OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Sam Hilliard homered for the first time this season, Antonio Senzatela pitched out of an early jam on his way to a rare road win, and the Colorado Rockies beat the Oakland Athletics 8-3 Tuesday night.
Charlie Blackmon had two hits, David Dahl drove in a pair of runs and Nolan Arenado made up for an uncharacteristic fielding error with a single and sacrifice fly to help the Rockies to their third straight win following an opening day loss to Texas.
“We’ve got a good pitching staff always and this year we’ve been doing good,” Senzatela said. “We were just working for that in the offseason, even through the quarantine. I think we deserve this.”
Hilliard was hitless going into the day before doubling off A’s starter Daniel Mengden in the second and then homering in the fourth. Hilliard, who homered in his major league debut last August, laced a 2-2 pitch into the right-field stands after Raimel Tapia singled.
“Sam’s blast, the breaking ball in the seats was a great swing,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “I like the double the other way. We saw Sam do that a number of times last year, take pitches away from him, hit them to left field. The home run gave us a big lift.”
Senzatela worked himself into an early jam but got Oakland slugger Khris Davis to pop out with the bases loaded in the first on the way to his first win on the road since July 5, 2019. The right-hander had dropped five straight away from home since then.
Senzatela (1-0) allowed two runs (one earned) and six hits in five innings. He walked three and struck out three.
“I threw too many pitches in the first inning but I just put on myself, ‘I need to make it through five to give the team a chance to win,’ and I did it,” Senzatela said.
Tyler Kinley, Daniel Bard and Carlos Estévez combined to two-hit the A’s over the final four innings.
Ramon Laureano had two hits and Mark Canha added a sacrifice fly for the A’s, who were attempting to go 4-1 for the first time since 2010.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin had been hopeful of resting his taxed bullpen but didn’t get the chance after Mengden (0-1) lasted four innings and gave up three runs on five hits.
“Strike one can be a problem for him sometimes,” Melvin said. “He tries to be a little too fine at times. It’s getting the pitch count down and trying to get the other team to put the ball in play earlier in the count.”
The Rockies tacked on a pair in the fifth with four consecutive one-out hits and a sacrifice fly off A’s reliever Jordan Weems in his major league debut. They scored three more in the eighth.
The two-game series ends Wednesday afternoon when Oakland’s Frankie Montas (0-0, 2.25 ERA) makes his second start of the season against Colorado’s Germán Márquez (0-1, 1.59) in a matchup of right-handers. Marquez’s loss on opening day was his first in 16 interleague starts.
AROUND THE MAJORS TUESDAY
— Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. homered, and Tanner Roark gave up one run in five innings against his former team to help the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Washington Nationals 5-1. It was the third loss in a row for the reigning World Series champions. They have scored a total of just four runs during that skid and dropped to 1-4 for the season. Washington’s miscues Tuesday included two outfielders colliding on Guerrero’s homer, two errors by Starlin Castro that led to three unearned runs, and just one hit after the third inning. Austin Voth took the loss.
— Josh Donaldson homered and drove in two runs in his Target Field debut with Minnesota, Jorge Polanco hit a two-run shot and the Twins beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 in their home opener. Homer Bailey pitched five innings for the victory in his first start for the Twins. Polanco’s drive capped a five-run second for the Twins, who began their 60th season in Minnesota.
—Carlos Santana hit a three-run homer, Oscar Mercado had a two-run single and the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 5-3 to complete a doubleheader sweep Tuesday night. Cleveland won the opener 4-3 behind a career-high nine strikeouts by Aaron Civale and home runs from Francisco Lindor and Bradley Zimmer.
—Adam Frazier hit a tie-breaking two-run homer in the eighth inning, and the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied for an 8-6 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. A day after blowing a four-run lead in the ninth in what became an 11-inning loss, Pittsburgh delivered a bit of payback thanks to a shaky performance by the Milwaukee bullpen. Cole Tucker went 2 for 4 for the Pirates.
—J.D. Davis banged a two-run homer off the Pesky Pole, and left-hander David Peterson pitched 5 2/3 innings to win his major league debut and lead the New York Mets to an 8-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox. The Mets swept the two-game series and sent the Red Sox to their fourth consecutive loss. The teams now move to New York for another two games at Citi Field.
—Javier Báez homered twice, doubled and scored on a deft dive to the plate, Alec Mills went six solid innings, and the Chicago Cubs extended their strong opening surge, beating the Cincinnati Reds 8-5. Chicago has won four of its first five games, scoring first in each one.
—Jonathan Schoop and Christin Stewart each hit a two-run homer in the third inning to lift the Detroit Tigers to a 4-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals. Whit Merrifield hit a three-run shot in the top of the third for Kansas City, but the Tigers answered quickly and held on from there.
—Yoshi Tsutsugo had a two-run single during a five-run third inning and the Tampa Bay Rays won their fourth consecutive game, 5-2 over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night. Yonny Chirinos became the second consecutive Rays starter to go four strong innings after missing part of summer camp following a positive covid-19 test, allowing one run and four hits.