On the strength of a ninth-inning inside-the-park home run by Brandon Barnes, the Colorado Rockies won their fourth straight game, 5-4 over the San Francisco Giants. It was the second consecutive ninth-inning win for the Rockies, who scored five runs in the last inning on Friday night to beat the Giants 7-4. It was Barnes’ second homer of the year, and both have been of the “inside-the-park” variety. Barnes remarked after the game that he would like to hit one out of the park sometime “so I can jog around the bases to make it easier.”
The Rockies had trailed 4-3 heading into the ninth inning. With two outs, Charlie Blackmon blooped a single to left field and scored ahead of Barnes on the home run. San Francisco still had the bottom of the inning, however, and it was not without drama. LaTroy Hawkins came on in relief for Rex Brothers, who had struck out the side in the eighth inning. After getting Joaquin Arias on a groundout to third for the first out, Hector Sanchez hit an infield fly which managed to hit the ground when Colorado third baseman Charlie Culberson and shortstop Josh Rutledge collided in going for it. All was forgotten, however, when Angel Pagan, who had earlier misplayed the ball on Barnes’ home run, grounded into a double-play to end the game.
The win was a big one for the Rockies who, with a win on Sunday, would earn their first sweep of a season-series this year. The fact that the game is against the division-leading San Francisco Giants would make it that much sweeter. Colorado has slumped recently, dropping seven games in a nine-game road trip, then going 3-7 in a 10-game home stand at Coors Field. In the last five games the Rockies have re-discovered their offense, scoring 40 runs during the span. They are back on top in the four major offensive team categories in Major League Baseball, leading in runs (344), batting average (.285), on-base percentage (.337) and slugging percentage (.463).
Saturday’s win was big for the Rockies in other ways, too. They did it without the services of leading All-Star vote-getter Troy Tulowitzki, who injured his toe on Friday night. Tulo did pinch-hit on Saturday, and might be back for Sunday’s game. Colorado has also been without several stars during the winning streak. Last year’s NL batting champ Michael Cuddyer is on the 15-day DL with a non-displaced fracture in his left shoulder socket, and left-fielder Carlos Gonzales is recovering from having a tumor removed from his finger. The team has already gone without 3B Nolan Arenado for several weeks as he rehabs from a mallet fracture of his left middle finger. Counting pitcher Brett Anderson’s broken finger, suffered in San Francisco in April, the Rockies have been victimized by three fingers and one toe so far this season.
The Rockies will go for the sweep at AT&T Park against the Giants, before traveling to Los Angeles for a three-game set against the Dodgers. On Sunday afternoon the Giants will send Madison Bumgarner (8-4, 2.67 ERA) to the mound against Juan Nicasio (5-5, 5.70 ERA) for Colorado. Nicasio will be looking to bounce back from a bad outing against the Braves on Tuesday, giving up 10 runs on 11 hits in a 13-10 Rockies loss.
Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Colorado Rockies