Colorado Rockies morning after: Randal Grichuk slugs walkoff homer
By Duane DaPron
In a game of superlatives, Randal Grichuk of the Colorado Rockies delivered a pair of gems, including the crowning blow.
After knotting the game with a solo homer to cap a five-run eighth-inning rally, Grichuk ended the contest with a three-run walkoff blast with two out in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Colorado Rockies a wild 10-7 victory against the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday night at Coors Field.
The game-ending homer by Randal Grichuk was just one of many big moments in the extra-inning contest between the Colorado Rockies and Milwaukee Brewers.
Grichuk’s game-winner, a 457-foot shot to left field, ended a contest that started with a first-pitch temperature of 95 degrees — the highest for a September home game in franchise history eclipsing the previous high of 94 which had been matched just a day earlier — and concluded a comeback that saw the Rox (58-79) battle out of a 6-1 hole to match the team’s largest come-from-behind win of 2022.
Grichuk becomes the first Rockie in franchise history to slug a game-tying home run in the eighth inning or later and then hit a walkoff homer in the same contest. He is the first MLB player to accomplish the feat since Trey Mancini of the Baltimore Orioles did the same on June 7, 2017.
“Wow. That’s pretty cool. Thank you,” Grichuk replied when told by media after the game of his franchise first while duplicating the feat five years earlier by Mancini, who the Rockies outfielder called a “good dude.”
The Brewers (71-64) had taken a 7-6 lead in the top of the 10th inning off Rockies reliever Daniel Bard (4-4) on a first-pitch RBI double by Willy Adames, driving in placed runner Christian Yelich from second base.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Rockies responded in the same manner to tie the game as Yonathan Daza — who was seeing his first action after being activated off the injured list — lined a first-pitch double off Milwaukee reliever Taylor Rogers (3-7) to plate Ryan McMahon, the placed runner at second base.
C.J. Cron was issued an intentional walk to put runners at first and second bases before Charlie Blackmon grounded into a fielder’s choice with pinch runner Garrett Hampson being forced out at second base while Daza moved to third.
That set the stage for Grichuk’s pivotal at-bat. After quickly falling behind 0-2 to Rogers, he worked the count full against the Brewers lefthander.
“I definitely got a little aggressive early on, saw the sliders pop,” the veteran outfielder said. “Just kind of step out and breathe and said, ‘Obviously, he’s probably not going to try to come to me knowing that I just got to put the ball in the air and win the game. So, he’s just going to try to get me to swing and miss.’
“Luckily, I was able to see the ball,” Grichuk added. “(I) worked it back to 3-2 and then still said the same thing. See it deep. Make it be a strike and don’t do too much.’ Luckily, just kind of a perfect outcome. (I) just connected well.”
Grichuk’s two homers (his first multi-homer game with the Rox) were half of a season-high four swatted by the Rox in their fourth walkoff win of the season. For the Rosenberg, Texas, native, the walkoff hit was the fifth of his career and third career walkoff round-tripper.
While Grichuk may have had the game-winner, several other Rox made huge contributions to help Colorado win its second contest in its last seven.
Besides his game-tying double in the 10th inning, Daza — returning from a left shoulder dislocation — clubbed a three-run home run to center field in the Rockies’ eighth-inning eruption.
“No chance. I have no power,” Daza said during a humorous exchange with media postgame about what turned out to be his second home run of the season. “Happy. I was happy. Oh, it’s gone. I have never hit the ball to dead center in my life. So that feels good.”
Elehuris Montero and Alan Trejo, the eighth and ninth hitters in the order, also came up big.
Montero slugged his fifth homer of the season in the third for one of only two hits allowed by Milwaukee starter Brandon Woodruff in seven innings. The rookie’s second hit, a leadoff double, ignited the pivotal eighth inning rally.
Trejo notched a career-high three hits while driving in Montero with a single in the eighth.
“That was a good one,” Colorado manager Bud Black told media postgame about the victory. “That was a good one. You guys ask me all the time about big wins, emotional wins. Whether they come in Game 1, or whatever game (of the season) this is, it’s good. They’re all good.”
Before the Rockies late-game heroics, Woodruff’s pitching and a tape-measure leadoff home run by Yelich were paramount in helping Milwaukee build its 6-1 lead.
Yelich belted the fourth pitch of the game from Rox starter Chad Kuhl for a 499-foot shot to right field. The home run was the longest home run in the Majors in 2022 and the second-longest in Coors Field history, falling just 5 feet short of Giancarlo Stanton’s 504-foot blast on August 6, 2016, when Stanton was with Miami.
In the final game of the series between Milwaukee and Colorado at 1:10 p.m. (Mountain time) Wednesday, Kyle Freeland (7-9, 4.75 earned run average) is slated to face the Brewers’ Eric Lauer (10-6, 3.54).