The Colorado Rockies won their first road game of the 2021 season on Tuesday night against the San Francisco Giants by a score of 7-5 in 10 innings.
The Rockies got a good start from starting pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez, who gave them five innings of three-run baseball, making it the 19th start of 23 that Rockies starters have allowed three runs or fewer.
Most of the bullpen pitched well too, as Ben Bowden, Robert Stephenson, Mychal Givens, and Carlos Estevez, combined to allow three hits and an unearned run (the extra-inning runner on second run) in four innings of work.
However, their chances of winning looked to be in doubt when closer Daniel Bard, who has allowed an earned run in four of his last five appearances with an ERA of 9.00 and an opponent batting average of .400 in those five appearances, allowed a home run to Brandon Crawford to tie the game at 4.
But in the 10th inning, with Yonathan Daza on second to start the inning (Raimel Tapia was the last out but with a double switch removing him from the game, they go to the previous batter before that for the baserunner and that was Daza).
Ryan McMahon was the second man to bat in the inning and he blasted the second pitch he saw from rookie Gregory Santos, a 93 MPH fastball that was middle-in, long into the night.
449 feet long, to be exact, over “Triple’s Alley” which is also known as “Death Valley,” into right-center field, the deepest part of the park.
Ryan McMahon and C.J. Cron both homered in the 10th inning to cap off the eventual 7-5 win for the Rockies
When McMahon spoke with the media, including Rox Pile, after the game, here’s how he described his at-bat.
"“After looking at (the pitcher Santos) in the dugout on video and everything like that, (I saw) he had a little cut-action on most of his stuff and his four-seamer (fastball) was pretty (fast),” said McMahon. “So, honestly, I was trying to go up there and swing and get a good pitch and get on top of it.“Honestly, I was just trying to pull it just because all of his stuff was coming in on me. I got really aggressive on that first pitch, swinging, probbably at a pitch I shouldn’t have swung at, but it felt good, I felt good with how I was going and then, I just made sure I got back to the middle of the plate and he made a mistake and I didn’t miss it.”"
As a result, his teammates named him the “player of the game.” While on Zoom with Bud Black (about 10-15 minutes before McMahon), audible cheering was heard and they were celebrating the victory.
Chi Chi Gonzalez, who was first after Bud Black, said that they awarded McMahon the player of the game award. Despite being tied for the MLB lead in home runs, McMahon was not named the player of the game this year or at all last year so he never had been named it before by his own teammates.
They only award it when they win, and whenever McMahon has homered in 2021, they have lost.
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He described the feeling of that to the media.
"“I don’t think they (his teammates) know (about all of his homers coming in losses) but I definitely noticed,” said McMahon. “You know, it didn’t feel good. I mean, obviously, I was happy [for myself, but not for my team]. I was hitting home runs but hitting [homers] in wins definitely feels 100 times better.”"
So what does the player of the game ceremony and celebration entail?
McMahon described it for us.
"“We’ve got a little ‘win’ song,” said McMahon. “I don’t know exactly (what the name) of the song is, but it’s a good song that gets everyone going–I know the words but I’d have to hear the beat (to remember them)–then Chuck (Charlie Blackmon) gets up there and talks about who did well, like honorable mentions tonight was Chi Chi (and Garrett) Hampson … So we do that and then, we say the player of the game and turn the music up very loud and kind of jump around and celebrate a little bit.”"
The winner, in this case, McMahon, is then awarded a “chain.” McMahon wanted to show it off but he forgot to grab it from the clubhouse before coming to talk with the media on Zoom.
In addition to forgetting to grab the chain to show off, McMahon was so happy about it that, even thought it only happened less than 15 minutes earlier, he said that he didn’t really remember what happened after they named him the player of the game.
“I don’t really remember what happened (after that),” said McMahon, “I just kind of started yelling. I was really excited. … Yeah, [I] kind of blacked out. That’s for sure.”
If the Rockies can win tonight, it will be the first time since September 5th and 6th of last year against the Dodgers that the Rockies will have won two in a row on the road.
They will have German Marquez on the mound for them facing left-handed pitcher Alex Wood, the former Dodgers pitcher, for the Giants.
Editor’s Note: On Wednesday afternoon, Rockies relief pitcher Robert Stephenson told Rox Pile in a pre-game Zoom call that the song McMahon was referring to was “The Business” by Tiësto.