The great thing about being a Rockies fan is that no matter how badly the boys are playing in a given year, you can always count on a handful of games like this. In recent years, the “clubhouse chemistry” the front office can’t stop talking about has led to times when nobody can get a hit, which leads to more nobody getting a hit, which leads to lots of nobody getting a hit (see: Monday afternoon). But the flip side is that every so often things just break open, and hits breed more hits and more and more and more. You can’t really draw any legitimate conclusions about anybody based on games like this, but you can sit back and enjoy them, and that’s what you should do.
Where to start? Perhaps with Carlos Gonzalez‘s RBI triple in the 1st inning, a ball he pounded the other way on a pitcher’s count. That’s the kind of at-bat we need him to have. Too often, he will foul off a handful of pitches and then get too confident about where he thinks the next one will come, swing well through it, and take a seat. This time, he paid attention and it paid off. No doubt he had already picked up on the fact that Tim Lincecum was not himself, which seems to happen more and more these days. He’s the kind of pitcher that you can’t touch when he’s on, and you really shouldn’t try. But when he’s not on, take advantage, and that’s what the Rockies did.
It’s worth noting that Cargo even went on to score on the contact play, an RBI groundout by Troy Tulowitzki with nobody else on base. I generally frown on running in that situation, but when people score runs I’m not going to quibble with how they do it.
Cargo even tripled again in the 3rd, his first career 2-triple game. That one drove in a run as well, because Dexter Fowler also got hits in this game. And Cargo pulled that ball with authority. It’s never a bad thing to see him hit to all fields in a game. He then scored on a wild pitch, of which Lincecum threw two. He was yanked with the bases loaded and one out in the 3rd, the shortest outing of his career, with a 12.91 ERA so far on the season. Which may have been the most wonderful thing about this game.
Unfortunately, he did not take the loss, because Rockies pitchers had issues of their own. Jeremy Guthrie allowed 5 baserunners in the first 3 innings, but he kept any of them from scoring, and he had a 6-0 lead going into the 4th. That inning began with back-to-back home runs by Nate Schierholtz and Brandon Crawford, and given the fact that about half our pitchers are prone to giving up strings of homers, that’s cringeworthy. Guthrie only recorded one out in the inning and allowed 4 runs. He was saddled with 2 more when Matt Reynolds allowed inherited runners to score, and then Reynolds earned one of his own. Just like that, the Rockies were down 7-6.
Of course, in a game like this, the lineup will come through, and it did. They got 4 hits and 3 runs off Guillermo Mota in the bottom of the 4th and never lost the lead again. There was also a failed contact play, because it wouldn’t be a Rockies game without one, but I’m not going to make as big a deal out of those things as I do in games that are miserable losses. Those little mistakes still matter, but you can get away with them in a game like this.
Reynolds recovered, and Matt Belisle was great in the 6th. Tyler Chatwood came into the game in the 7th and actually earned the save on account of pitching the final 3 innings. He gave up a lead-off homer to Schierholtz as well, but after that he kept the Giants scoreless. Meanwhile, the Rox kept tacking on runs. In the 5th, they scored 7, on the back of 7 hits, 4 for extra bases. Eric Young Jr. led off with a hit and stole a base, then hit an RBI triple after the lineup batted around. Fowler hit a sacrifice bunt. Tulo grounded out but there was only 1 out so he didn’t end the inning. Ramon Hernandez singled and went all the way to 3rd on a missed catch error at first base. This allowed Hernandez to score when Chris Nelson came to the plate and doubled. What do all of these things have in common? They don’t happen much. They certainly don’t happen all in the same inning. Good job guys.
Of course, these are still the Rockies, so are we looking at another 3-hit shut-out tonight? Perhaps. And Jamie Moyer tries once again to be the oldest starter in major league history to win a game, so if that happens it will really be too bad. I think, though, this early in the season, I will try to hold off on the pessimism, just enjoy the rout and be glad that it happened.
Moyer takes the hill for the Rox against Madison Bumgarner for the Giants this afternoon at Coors.