Kyle Freeland strikes out Brandon Belt to end the sixth inning and lets out a yell. Ian Desmond smacks a home run to give the Colorado Rockies the lead and vigorously pumps his fist. Nolan Arenado’s face looks like a kid at Christmas after Raimel Tapia’s walkoff game-winning single.
These Colorado Rockies are winning and they’re having fun doing it.
After a 5-1 decision over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday afternoon, the Rockies still have the lead in the National League West. They also have nine wins in 10 meetings against the Giants this season, including a franchise-record eight in a row. They got their ninth of the season in front of a sellout crowd at Coors Field on Saturday.
Oh, and by the way, it also pushed the Rockies to 16-4-3 in season series in 2017.
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The teams combined for 24 hits on Saturday and only two of those went for extra bases. Colorado’s lone extra-base hit was a bloop hustle double off the bat of pinch hitter Pat Valaika for their final run of the day. Yes, 13 of Colorado’s 14 hits on Saturday were singles.
These Rockies don’t need the long ball to win games. They’re finding ways to win with whatever the offense gives them.
"“We’re a very prideful group on both sides of the ball,” said Trevor Story, who had two hits and an RBI and has hit safely in five of his last six games. “We’re trying to be greedy. We’re trying not to give away at-bats. No matter what the score is, close or far ahead, we’re trying to take every bat like it’s our last.“We have a lot of different talents on the team. It’s pretty cool to be in an offense that’s not one-dimensional.”"
But it wasn’t just offense that sent the Giants lower in the standings. It was solid pitching from Freeland, who earned his eighth win of the season with six impressive innings. It was Carlos Gonzalez making a diving catch on the right field line to rob Buster Posey and keep San Francisco from scoring in the third.
If there was a downer on the day for the Rockies, it was that Arenado was tagged with his first error of the season in the second inning. However, one batter after bobbling Nick Hundley’s grounder, Arenado started a 5-4-3 double play that kept the Giants from grabbing any early momentum.
"“It was very rare to see Nolan not pick that one ball but he turned the page immediately and he had that barehand ground ball out that he got, which was incredible,” Freeland said. “Our entire infield and outfield is littered with Gold Gloves. They can make plays like CarGo did out in right.”"
Playing well on offense, defense and on the mound will often lead to victory, and the Rockies are doing a lot of winning right now, including 11 of their last 14 games. With Arizona and Los Angeles chasing the Rockies, this team knows each win is big and doesn’t mind showing it on their faces and in their actions.
"“We’re having fun out there,” Story said. “Winning is fun and that brings it out of you for sure.”"