Beating the Washington Nationals 5-3 in the rubber match this Sunday afternoon, the Rockies have managed another series win against a division leader after being swept in three by the Milwaukee Brewers ... who do not lead their division.
Showcasing how good they can be at their best (again) the Rockies played a complete game of baseball highlighted by timely offense and good pitching.
The game started for the Rockies, as it so often does, with Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu getting on base. Blackmon singled and LeMahieu walked before Carlos Gonzalez hit a deep fly to center field that was caught but still moved the runner to third. Blackmon came in to score the game's first run on a soft single into left field from Nolan Arenado, showing the kind of adjustment to fit the situation that has so eluded the Rockies during their recent losing streak.
Nationals rookie starter Lucas Giolito was a strike away from escaping any damage in the third when he went to the high fastball one too many times against Arenado who deposited the pitch into the flower beds atop the left field wall, putting the Rockies up 3-1.
On the very next pitch, before anyone had a chance to catch their breath from the previous play, David Dahl smashed an opposite field home run to give the Rockies a 4-1 lead. It was already Dahl's fifth home run of the season and of his MLB career and also meant he has hit safely in 29 of the 32 games he has played at this level.
The Rockies held the three-run lead until the bottom of the seventh when Wilson Ramos took Chad Bettis deep to center field for his 20th home run of the season.
It was the second of two, and only two, runs scored on Bettis by the Nationals, the first also coming on a solo home run that led off the game from Trea Turner.
Chad Bettis' final line: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K. Two mistakes.
The Rockies got that run back in an odd fashion in the top of the eighth when, after doubling, Daniel Descalso scored on a two-base wild pitch. It appeared to be a cross up between Ramos and relief pitcher Koda Glover and the ball struck the home plate umpire, ricocheting off the net and allowing Descalso to score all the way from second.
Jordan Lyles was called upon to record one out and Boone Logan was asked again to get the Nationals tough lefties. He got Clint Robinson to fly out to right and retired Daniel Murphy on a grounder to LeMahieu. But Logan came out in the ninth to get the toughest lefty of them all, Bryce Harper, and the young phenom crushed his 23rd home run of the season to make it 5-3.
Adam Ottavino then came on for the three-out save and he recorded it with relative ease a day after blowing one. It was his second save of the year, coming with two eye-popping strikeouts.
By the Numbers
32 - Nolan Arenado's three RBI in this game give him 32 in the month of August which leads all of MLB. It's also the most by a Rockie in August since Todd Helton had 32 RBI in 2000.
35 - Nolan Arenado hit his 35th home run, tying Kris Bryant for the NL lead.
29 - David Dahl has hit safely in 29 of 32 MLB games. He has gotten on base in 30 of 32.
4 - Arenado had a four-hit day. He seems to be completely out of his recent funk.
110 - Nolan Arenado leads all of Major League Baseball with 110 RBI.
This looked like a loss on paper for the Rockies so coming out on top can only make them feel good. Who knows? Maybe the fact that the schedule continues to be difficult will only help the Rockies who seem to be able to rise to occasions like they did today but fail against far less talented competition.
The Rockies return home to Coors Field to face the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kenta Maeda will take on Jon Gray in the first game. First pitch at 6:40 MST.