History was made for the Colorado Rockies franchise on Tuesday afternoon in the team’s road game with Houston.
In their 2-1, 11-inning loss to the Astros at Minute Maid Park, Colorado’s initial extra-inning game of the season, the Colorado Rockies used for the first time the “extra-innings rule” that was implemented by Major League Baseball for the 2020 campaign.
With the extra-innings rule, beginning in the 10th inning (of a scheduled nine-inning game), each team will start its at-bat by placing a runner at second base. The placed runner will be the player in the batting order immediately preceding the scheduled leadoff hitter for the team’s at bat.
As long as the game remains tied, successive innings will be conducted in the same manner until a winning team is determined.
For scoring purposes, if the runner who is placed at second base to start a team’s at-bat scores, then that run will be unearned for purposes of determining a pitcher’s or team’s earned run average.
The Rockies-Astros game, which entered the 10th inning scoreless, provided some drama in the extra frames.
Colorado actually jumped in front 1-0 in the first additional inning as Raimel Tapia’s two-out single to center field drove in Trevor Story for the game’s first run. Story had started the inning as the runner placed at second base and had moved to third base on a fly ball.
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Houston, however, matched the Rockies’ tally with one of its own in the bottom of the 10th off Colorado reliever Yency Almonte.
Yuli Gurriel’s single to start the Astros’ 10th inning moved placed runner Alex Bregman to third base. Bergman then crossed the plate on a one-out sacrifice fly by Kyle Tucker.
Ironically, each half of the 11th inning was almost a mirror image of the other — minus one big difference.
With both McMahon and Hilliard in scoring position, Garrett Hampson and Story struck out to end the Rox threat.
Meanwhile, in the Astros portion of the inning with Colorado reliever Jairo Diaz on the mound and placed runner Abraham Toro at second base, an intentional walk to pinch-hitter Carlos Correa put runners at first and second base to open the at bat.
Another Houston pinch-hitter, Garrett Stubbs, then advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt.
With runners at second and third bases, Myles Straw then ended the contest with a single to left field to drive in Toro with the game-winner.
Here is what Colorado manager Bud Black had to say Wednesday afternoon about the extra-innings rule after his team’s 11-inning setback Tuesday with Houston:
"“I sort of like it. I have watched other games take place and I have watched a runner placed on second in the 10th. Actually, it adds a little juice right away in extra innings. My initial thoughts were from a purist standpoint, but now I have embraced it for this season. I will watch it again as we go through the rest of this year and all of baseball. My initial impressions have been positive on this.”"
While the Rockies’ first experience with the extra-innings rule resulted in a loss, it will be interesting to see how the club might approach any future contests this season that require extra innings to decide a winner.