It was all there for the taking. The Rockies headed to the bottom of the ninth inning in what has become a precarious situation for them, holding only a one-run lead with the home team coming up for their final at-bat. These scenarios have not worked out well for Colorado, and Wednesday night was no exception, as Ryan Howard blasted a 3-run walk-off homer off of Boone Logan to beat the Rockies 3-2 and hand them another series loss on the road.
To be fair, it was not all the fault of the Rockies’ pitching. Jordan Lyles (5-1), the teams ERA leader (3.46), did nothing to hurt his standing, allowing only two earned runs on five hits in five innings. Matt Belisle, Rex Brothers and Nick Masset all worked an inning of no-hit ball and the Rockies were in position to take two-out-of-three from the Phillies. This time it was the normally-solid middle of the Colorado defense which collapsed at the crucial moment.
Rockies closer LaTroy Hawkins was staked to one out in the ninth before he coaxed a ground ball from Tony Gwynn, Jr. The ball was fielded by second baseman Josh Rutledge, who threw wildly to first base. A single from Ben Revere moved Gwynn to third. Troy Tulowitzki, who had not started the game, then dropped a foul popup from Jimmy Rollins. Hawkins, however, got Rollins to fly out and then exited the game in favor of left-hander Boone Logan to face lefty Chase Utley. Utley promptly singled to drive in Gwynn from third base. The stage was set for Howard, who did not disappoint the Phillies fans, driving the ball over 490 feet to center field to seal the Rockies fate.
Colorado had taken an early lead in the game. Justin Morneau hit his 10th home run of the season in the third inning off of Phillies starter Roberto Hernandez to give the Rockies a 1-0 lead. Wilin Rosario then doubled to deep center field to drive in Curtis Dickerson and give his team a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the third. The Phillies got one back when Howard drove in Utley to make it 2-1. The home team tied the game in the fifth on a single by Marlon Byrd which allowed Ben Revere to cross the plate.
It remained 2-2 until the top of the eighth inning, when D.J. LeMahieu connected for his first home run since last August, a solo shot to left fieled. It gave the Rockies the 3-2 lead they would savor only until the bottom of the ninth.
Colorado had nine hits on the night, with Morneau and Michael Cuddyer both going 2 for 4 from the plate. In addition to his third inning homer, Morneau also hit his 14th double of the year. Cuddyer, last season’s NL batting champ, raised his season average to .312.
The Rockies are now 2-4 on their current nine-game road trip. They have a day off before taking on the Indians in Cleveland for a weekend series starting on Friday. Juan Nicasio (5-2, 3.61 ERA) will be on the mound for Colorado against Corey Kluber (5-3, 3.10 ERA) for the Tribe.
Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Colorado Rockies