The Colorado Rockies offense won't be confused for a juggernaut after just one night. But every runaway force begins with a single step.
After narrowly edging out the lowly San Francisco Giants in the first game of the series, still struggling to string hits together and getting the win on the benefit of three ninth-inning walks, the Rockies finally busted out with some big hits in some big moments. Perhaps just as importantly, it wasn't just one hit but a sustained sixth-inning rally that saw the club keep the pressure on and get greedy for runs. They also scored in five different innings on their way to a 9-6 victory.
DJ LeMahieu started things by pulling a single through the left side. He scored on a gap double to left center field by Nolan Arenado who has needed a clutch hit as bad as anyone on the roster. It was his first RBI in five games and only his second game in the last 12 where he has tallied at least one run driven in. He tied Giancarlo Stanton atop the MLB leaderboards at 112. Mark Reynolds followed with a double of his own and scored on the Rockies third straight two-bagger, an opposite-field line drive from Ian Desmond. Desi came around on a single from Jonathan Lucroy and the Rockies had finally put together a rally. When the dust was settled, they had scored four runs in the frame and took a 6-1 lead.
LeMahieu's hit gave him a 13-game hitting streak and gives him sole possession of fourth place on the leaderboards for most hits in the National League.
Colorado used a mix of pitchers throughout the game, as was the intention going in, and despite a few rough patches, the strategy paid off. The proverbial Johnny Allstaff has a pretty good game with one big blemish in the eighth, almost blowing the lead.
Tyler Chatwood made his first start in over a month and immediately got into trouble in the first, giving up a one-out double to Joe Panik followed by a single to Buster Posey. But he induced a 4-6-3 double play to escape without allowing a run. Again he got off to a rough start in the second with a lead off, four-pitch walk to Hunter Pence and again he got the groundball and double play he needed to prevent any damage.
The Rockies got a run on a sac fly from Gerardo Parra in the first, cashing in on a walk from LeMahieu and a single from Nolan Arenado. They extended the lead to 2-0 on a solo home run from Trevor Story in the fourth. It was his 19th homer of the season, a no-doubt shot that was blasted 423 feet and landed well beyond the wall in left field.
Chatwood was done after three strange innings. He allowed four hits and walked three yet managed to keep the Giants from scoring. He got some great defense behind him and placed his three strikeouts perfectly but the amound of traffic and an elevated pitch count had manager Bud Black calling for Chris Rusin to come on in the fourth.
Rusin has been nothing short of phenomenal all season for Colorado and he breezed through the fourth. He did give up a few hits and was tagged for a run in the fifth but his 1.2 innings of work were just another reminder of how important he has been for the Rockies this season. His ERA in 75 innings is a cool 2.39. Carlos Estevez was called upon to get the final out of the fifth with two on and Hunter Pence at the plate and he struck him out with a 100 mph fastball up and in.
Antonio Senzatela came on in the sixth and pitched a clean inning before the Rockies offense exploded in the bottom half. He was tagged for a pair of runs on a Buster Posey double in the seventh before being replaced by Zac Rosscup and Pat Neshek who finished off the frame in order.
The Rockies added their seventh run (taco's) in the seventh inning on three straight singles from Arenado, Reynolds, and Parra.
Jake McGee came on in the eighth and issued a leadoff walk to Pablo Sandoval to begin the inning. Considering Sandoval is hitting just .190 and doesn't have a base hit in 36 at-bats, it was certainly a bad omen. Still, McGee got two quick outs and was a strike away from escaping the inning. It looked like he got that strike against Denard Span but it was ruled inside for a ball and on the very next pitch Span slapped a double the other way, scoring a pair. Joe Panik followed with a single up the middle to score Span and suddenly it was a 7-6 game. Adam Ottavino came on to face Posey, who represented the go-ahead run and struck him out.
The Rockies struck back in the bottom of the frame, getting a single from Jonathan Lucroy and a pinch-hit double from Carlos Gonzalez, scoring a pinch-running Mike Tauchman all the way from first. CarGo score on a LeMahieu double into the opposite-field gap to make it 9-6, Rockies.
Greg Hollan was asked to record his 37th save of the season and did so with a 1-2-3 inning. He still leads the NL in saves.
Colorado improved to 74-64 and with the Milwaukee Brewers taking a loss have moved back to two-and-a-half game up for the second spot in the National League Wild Card. After losing four in a row, they have now won two straight and will go for the series sweep against the Giants in an odd evening getaway game on Wednesday night. Kyle Freeland is scheduled to face Johnny Cueto.