The Rockies' Sunday afternoon performance matched the weather at Coors Field: gloomy and overcast.
The result was an 8-3 loss to the Rays in front of a crowd of 39,220.
From Jhoulys Chacin's lackluster start, to two costly passed balls by catcher Wilin Rosario, to going 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position, the Rockies lacked the crispness that usually has marked Walt Weiss' first year as manager.
The Rays took two of three games and won the series.
Asked if it was fair to characterize the Rockies' play as sloppy, Weiss said: "Yeah, it certainly wasn't real clean. It wasn't real pretty. The game kind of got away from us a little bit later. It wasn't our best game, that's for sure."
Turning point. The sixth inning was a conglomeration of miscues by the Rockies and key hits by the Rays. Matt Joyce drew a leadoff walk from Chacin. After a strikeout, James Loney reached on a line drive — possible inning-ending double play — off the glove of second baseman Josh Rutledge. Add in a bloop single by Kelly Johnson, a passed ball by Rosario and a double by Ryan Roberts, and the Rays' lead grew from 3-2 to 6-2.
Regarding his passed balls, Rosario said it was a matter of poor execution by him, not miscommunication with the pitchers.
"The communication was good, but sometimes those pitches move more than you expect," Rosario said. "Those things happen, but I don't think it's going to be a problem."
On the mound. Chacin, back from the disabled list after suffering lower-back spasms, and pitching for the first time since April 19, looked rusty in the first inning when the Rays knocked him around for three runs and three hits. He was helped out of the mess when Rosario threw out Johnson trying to steal second base.
Chacin righted the ship for the next four innings, but the sixth-inning mess contributed to his forgettable line: seven innings pitched, six runs (five earned), eight hits and three walks allowed, and three strikeouts.
"I think he was just knocking a little rust off, but after that first inning I thought he settled in pretty nicely," Weiss said. "He gave us some length and gave us a chance to win, I thought."
Chacin said his back felt fine.
"The first inning I wasn't throwing strikes and they got a couple of good hits, but those things happen," he said. "But there were no issues with my back and I was just happy to be back with my team."
At the plate. The Rockies were never able to mount a big inning against Rays starter Alex Cobb. Their three runs off Cobb came from three solo homers: Michael Cuddyer's blast led off the second inning, his seventh of the season; Troy Tulowitzki's led off the fourth, his seventh; and rookie Nolan Arenado's came with two outs in the seventh, his third homer in only seven games in the big leagues.
Tulo finished the game 2-for-4, his batting average rising to .348. Cuddyer was 3-for-4, lifting his average to .333.
What it means. The Rockies have lost their last two series at Coors Field — to the Braves and the Rays. The Rockies need to put together a better combination of clutch hitting, pitching and defense against the Yankees.
Upcoming Pitching Matchups
Tuesday: Yankees' Hiroki Kuroda (4-1, 2.25 ERA) at Rockies' Jorge De La Rosa (2-3, 4.18), 6:40 p.m., ROOT
Wednesday: Yankees' David Phelps (1-1, 5.56) at Rockies' Juan Nicasio (3-0, 4.91), 6:40 p.m., ROOT
Thursday: Yankees' CC Sabathia (4-3, 3.31) at Rockies' Jeff Francis (1-2, 7.27), 1:10 p.m., ROOT
Friday: Rockies' Jon Garland (3-2, 4.75) at Cardinals' Shelby Miller (4-2, 1.96), 6:15 p.m., ROOT