It was a sloppy game at times against the Texas Rangers, but also amazing, thrilling, spectacular, confusing and history making.
Ultimately it was also a 12-9 victory for the Colorado Nine, salvaging the final game in the series and finally overcoming their late-inning demons against the Rangers.
Speaking of demons …
Charlie Blackmon continues his Freddy Krueger-like relentless terror on the Rangers (they see him in their dreams) taking the second pitch of the game deep … way deep … for a 455-foot home run over the centerfield wall. It was his longest home run of the year and the eighth time he’s done it to lead off a game, putting him within striking distance of the National League record (12) and the MLB record (13).
But in the third, the Rockies finally came up with some big hits with runners on.
DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado began the frame with back-to-back singles and Mark Reynolds drove both men in on a double that got by right-fielder Shin-Soo Choo. Reynolds came around to score on a Descalso single and the Rockies led 4-0 early … which was a bad omen for anyone who has been watching this team lately.
Chad Bettis worked through the first two innings with that one-run lead but was already starting to give up some solid contact. The third inning was a nightmare for Bettis. It took him 34 pitches to get the third out but not before surrendering three runs on five hits, cutting the Rockies lead to one and shortening his day considerably.
The Rockies struck back immediately, though.
Tony Wolters began the fourth with a line-drive double which was followed by an RBI-double into shallow right from Blackmon. The Rockies lead-off hitter/center fielder has multiple hits in five of his last six games, including each of his last four.
Blackmon was moved over on a flyball to right off the bat of DJ LeMahieu and came in to score on a Nolan Arenado sinking line drive that looked like it would be a hit but ended up as a sac fly.
But if Blackmon is Freddy Krueger, the entire Rangers team is Jason Voorhees; they just won’t die. The architects of Bettis’ nightmarish third were at it again in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Ian Desmond knocked a solid single and Rougned Odor got extra bases on a pitch out of the strike zone for the second time in the game, taking high Bettis fastball even higher over the centerfield wall. And it was a one-run game … again.
Bettis was able to gut through the fifth inning but at 110 pitches his day was done. His final line: 5 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 3 BB 2 K. This breaks a streak of six straight games where Bettis had gone at least six innings.
Then there were two whole innings of peace.
The Rockies got a much-needed insurance run in the seventh when LeMahieu came in on an infield single that Adames just barely beat out. Adames had just entered the game for Reynolds who had to be removed after injuring himself swinging at an inside fastball.
Beltre took a curveball from Rusin to the opposite field over the right-field wall to make it a one-run game. It was the 431st home run of Beltre’s career, moving him into a tie with Cal Ripken Jr. for 47th most all time.
One pitch later, Mitch Moreland homered to center and the game was tied.
Scott Oberg replaced Rusin and didn’t fare much better, giving up a single to Jurickson Profar, walking Nomar Mazara, and surrendering the go-ahead double to Elvis Andrus. Oberg got a big strikeout of Robinson Chirinos but Demond beat out a would-be double play to make the score 9-7 in favor of the Rangers.
Now, stop me if this sounds familiar; the Rockies struck right back. (This was seriously ridiculous.)
The Rockies offense spoke loudly with a clear voice in the eighth inning, “we have had enough.”
Things began innocuously enough, as they so often do in baseball, with a Ryan Raburn walk and a Wolters RBI single to bring the Rockies within one after Raburn had advanced on a wild pitch. Blackmon came through again with a single that moved Wolters to third. LeMahieu laid down a sac bunt to move Blackmon to second, leaving first base open which meant an intentional walk to Arenado.
David Dahl — who had broken the franchise record and tied the MLB record for consecutive games with a hit to begin a career earlier in the game — continues to show mental fortitude far beyond his years and drew a two-out, bases loaded walk to tie the game.
Jake McGee worked the eighth inning and to the surprise of just about everyone, did not allow a run.
Adam Ottavino pitched easily the best inning of relief pitching the Rockies have seen in a long time, striking out the side in order on 15 pitches to secure his first save of the season.
Highlight of the Game
— MLB (@MLB) August 11, 2016
Retire the Gold Glove award.
Player of the Game
Carlos Gonzalez. Hard to give Player of the Game to a guy who only had one at-bat, especially considering how much happened in this game. But it was the big blow and CarGo’s double still gave him the Rockies lead in RBI for the game.
Charlie Blackmon is 1a with four hits, two RBI, and three runs scored.
This game could have sunk the season. It did not. That is the big picture. The Rockies offense has to be feeling good after scoring 12 runs on 15 hits on the road.
Games this crazy can get tricky to read too much into but the bottom line is that the Rockies could not afford to blow another game late. They kind of did again, but they finally threw the last punch of a slugfest and can feel like they have something to build on heading into Philly.
The Rockies are off to Philadelphia for a three-game set with the Phillies. Game 1 will be a battle of rookies. Jon Gray is looking to get back on track for Colorado after allowing eight runs to the Dodgers in his last outing. Before that, Gray had taken a strong lead in the Rockies “ace” debate.
On the other side, Jake Thompson will be making just the second start of his MLB career, he was knocked around for six runs over just 4 1/3 innings on Saturday against the Padres at Petco. Tomorrow will be Thompson’s first home game.
First pitch is at 5:05 MST.