The ball just did not bounce the Colorado Rockies way on Tuesday night. In the ninth inning, quite literally. After taking a tough 4-3 loss, the Rockies are now just one game up on the Milwaukee Brewers for the second National League Wild Card spot.
Pablo Sandoval got things started with a swinging bunt that rolled softly up the third base line giving nobody a chance to make a play. Then Ryder Jones went to lay down presumably a sac bunt but pushed it past a crashing Nolan Arenado and wound up with their second straight infield hit and the third incredibly impactful one of the game. Kelby Tomlinson followed with a jam-shot single to right and Hunter Pence delivered the walk-off sac fly, handing the Rockies one of their toughest losses of the season.
Charlie Blackmon got the Rockies on the board in the second with another historically significant hit in a season that has been chalk full of them. Trevor Story began the inning with a walk and Ian Desmond hit a single through the right side but Jonathan Lucroy struck out meaning German Marquez‘ sac bunt would leave Blackmon with two outs in the RBI opportunity. The Colorado center fielder came through though, as he so often has, smashing a double into the opposite field gap to put his club on top 2-0.
He became just the eighth player in Rockies franchise history to reach the 200-hit mark and the first since Matt Holliday in 2007. He is 19 hits shy of Dante Bichette‘s all-time Rockies hit record. Blackmon is the first player with at least 200 hits, 30 doubles, 10 triples, and 35 home runs since Stan Musial in 1949.
The Giants scratched out a run in the fourth, getting a leadoff infield single from Buster Posey despite a remarkable attempt from Story at shortstop on a dive-and-throw. Posey was put in motion during the ensuing Brandon Crawford at-bat and if paid off, keeping him out of a would-be double play. After Marquez struck out Jarret Parker, he left a fastball up that Pablo Sandoval was incredibly late on but just managed to keep it fair, hitting a ground ball just inside the third baseline to score Posey.
San Francisco took the in the fifth after Marquez allowed his counterpart, Johnny Cueto, to get his second hit of the game, again on a fastball he swung late on but still hit hard. Hunter Pence backed that single up with a monster home run deep over the center field wall to give swing the score in the Giants favor from 2-1 to 3-2.
Marquez wasn’t quite as sharp as he has looked at his best but this was a better outing than his last five, really throwing just one bad mistake pitch, the other two coming down more to a bit of bad luck but also a bit of pitch selection. The curveball looked much better, in particular. It was the fastball that gave up the runs in this one.
His final line: 6 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K.
Other than the Blackmon double in the second, the Rockies were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position including Nolan Arenado striking out immediately following a one-out double from Carlos Gonzalez in the eighth. But Gerardo Parra put together one of the finest at-bats of the season, fighting off eight tough pitches from Hunter Strickland before finally turning on a fastball, doubling down the right-field line and tying the game at three.
Posey put the Rox in a tight spot in the bottom of the eighth with a one-out double of his own, but DJ LeMahieu made a terrific defensive stop against Crawford to not only keep Posey from scoring but make the second out of the inning:
— MLB (@MLB) September 20, 2017
Pat Neshek was able to escape the inning without the run scoring.
Colorado fell to 82-69. There are 11 games left in the season. Tyler Chatwood gets the ball on Wednesday afteroon to face Matt Moore. First pitch at 1:45 local time.