DENVER – The Colorado Rockies really did not play a complete game for this entire series against the San Francisco Giants … and still managed to sweep them in four games.
Whether it was the starting pitchers giving up a ton of traffic, relievers looking shaky or the offense leaving men on base, the Rockies did not play anything close to their best brand of baseball. But that just speaks to how insanely talented this group of players is. They came back in a game where they looked lifeless, using four big swings in grand total, to put themselves 20 games over .500. They’ve only been 20 games or more over .500 for 17 days of their existence.
Chatwood got into some trouble right away in the first, walking Denard Span and giving up a one-out single to Brandon Crawford to put runners at first and third. The Rockies bailed him out with one of their best defensive plays of the season, especially considering how much improvisation was required by all three players involved:
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) June 18, 2017
Chatty also got a double play in the second and worked out of a jam in the third. He allowed five baserunners on three walks and two hits over the first three innings but managed to not allow a run.
Ironically, the first inning Chatwood did not let the lead-off man reach — the fifth — was the inning he finally got tagged. His fourth walk of the game, again to Span, led eventually to a two-run, opposite field home run from Crawford to break the scoreless tie and put the Giants on top 2-0.
He allowed a ton of traffic all day, but ultimately it was one swing on one pitch that hurt Chatty, and a six-inning, two-run performance at this ballpark usually gets your team a win.
Colorado broke their offensive drought in the sixth with a lead-off walk from DJ LeMahieu who scored on an RBI double from Nolan Arenado, his fifth double of this series. Arenado was stranded at second, though, when Mark Reynolds and Ian Desmond popped out and Carlos Gonzalez hit a weak grounder to second.
Chris Rusin pitched the top of the seventh to little fanfare either way, as has become his custom. He gave up one hit but also got a big strikeout to end the frame, lowering his ERA this season to 2.61.
The Rockies tied the game then took the lead on back-to-back solo home runs in the bottom of the seventh. Having left 11 men on base in the game, and having recorded 13 singles and one double in Saturday’s contest, it was pretty remarkable to see the two perfectly timed swings put this team over the top. Trevor Story absolutely smashed his 438 feet almost onto the concourse in left.
Pat Valaika followed up with the go-ahead, pinch-hit home run. We dubbed him Pat “Valatenight” earlier this season for his propensity to come through when it matters the most for this team and his did it again this afternoon. Pat Valateafternoon.
Jordan Lyles, with the Rockies up just one run, came on in the eighth despite his 6.98 ERA coming into the game. He struck out Buster Posey, got some help on a great play from Charlie Blackmon racing back to catch a Brandon Belt line drive in deep center, and got Austin Slater to pop up to Reynolds for a 1-2-3 inning.
Jake McGee was asked to pick up the save with Greg Holland unavailable (he’s thrown a ton of pitches this series) and walked Gorkys Hernandez before giving up a two-run, pinch-hit home run to Hunter Pence in the top of the ninth. It was the second blown save of the series for the Rockies. He was tagged for another run on a single from Joe Panik and a double from Crawford to make it 5-3 Giants. Carlos Estevez, who was called up today, came on to strike out Posey for the final out of the inning.
Pence had a miserable series, so that swing must have felt like a piece of vindication for him.
McGee has been phenomenal for the Rockies this season and has had a heavy workload already this series, but he simply has not made his pitches against the Giants and twice this series has been hurt by it. This game likely unfolds much differently if Colorado hadn’t blown a 9-1 lead in the first game of the series, using a lot of bullpen guys who were either unavailable or exhausted today.
But it all came down to the bottom of the ninth. Raimel Tapia, who came on in a double switch, got down 0-2 quickly and went into his signature crouch, fouling off a pitch that bounced to ultimately serve a soft single into center. Blackmon followed that with a single of his own and LeMahieu singled in Tapia to make it a one-run game, bringing Arenado to the plate, a home run shy of the cycle.
And homer is exactly what Arenado did in one of the most exhilarating moments in Rockies regular-season history, securing the 7-5 win. Unreal. We will have plenty more on this to come.
This was the scene after the game as the very first chants of “MVP, MVP” rose up from the home faithful:
— BSN Rockies (@BSNRockies) June 18, 2017
Arenado made his first error of the season in this series. Holland blew his first save. Colorado blew two of ’em. The Rockies starting pitchers couldn’t get past the sixth inning if they could even get there and Jordan Lyles was counted on to get important outs. The Giants brought the tying and winning runs to the plate in three of the four games and took the lead in this, but the home team never gave in, never gave up.
Colorado moved to 46-26 on the season. They are 44-0 when leading after seven innings. They remain in first place in the National League.