Jorge De La Rosa turned in his second very good outing in a row and even though the Rockies blew their 21st save of the season, Colorado’s offense exploded in extra innings in a 9-4 win against the Washington Nationals.
With one out in the top of the third, Charlie Blackmon turned on an inside pitch and launched it deep over the right-field fence to break the scoreless tie and put the Rockies up 1-0. It was Blackmon’s 22nd home run of the season
Nolan Arenado led off the top of the fourth with a single through the right side of the infield and David Dahl followed him up with a double down the left-field line, putting Rockies at second and third with nobody out. The hit also meant that Dahl has now hit safely in 28 of hi first 31 MLB games.
It looked for a moment like the Rockies were going to boot the inning away in their customary fashion when Gerardo Parra struck out and Nick Hundley popped up on the infield. But the Nationals gifted the Rockies a two-out run on a botched intentional walk to Daniel Descalso — a play that might not be possible next season if the rules are changed to make IBBs automatic. Arenado raced home to score the Rockies second run of the game, then the Rockies got what felt like their first clutch hit in weeks from an unlikely source … their starting pitcher.
De La Rosa slapped a single up the middle giving the Rockies a 3-0 lead. He now has a career-high four-game hitting streak.
Washington struck back in the bottom of the fourth, beginning the frame with some gorgeous pieces of hitting by Daniel Murphy and Bryce Harper, resulting in a single and double respectively. Harper’s double was misplayed slightly by Dahl but that ball was also absolutely scorched and knuckling in left field. Murphy scored the Nationals first run of the game on the play.
Anthony Rendon followed up with a single to centerfield moving Harper to third. The bold-bearded-one came in on a single to right off the bat of Wilson Ramos but was almost (hilariously) thrown out at the plate by Carlos Gonzalez
De La Rosa was able to settle down and induced a groundball that looked like it could have been turned into a double play, but a slow exchange from Descalso led to Ryan Zimmerman beating out the throw to first. De La got another ground ball, this time, to second, in the ensuing at-bat, but the grounder was too many steps to DJ LeMahieu‘s left and he was forced to make just the one out as the tying run came in to score. De La Rosa struck out his counterpart to end the inning, but the game was suddenly tied.
It remained tied until the top of the seventh when the Rockies employed a bit of brilliant small-ball. Blackmon led off with a single and LeMahieu laid down a beautiful bunt that turned into an odd error when pitcher Marc Rzepczynski underhanded the ball about 20 feet into the air, allowing Blackmon to advance to third.
Carlos Gonzalez scored Blackmon on a groundball to the second baseman then Dahl hit into a double play to end the threat meaning that both the tying and go-ahead runs had at least as much to do with Washington mistakes as Colorado’s execution.
De La Rosa finished the day with 5 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, and 8 K.
Jordan Lyles gave the Rockies a much-needed stretch of good relief pitching over 1.2 innings and Boone Logan looked dominant against the two hitters he faced including blowing Harper away on a nasty slider.
Ottavino fell victim to the exact same kind of harsh fate this bullpen has been experiencing mostly excepting him. But a one-out walk to Ben Revere — one of the fastest players in the game — came back to haunt Ottavino when Revere stole second and then ultimately (of course) scored on a two-out, two-strike flare single from Jayson Werth. The game was tied and the Rockies had blown yet another save.
Ottavino’s scoreless streak — stretching all the way back to September 7, 2014 — also came to an end. But Otto was able to strand Werth at third and keep the Rockies in the game.
It remained tied at four until the top of the 11th inning when the Rockies just exploded, mayhaps with anger over how poorly they have played in close games late.
Cristhian Adames reached on an error and then Blackmon hit his second home run of the game (24th of the year) on a ball at his eyes, left-on-left in an amazing display of hitting, putting the Rockies up 6-4.
Blackmon now has five multi-homer games this year and three this month.
After a single from LeMahieu that gave him the NL lead in batting average, Carlos Gonzalez smashed his 24th home run of the year and 200th of his career and in the span of three batters the game had gone from tied to 8-4, Rockies.
Arenado singled, Dahl doubled, their second and third hits of the game respectively, and Nick Hundley brought in one more run with a single before Tony Wolters and Adames ended the inning with a strikeout and a ground out. But the damage was done and the Rockies led 9-4.
Matt Carisiti recorded the final three outs and that was the ballgame.
By the Numbers
59 – With his 11th-inning home run, Charlie Blackmon now has 58 home runs when batting out of the lead-off spot over the last three years, nine more than second place in MLB.
7 – Jorge De La Rosa was cooking early and struck out seven hitters in the first three innings.
It’s still incredibly unlikely that the Rockies make a push back into the postseason hunt from here. They need to win more than 25 and lose less than 10 (conservatively) the rest of the way. But this is one win against a good team in the plus column.
It may also start to get the monkey off their back and begin to reinstill some faith that they can perform well late in close games.
The rubber match of the series will take place tomorrow as the second straight day game, beginning at 11:35 MST. Chad Bettis takes on a yet to be announced starter for the Nationals.