What a way finish last night. I think that has to be one of the most exciting endings to a Rockies game that I’ve attended in person. As my friends and I were walking into the stadium last night all anyone could mention was how excited they were to be back at one of the best places in the world to see a baseball game, Coors Field.
Taveras got on and stole a base, eventually getting driven in by Holliday who seemed ready to drop out of his slump. Francis pitched pretty well, only getting hit hard in the fourth when he gave up two runs, but it seemed like he couldn’t get into a solid rhytym. Maybe it was the weather? It had to be around 40 degrees with a breeze for most of the game. It wasn’t optimal baseball weather, but I think one of the guys sitting in front of us summed it up best when he said “at least we’re not shoveling snow off the seats.”
The game went late with the rookies all playing pretty well. Baker pinch hit for Francis in the sixth, got a double and is now 2 for 2 on the season. Tulo and Ianetta both lined out a couple times but they came through when it mattered (we’ll get to that in a second) and both Corpas (The Panimaniac) and Ramirez tossed another scoreless inning.
Fuentes looked good, even getting a strikeout when he threw in the top of the ninth. Kim looked good for the first two batters, then walked one and hit one and luckily got out of the inning only giving up one run. Hawkins really didn’t look solid. I feel like he can bring the heat and throw the fastball, but it seems like he can’t really locate it and I think he was lucky to not give up another rally last night.
After Kim gave up the run to put Arizona up 3-2, it was maybe 40 degrees and we were among maybe 2,000 people still at the stadium. (Remarkably, there was a solid group of about 25-30 people sitting in the Rockpile right up until the end. Helton and Holliday both got on with singles, and super utility man Jamey Carrol got on the field for the first time this season, pinch-running for Helton at second. Hawpe hit into a double play, but Carrol was able to advance to third. Now there’s two outs, we have a runner on third, and up comes our rookie shortstop to face Arizona’s closer who struck out the side in the ninth the previous night. Tulo works the count for a couple pitches and finally connects. He drives it to deep right field, and it ends up hitting Eric Byrnes in the heel of the glove. (None of us realized this until we called a friend after the game) Tulo slid into second with an RBI double that scored the tying run. Ianetta steps up to the plate, and the few people remaining are pumped. My friend Zac called Ianetta with the walkoff in the bottom of the ninth which didn’t happen, but he had another chance to put it away with Tulo on second. Ianetta laced a ball between third base and short, and Tulo strode in to score, beating the ball home by three or four steps. The only way this worked was the smart baseball play Ianetta made by sliding into first. The throw was over the first baseman’s head and he got pulled off the bag, almost made the tag but Ianetta got in and the game was over. The Rockies had won their first extra innings game of the season. The team caught up with Tulo at home plate and celebrated for a few seconds before heading for the locker room to get out of the cold. My friends and I went crazy, even high-fiving a bunch of Coors employees on the way out of the stadium. The win made the long cold walk back to the car completely worht it.
In conclusion, our leadoff, third and fifth batters are 3 for 27 after the first two games, and Taveras has like six strikeouts. The good news is our 6,7,8 slots have been solid so far, and I think we’re all confident Atkins and Holliday will come around. Taveras could be splitting time with Finley in center soon, but we’ll see what happens in the next couple of weeks. I think the starting pitching will be fine, and I look for our pitchers to be throwing even better in a couple of weeks when there won’t be a night game at this temperature.