ so I’m not sure if he lost the ball,” Black said of Diaz. “We need ‘Ellie’ to get started. Last year, he was one of the best catchers in baseball, especially in the second half. We will continue to work with him and support him and make him work.”

Colorado went 2-1 in the second thanks to some timely hits and a throwing error from Cleveland starter Konner Plikington. Daza led with an off-screen double in left field corner and came within yards of hitting his first home run in 265 at-bats. Ryan McMahon’s single put Daza in third place, and then Diaz nubbed a single in front of the mound, where Plikington picked up the ball and threw it wildly at first, allowing both Daza and McMahon to score.

The Guardians (31-27) will look to end the Rockies’ three-game sweep Thursday afternoon in Coors. The Rockies (27-36) are on track to finish 69-93. Guards stop Rockies at Steven Kwan’s saving catch

James Brien

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