It might have taken extra innings to do it, but the Colorado Rockies finally put an end to their eight-game losing streak on Saturday with a 5-4 decision over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Brandon Barnes slammed a two-out triple in the bottom of the tenth inning to drive in Justin Morneau to secure the Rockies’ win.
Considering the Rockies had dropped eight games in a row, and 12 of their last 14, a win on this Saturday afternoon looked improbable in the first place. After all, the Rockies were sending Jhoulys Chacin to the mound with his 0-4 record against the Dodgers’ Zack Greinke, who sported an 8-2 record with an ERA of just over two. It was Chacin who shone on this day early, shutting out LA for six innings, while his offense took a 3-0 lead which lasted into the seventh.
The Rockies scored their first run in the second inning when catcher Mike McKenry singled in Troy Tulowitzki, who had reached on an infield single to start the inning. They picked up two more runs in the fifth inning when McKenry crossed the plate on a single by Josh Rutledge, who scored later that inning on a single by Charlie Blackmon.
Very few Colorado pitchers have made it past the sixth inning this year, and Coach Walt Weiss must have known he was living on borrowed time then Chacin took the mound in the seventh. The bad times began early when Matt Kemp led off the inning with a walk. He then advanced to third on a single by Andre Ethier, and scored on a single by Justin Turner. Weiss had seen enough, and Chacin was replaced by Nick Masset, who gave up a 3-run homer to the first batter he faced, catcher Tim Federowicz. The Rockies 3-run lead had become a 4-3 deficit.
Colorado did not quit, however. In the bottom of the seventh, Drew Stubbs reached on a two-out infield single, and then advanced to second on a bad throw by Turner at third base. Corey Dickerson singled in Stubbs and the score was tied at 4.
It would stay tied for the final two innings, with Rex Brothers, Alex Ottavino and Franklin Morales combining on the mound to hold the Dodgers scoreless. After pitching the final out in the ninth, Morales pitched the tenth, giving up only a single to Justin Turner. The stage was set for the Rockies’ magic in the bottom of the first extra frame. After Tulowitzki grounded out to third, Morneau reached first on a single to right center. McKenry struck out swinging at a Chris Perez pitch and Barnes took to the batter’s box with two down. To all who watched Barnes’ long fly ball, it looked like a home run all the way. The ball, however, hit a few feet below the top of the wall and caromed back into the field of play, easily scoring Morneau all the way from first, and sending the Rockies into a wild celebration, mobbing Barnes after his walk-off.
Morales got the pitching win for Colorado, but Chacin put in perhaps his best effort of the season after sitting out the first month because of a shoulder strain in spring training. Weiss said after the game he was impressed with the fight in his team, “We’re in a tough stretch here, but guys are showing up the same way and competing every day.”
The teams will wrap up the three-game series with the rubber game Sunday afternoon at Coors Field. The Dodgers will send their ace, Clayton Kershaw (4-2, 3.32 ERA) to the mound against the Rockies Jorge De La Rosa (6-4, 3.68 ERA).
Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Colorado Rockies