Homer off Hol­land lifts Sox over Rox

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Nick Groke

Char­lie Blackmon got the heave from home plate um­pire Sam Hol­brook in the ninth in­ning Satur­day night. Then man­ager Bud Black got tossed. In a testy ninth, a long los­ing skid fi­nally reared its ugly face. Even strike calls hurt.

Blackmon and Black did not have time to walk the dark hall­way back to their club­house be­fore the Rock­ies’ 5-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox be­came of­fi­cial in the stuff­ing game of a week­end in­ter­league se­ries. The out­come fell apart that quickly.

Tim An­der­son launched a lead­off home run off Colorado all-star closer Greg Hol­land in the ninth in­ning at Coors Field, then Chicago closer David Robert­son struck out Blackmon and pinch-hit­ter Car­los Gon­za­lez to end the game. Blackmon did not ap­pre­ci­ate his called third strike, a 92 mph fast­ball on the lower line of the zone. He screamed at Hol­brook long enough for the thumb, then slammed his bat and hel­met into the grass.

Black’s protests did not help. He was ejected just sec­onds later.

Fri­day, the Rock­ies belted a sea­son-high 17 hits for 12 runs in a blowout victory over the White Sox. It set them up for their first se­ries victory since sweep­ing the San Fran­cisco Gi­ants on June 18. But in the 20 days since then, Colorado has failed to win con­sec­u­tive games, go­ing only 5-13.

And after the di­vi­sion-lead­ing Los An­ge­les Dodgers’ walk-off walk in the 10th in­ning of a victory over the Kansas City Roy­als on Satur­day, the Rock­ies fell 9½ games be­hind in the Na­tional League West race.

Colorado (51-39) nearly ral­lied it­self to life, like the club so often did ear­lier this sea­son while rac­ing to the di­vi­sion lead. Left fielder Ger­ardo Parra, who re­turned Fri­day from a month-long leg in­jury, hit a deep fly­ball to cen­ter field in the ninth off for­mer Rock­ies re­liever Tommy Kahnle to score Mark Reynolds on a sac­ri­fice. Reynolds had tripled off the right-field wall. The game was tied 4-4.

An­der­son’s homer, on a 94 mph fast­ball, was the only hit Hol­land al­lowed. It nonethe­less tagged Hol­land with his first loss of the sea­son.

Parra’s RBI dou­ble in the sixth brought the Rock­ies within 4-3. More im­por­tant, it pushed Jose Quin­tana to the bench. He struck out 10 Colorado bat­ters, in­clud­ing three in the sec­ond in­ning that stranded Trevor Story after a lead­off dou­ble to cen­ter.

The Rock­ies fought from the jump, flip­ping a 3-0 deficit in the first into a one-run mar­gin head­ing to the sec­ond after Blackmon sin­gled to right and stole sec­ond base, then Nolan Are­nado blasted his 17th home run — a two-run shot to left that gave him a base­ball-best 70 RBIS.

Jeff Hoff­man took some time to set­tle in. He used only eight pitches to strike out Adam En­gel look­ing and get Melky Cabr­era to ground out at Story. But the White Sox’s next four bat­ters reached base, with a Jose Abreu triple, a Todd Fra­zier walk, a Yolmer Sanchez two-run triple and Ke­van Smith’s run-scor­ing sin­gle.

Coors Field played large. Willy Gar­cia tripled off Hoff­man again in the fourth to cen­ter field. And he scored a de­cid­ing run when Quin­tana looped a sac­ri­fice fly to left field.

Quin­tana sur­vived 5L in­nings on five hits, but his early exit only capped his strike­out to­tal at 10, against two walks. He whiffed Are­nado, Story and Raimel Tapia twice apiece.

Hoff­man coun­tered in length. The 24-year-old needed only 12 pitches to cruise through the fifth and sixth in­nings. And he shut down the White Sox (38-48) in the sev­enth 1-2-3. Colorado pulled him only for a pinch hit­ter, after he gave up four runs on seven hits, with a pair of strike­outs and walks.

Who’s on first? Got ques­tions about the Rock­ies or Ma­jor League Base­ball? Ask Den­ver Post staff writer Pa­trick Saun­ders and Nick Groke.


Andy Cross, The Den­ver Post

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