Jul 21, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies center fielder C. Blackmon (19) in the dugout before the game against the Texas Rangers at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
The Colorado Rockies welcomed the Cincinnati Reds to Denver and Coors Field for the first of a three-game series over the weekend.
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The Colorado Rockies overcame deficits of 3-0, 4-3, and a 5-5 tie after a ninth inning blown save to win 6-5 on a wild pitch walk-off run scored by Charlie Blackmon in the bottom of the ninth inning over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night.
Eddie Butler started strong for the Rockies, tossing three scoreless innings on less than 30 pitches, before running into trouble in the top of the fourth inning. In that inning, he allowed three doubles — highlighted by a two-on, two-out 2-RBI double from Ivan DeJesus, that put the Reds up 3-0.
But to his credit, Butler settled down after the fourth, and he ended up going six full innings, allowing just those three runs on six hits and three walks while striking out three Reds’ hitters and getting 10 groundouts against just three flyouts.
The Rockies would pick up Butler, too, scoring three runs across the fifth and sixth innings off Reds’ starter Anthony DeSclafani.
In the fifth, Nick Hundley‘s triple to right center field scored Ben Paulsen, and that was followed up by a line drive single from Charlie Blackmon that scored Hundley. Then, with Eddie Butler (he had earned his first career hit on a bunt just two batters before) on second base and Blackmon on first, DJ LeMahieu crushed a ball off the wall in the corner of right field.
Butler tripped rounding third, and tripped again halfway to home plate, and was thrown out on what would’ve easily scored two runs — because of Butler’s trip, Charlie Blackmon had to go back to third base. Troy Tulowitzki popped out to end the inning then, and the Rockies got the game to 3-2 but wasted a great opportunity to score more runs.
In the bottom of the sixth, Carlos Gonzalez hit a no-doubt home run to right field to tie the game at three runs apiece, giving the Rockies new life heading to the final third of the game.
That score would hold until the top of the eighth inning, when Skip Schumaker hit a ground-rule double to score Marlon Byrd off reliever LaTroy Hawkins — ending his scoreless appearances streak at nine games and giving the Reds another lead, this time at 4-3.
In the bottom of the eighth, though, Carlos Gonzalez crushed another home run — this time off JJ Hoover — and the Rockies re-tied the game. Then, after Nolan Arenado doubled and worked his way to third base, Paulsen hit a sacrifice fly to bring him home and give the Rockies a 5-4 lead entering the ninth inning.
In the top of the ninth, though, struggling Rockies’ closer John Axford gave up a solo home run to Joey Votto that immediately re-tied the game at five runs apiece, blowing yet another save and allowing more runs during his recent cold streak on the mound after such a strong start to the season.
In the bottom of the ninth inning with one out, Blackmon bunted for a base hit and then stole second base. He moved over to third base on a groundout by LeMahieu, and with two outs, found himself 90 feet away from a walk-off win with Tulowitzki coming to the plate.
On the very first pitch Tulo saw, Reds’ reliever Ryan Mattheus threw a fastball 57 feet, and it bounced away from the plate allowing Blackmon to score the winning run on the wild pitch walk-off.
The Rockies and Reds resume their series Saturday evening in Denver, and then finish it Sunday afternoon. After this weekend, the Rockies will head to Chicago and St. Louis for a Midwestern road trip through the NL Central.