Nolan Arenado ejected as Rockies fall to Marlins

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Rockies frustrating reached a fever pitch Saturday night in a 4-3 loss to Miami at Marlins Park.

MIAMI — Rockies frustration reached a fever pitch Saturday night in a 4-3 loss to Miami at Marlins Park.

All-star third baseman Nolan Arenado was ejected for throwing his bat to the ground in anger after striking out on a checked swing in the seventh inning. First-base umpire Pat Hoberg gave Arenado a quick thumb and Arenado raced down to first to plead his case.

No matter. The ejection stood and Arenado got tossed for just the third time in his career. He was replaced by Pat Valaika.

“I was mostly mad at myself, but I can see why he threw me out,” Arenado said. “I said some words I probably shouldn’t have said toward him, so I can see why I got thrown out.

“I was just more upset at my at-bats tonight, especially that last one. I got mad and he threw me out. I’m not surprised. I didn’t mean it toward him, but then I saw the replay and I can definitely see why he threw me out.”

Bench coach Mike Redmond, filling in for manager Bud Black, who was ill Saturday night, thought Hoberg made a mistake.

“He told me that he’s been instructed to do that when a guys throws his bat and then looks at him,” Redmon said. “I explained to him, in the calmest voice that I have, that I thought he was wrong. … But the damage had already been done.”

The overriding themes of the evening were the plight of the Rockies’ struggling offense, the jaw-dropping power of Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton and the Rockies’ mounting road woes. They fell to 30-30 away from home after losing for the 20th time in their last 26 road games.

Colorado went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and is 3-for-27 with runners in scoring position four games into a five-game road trip. There was one ray of good news. Carlos Gonzalez collected his first RBI on the road since May 24 when he grounded out to second in the eighth, chasing home Mark Reynolds, to cut Miami’s lead to 4-3.

Rockies infield prospect Ryan McMahon made his big-league debut in the eighth with two outs and runners at first and second, but he flew out to center fielder Christian Yelich.

Asked about his team’s recent performance with runners in scoring position, Arenado  said: “Not good. We have to do better, all of us, including myself. I had a chance to drive in runs yesterday and again today. Everyone, from top to bottom, we need to be better.”

Stanton blasted a three-run, speed-of-light homer off starter’s  Jeff Hoffman’s  hanging slider in the fourth, giving the Marlins a 4-1 lead. It was Stanton’s eighth homer in nine games and his 20th in his last 32 games. The ball came off his bat at 114 mph and Colorado left fielder Gerardo Parra barely moved as the ball sailed over his head.

“With as hot as he is, you can’t afford to make a mistake like that,” Hoffman said.

Meanwhile, the National League wild-card race continues to get muddier as September nears. Colorado entered the night as the NL’s top wild-card team, with a one-game edge over Arizona. Streaking St. Louis won its eighth consecutive game and has entered the picture as a challenger for either the NL Central title or a wild-card berth. The Cardinals are just 4 ½ games behind the Rockies.

Hoffman was gone after five so-so innings, having surrendering four runs on seven hits, with three walks and only one strikeout. Redmond praised Hoffman for the way he “battled,” but acknowledge that Hoffman didn’t have his best stuff.

Hoffman’s command was clearly off kilter even in the third inning when the Marlins loaded the bases on singles by Stanton, Christian Yelich and a four-pitch walk to J.T. Realmuto, who took exception to a fastball near his head and stared Hoffman down. But Hoffman escaped by getting Derek Deitrich to fly out to center, keeping the game tied 1-1.

Colorado scored first, in the first. Charlie Blackmon (4-for-5) led off with a single and stole second base, his 10th swipe this season. Blackmon took third on a fly out and scored on Mark Reynolds’ single.

Miami knotted the game in the bottom of the frame on a screeching double by Stanton, a walk by Yelich, a Hoffman wild pitch and an RBI groundout by Marcell Ozuna.

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