On Sunday Juan Nicasio was the starting pitcher for the Colorado Rockies as they looked to salvage a split in a four-game home series against the San Diego Padres. Inconsistent at times this year, Nicasio had his secondary pitches, especially his slider, working as well as he has all season. Paired with his excellent fastball he looked outstanding, taking a perfect game into the 6th inning.
Does that sound like the kind of game that was ever in doubt? Does that sound like the kind of game where the Rockies would need a heroic late comeback and extra innings to get the win?
No it doesn’t, and yet that is exactly what happened. Once Nicasio lost the perfect game he surrendered two runs, making it 4-2. After that Edgmer Escalona, already struggling with a sore elbow, stubbed his toe and surrendered three runs (no word yet on the well-being of any water coolers, equipment bags, or other items in his path after his exit). Already down 5-4 the Rockies handed Matt Belisle the job of keeping the deficit at one run. Instead he gave up two runs, but that feels so strange to type that I would just rather not talk about it any further.
And so the Rockies found themselves down 7-4 in the bottom of the 9th inning and on the brink of an ugly series loss at home to their divisional foe. Tyler Colvin had his second RBI in as many days to make it 7-5. Then it was Carlos Gonzalez, in a two-strike count, who came up with the huge RBI double to tie the game up at 7. That moment, along with Dexter Fowler‘s walk-off single in the 10th inning, served as an appropriate illustration of the theme of the game.
When everything else goes wrong, you need your star players to step up and carry the day. Tulowitzki hit a home run, CarGo knotted up the game in the 9th, and Fowler had four hits including the game-winner. The bullpen faltered, the game got away from the Rockies, and yet their best players were able to take advantage of opportunities and snag a huge victory.
After the Rockies pounded the Padres to oblivion in the month of April things were bound to even out a little over time. Having said that, it is probably unacceptable to drop a series at home against them. The Rockies avoided that slip-up today and got a much-needed split with the Washington Nationals rolling into town this week.