Colorado Rockies Walk Off: 6-5 against San Francisco

Sep 7, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies pinch hitter Cristhian Adames (18) is surrounded by teammates as they celebrate his walk off double against the San Francisco Giants at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 7, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies pinch hitter Cristhian Adames (18) is surrounded by teammates as they celebrate his walk off double against the San Francisco Giants at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

The Colorado Rockies faced off with the San Francisco Giants for the final time at Coors Field in 2016 on Wednesday night. It was a beautiful night for baseball in LoDo with a classic Denver sunset glowing above the field for much of the night.

Jorge De La Rosa took the mound for the Rockies facing off with Albert Suarez. Neither pitcher dominated so it became a battle of the bullpens. The teams used a combined 13 pitchers in the game, but in the end it was the Rockies capitalizing on a wild ninth-inning comeback to win the game 6-5.

Here is how it happened:

Rockies walk off

The good guys entered the bottom of the ninth trailing the Giants 5-3 and were facing Santiago Casilla, who owned a 3.21 ERA and 31 saves on the season. The Rockies, however, weren’t intimidated as noted Giant killer Nolan Arenado was able to come through to leadoff the inning turning on a 1-2 pitch and sending it into the left field bleachers.

David Dahl was then caught looking, but Tom Murphy nailed a line drive to center to put the tying run on first.

This is where things got wild. Walt Weiss elected to bring Charlie Blackmon in to pinch hit for Stephen Cardullo and rookie Pat Valaika in to pinch run for Murphy at first base. Bruce Bochy countered by turning to left-handed Josh Osich, which backfired as Osich lost control and plunked Blackmon, putting the tying run in scoring position.

The chess game between managers continued as Weiss brought in Nick Hundley in to pinch-hit for Daniel Descalso, forcing Bochy to bring Joe Nathan into the game. Hundley was able to bloop one to left center that just dropped in for a hit and load the bases.

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With the pitcher’s spot up next, Weiss opted to give Cristhian Adames one of the biggest opportunities of his life. Adames did not disappoint, sending a ball sailing off the right field wall just out of reach of Hunter Pence, who tumbled into the wall allowing the Rockies to score two easily, and a party erupted at second base.

To wrap it up, the Rockies used three pinch hitters and one pinch runner, and the Giants used three different relievers. Clearly, this was a game that would have been played differently prior to the roster expansion.

Rockies capitalize on the long ball

Aside from Adames’ two-run double and a first-inning RBI single by Dahl, the Rockies scored on solo bombs. Arenado came through in the clutch against the Giants yet again. His solo shot in the bottom of the ninth was his 19th homer against San Francisco and added his impressive resume of torching the Giants.

The rookies also came through for the Rockies. Tom Murphy hit his second home run of the year in only 11 at bats. David Dahl hit one into the second deck in right field measured at 443 feet. Dahl and Murphy’s home runs were back-to-back in the fourth inning.

De La Rosa struggles

Jorge fought valiantly tonight, but clearly did not have his best stuff. Although he managed six innings, he was consistently hit around. The Giants lit him up for five runs centered around homers by Brandon Belt and Gorkys Hernandez. They had nine hits to go along with one walk. That’s a lot of traffic, even by DLR’s standards.

The Rockies bullpen did not silence the Giants bats but did not allow a run as Justin Miller, Jake McGee and Jordan Lyles combined for three scoreless innings, scattering four hits and one walk. The trio kept getting key outs to keep the Rockies in the game.

Random Notes

As hypothesized by Kevin earlier today, Blackmon was able to enter the game tonight as a pinch hitter. He could be ready to return to the lineup for the upcoming road trip. Hopefully being hit by a pitch and running the bases did not bother his back and he can return to the lineup tomorrow in San Diego.

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Valaika appeared in his second career major league game, again as a late-inning pinch runner. This time, he came all the way around to score the tying run. It was his first career run, and the play ended with a walk-off party. If that’s not a memorable career achievement, I don’t know what is. Congrats to Pat!

The Giants used nine pitchers in the game. Suarez was able to navigate five innings, allowing only three runs. From this point, Bruce Bochy wore the grass out between the dugout and the mound, calling on eight different pitchers in the next 3.1 innings.

Gerardo Parra left the game in the first inning after stretching to try to get the out for his third baseman, Arenado, who had made an absolutely amazing dive and throw to almost retire Hunter Pence.

The Giants lead in the Wild Card continues to shrink. After losing the series to the Rockies, they are only 0.5 games ahead of the Cardinals and Mets in the Wild Card race.

Next: 10 Things to Watch with the Rockies in September

The Rockies will head out on a seven-game road trip against the Padres and the Diamondbacks. If they are going to make a run at an unlikely Wild Card berth, this is their chance. Jeff Hoffman takes the mound for the Rockies tomorrow in what will be an important start. As I touched on in this week’s Purple Monday, a spike in his ability to miss bats would be a huge improvement compared to his last start and a positive sign for his ability to compete at this level.