Rock­ies’ rally fal­ters in walk-off

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Pa­trick Saun­ders

ST. LOUIS» This was the kind of game the Rock­ies were win­ning early in the sea­son.

Now, with their play­off chances so real, but still so far away, the clutch vic­to­ries are harder to come by. Case in point: Their gut­punch, walk-off, 3-2 loss to St. Louis on Tues­day night at Busch Sta­dium.

Car­di­nals cen­ter fielder Har­ri­son Bader, called up for the in­jured Dex­ter Fowler and mak­ing his big-league de­but, led off the Car­di­nals ninth with a dou­ble to left off Jake McGee. It was Bader’s first hit. He ad­vanced to third on Greg Gar­cia’s sac­ri­fice bunt.

The Car­di­nals won the game on pinch hit­ter Jedd Gy­orko’s sac­ri­fice fly to Car­los Gon­za­lez in shal­low right field. Gon­za­lez loaded up his throw, but catcher Ryan Hani­gan couldn’t quite han­dle it and Bader slid home with the win­ning run.

“With speed, you can bet they are prob­a­bly go­ing to go,” Rock­ies man­ager Bud Black said. “They took a chance with a guy with speed (Bader) on a shal­low fly­ball. The throw beat him. It was just a very tough hop for Ryan.”

Back-to-back, two-out sin­gles by Mark Reynolds and Gon­za­lez put the Rock­ies on the cusp of vic­tory in the top of the ninth, but

St. Louis re­liever Trevor Rosen­thal caught Story look­ing at a 84 mph slider for strike three and out No. 3.

Story, who’s slowly re­gain­ing a sem­blance of his 2016 rookie form, tied the game 2-2 in the eighth, launch­ing a lead­off homer deep into the left field seats off re­liever Matt Bow­man. Story en­tered the game hav­ing hit safely in 10 of his last 13 games at a .333 clip.

Colorado’s de­feat in­cluded an in­jury to Ian Des­mond. He started at first base but did not come out for the bot­tom of the fourth in­ning af­ter rein­jur­ing the right calf that landed him on the dis­abled list ear­lier this month.

Car­di­nals starter Lance Lynn spun a web around Rock­ies hit­ters for his first six in­nings, al­low­ing just two hits — a dou­ble by Ger­ardo Parra in the sec­ond and a harm­less sin­gle by Hani­gan in the sixth.

Colorado fi­nally broke Lynn’s spell in the sev­enth. DJ LeMahieu drew his sec­ond walk of the game and Nolan Are­nado drove a dou­ble into the left-field cor­ner. Are­nado’s ma­jor league-best 32nd dou­ble set the ta­ble for Parra’s sac­ri­fice fly off re­liever Kevin Siegrist.

Siegrist walked Reynolds, but the po­ten­tial big in­ning died when Gon­za­lez grounded into a dou­ble play.

Rock­ies starter Jon Gray did his part, even if he only got to do it for five in­nings. With his pitch count run­ning high and the Rock­ies in dire need of of­fense, he was lifted for pinch-hit­ter Alexi Amarista.

Gray made one ma­jor mis­take, and it was costly. Af­ter Car­di­nals first base­man Matt Car­pen­ter led off the first with a sin­gle, Paul DeJong cranked a two-run homer to left, his 15th of the sea­son. DeJong clob­bered Gray’s first-pitch, 97 mph fast­ball.

“He bat­tled,” Black said of Gray. “The pitch to Car­pen­ter was up, to start the game. The ball they hit the home run was not lo­cated. It was sort of mid­dle-in. That hap­pens when a guy is swing­ing well. And it’s costly in a game like this with a pitcher like (Lance) Lynn, who is a very solid ma­jor-league pitcher.”

“It sur­prised me,” Gray said of giv­ing up the home run to DeJong. “I was just try­ing to get ahead. It could have been a bet­ter pitch -low and away. It hap­pened. I had to kick it to the side and keep go­ing.”

Gray set­tled down af­ter that and was able to work through the traf­fic cre­ated by St. Louis’ eight hits off him. He didn’t walk a bat­ter and struck out six. True, he needed 96 pitches (63) strikes in his five in­nings, but he de­liv­ered big pitches when he had to.

In the fourth, sin­gles by Yadier Molina and Kolten Wong put two Car­di­nals on with no­body out. But Gray whiffed Bader, Greg Gar­cia and Lynn. One-out sin­gles by Tommy Pham and DeJong had Gray in trou­ble again in the fifth, but he in­duced Ran­dal Grichuk into an in­ning-end­ing dou­ble play.

Ian Des­mond played the first three in­nings but did not come out to play first base in the bot­tom of the fourth. Rock­ies man­ager Bud Black told the MLB Net­work, which was cov­er­ing the game, that Des­mond hurt his calf again.

“Ian rein­jured his calf, it looks like,” Black said af­ter mak­ing the move with the Car­di­nals lead­ing the Rock­ies 2-0. “Not sure when he did it, but just mo­ments ago he said he rein­jured it, so for pre­cau­tion­ary rea­sons we took him out.”

Jeff Rober­son, AP

St. Louis’ Har­ri­son Bader, left, and Matt Car­pen­ter cel­e­brate Tues­day night af­ter Bader scored to end the game.

Jeff Rober­son, The As­so­ci­ated Press

The St. Louis Car­di­nals’ Har­ri­son Bader ar­rives at first base on a ground­out in his first ma­jor-league at-bat as Rock­ies first base­man Ian Des­mond han­dles the throw dur­ing the sec­ond in­ning Tues­day night.

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