If first impressions are any indication, then the initial appearances by outfielder Kevin Pillar and relief pitcher Mychal Givens are going to bode well for the Colorado Rockies.
Both Pillar and Givens were acquired by the Colorado Rockies this week prior to Monday’s trade deadline. Pillar came from the Boston Red Sox while Givens was with the Baltimore Orioles.
Each played key roles in Colorado’s come-from-behind 9-6 win Wednesday in the final game of a two-game set against National League West foe San Francisco at Coors Field.
After suffering a 23-5 shellacking to the Giants in the series opener on Tuesday, the Rockies quickly fell behind 4-0 after one inning and were down 6-1 after four innings in the rematch on Wednesday.
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After having just dropped three of four games to San Diego at Coors Field, it looked like the Rox were on course to finish the homestand with only one win in six games.
But with the offensive and defensive play of Pillar in the field and a solid, one inning of relief turned in by Givens, Colorado turned the tables and scored the game’s final eight runs to overcome its largest deficit in a come-from-behind win in more than two years.
The victory was the club’s first in 15 contests this season after having trailed after six innings of play (the Rockies were down 6-4 after six innings before a five-run seventh vaulted the team to the win).
Pillar saw his first action with Colorado on Tuesday against the Giants. Starting in center field, his initial outing with the team was nothing special. He went 0-for-3 at the plate in the Rockies one-sided loss.
But the series finale with San Francisco on Wednesday was a much different story for Pillar, an eight-year Major League veteran. Besides Boston, the West Hills, Calif., native has also had previous stops at Toronto and San Francisco.
After reaching base on a force play and then stealing second base in the fourth inning, Pillar picked up his first hit with Colorado with a single in the sixth.
In the top of the seventh, Pillar — noted for his defensive prowess — robbed the Giants’ Evan Longoria of extra bases by leaping to make a catch before crashing into the wall in centerfield with a San Francisco runner on board.
in the bottom of the seventh, Pillar had the big blow in Colorado’s five-run uprising — a triple to left-center field that drove in the tying and go-ahead runs. The game-winning RBI was his first of the season.
Sam Hilliard, who notched a career-tying three runs batted in Wednesday, including a two-run home run to cap the scoring in the big seventh-inning explosion, talked after the game about the importance of having a veteran like Pillar as a teammate.
"“I think he is a great addition,”Hilliard said. “He is a phenomenal defensive outfielder. The dude can swing it, too.“I haven’t got to talk to him that much, but we got to talking yesterday whenever we were shagging BP. He just said, ‘Hey, man, I am here for anything if you need anything. Don’t hesitate to come talk to me.’ It’s just a good feeling whenever a veteran would come up to you and say that, especially when you play the same position as the guy. So I plan on getting to hang out with him, talk to him. He seems like a great guy and a really smart baseball mind, too.”"
Meanwhile, in his first outing as a member of the Rockies on Wednesday, Givens tossed a scoreless seventh inning and was the benefactor of Pillar’s defensive gem in centerfield to end the frame.
As the pitcher of record after Colorado’s five-run blitz in the bottom of the seventh inning, Givens earned the win in his Rockies debut.
Manager Bud Black was impressed with what he saw from Givens following the right-hander’s 11-pitch (eight pitches for strikes) performance.
"“A good live arm, for sure,” Black said. “You saw up to 96 from that slot with some movement. I saw a good breaking ball. You didn’t see the change today, which is going to come into play as we move forward.”“Again, another guy with mound presence and calmness to him,” the manager added. “He has a quick arm. It’s good stuff. He has pitched in the back end of the bullpen over in Baltimore. He knows the deal so it’s good to have that presence back there.”"
Based on their inaugural appearances for the Rockies, both Pillar and Givens could play integral roles for the team in the final month of the regular season.