Diaz, who had been struggling recently since opening the season with three saves in the team’s first 12 games, found himself with runners on first and third and only one out and Giants’ leadoff hitter Austin Slater coming to bat.
But, in this instance, Diaz rose to the occasion.
He induced Slater to bounce into an around the horn (5-4-3) double play to end the contest. The save for Diaz was his fourth of the year but first since Aug. 6 in the Rockies’ 6-4 win, ironically, against the Giants at Coors Field.
Gonzalez, making his final scheduled start of the season, lauded Diaz for his outing on the mound as well as the play of the entire team.
"“Everyone played great today from defense to offense,” Gonzalez said. “We stayed in it the whole game. (We) grinded. I grinded from pitch one. I am happy. That’s what’s this team is about is grinding until it’s the last out.” Added the right-hander: “Very, very happy with Jairo. Coming in, keeping calm, keeping his composure and being able to do that with a man on second and no outs. It’s very tough. “Mac (Ryan McMahon) made some great plays (at third base) for me today and with Jairo as well. Made the decision to go to two, made the double play (with Garrett) Hampson. That energy was great. We’re going to take that into tomorrow and we’re going to finish the season strong.”"
While the pitching and defense performed well, Colorado’s offense came up with 13 hits and rallied from its 3-0 early deficit to take a 4-3 lead after seven innings.
Four hits in the fourth inning provided a pair of runs with the final one coming via a single from Raimel Tapia with two out — a situation the Rox have had their problems in converting throughout the year.
Charlie Blackmon had an RBI groundout in the seventh inning before Josh Fuentes put Colorado ahead 4-3 with another two-out hit in the inning.
In the pivotal 11th inning, Sam Hilliard’s grounder to the right side moved Hampson, placed at second to start the inning, to third base. After pinch-hitter Matt Kemp drew a key walk on a 3-2 pitch, Tapia plated Hampson with a one-out sacrifice fly.
If not but for one game, the Rockies showed Thursday afternoon all facets of the game — pitching, hitting, and defense — plus the ability to come from behind then put away an opponent when the opportunity afforded.
A winning formula that, unfortunately, has not been evident nearly enough for a season that could have been in 2020.