Black­mon is a real catch

CF pock­ets gem, then scores on Are­nado’s win­ner

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Pa­trick Saun­ders

Mul­let fly­ing, beard flap­ping, Char­lie Black­mon made the catch of his ca­reer Tues­day night at Coors Field in the Rock­ies’ wild, crazy and richly sat­is­fy­ing 5-4 walk-off vic­tory over the New York Mets.

The Rock­ies’ all-star cen­ter fielder raced down Michael Con­forto’s 415-foot blast, made the catch and crashed into the wall to seal the Mets’ fi­nal out of the ninth in­ning. Black­mon was ser­e­naded with a stand­ing ova­tion.

Nat­u­rally, Black­mon led off the ninth by draw­ing a walk off reliever Hansel Robles. Black­mon ad­vance to sec­ond on DJ LeMahieu’s in­field grounder, then slid home on Nolan Are­nado’s RBI sin­gle to left-cen­ter for the game-win­ner — the fifth walk-off hit of his ca­reer.

“I want those at-bats,” Are­nado said. “To be hon­est with you, I like those big at-bats. I don’t like fail­ing in them, but I don’t mind it. I feel as com­fort­able as you can be in those mo­ments.”

In one of the most en­ter­tain­ing games of the sea­son, a fes­tive crowd of 36,698 looked on as Are­nado launched a three-run homer and drove in four runs and rookie right-han­der Jeff Hoffman pro­duced a qual­ity start.

This was a roller-coaster ride, but the Rock­ies’ vic­tory kept them 5K games in front of Mil­wau­kee for the Na­tional League’s sec­ond wild-card spot.

Jay Bruce’s solo homer off reliever Chris Rusin gave the Mets a 4-3 lead in the eighth. But Car­los Gon­za­lez’s 48 mph “screamer” tied the game 4-4 in the bot­tom of the frame. He drib­bled the ball down the third-base line to score Mark Reynolds, who had opened the in­ning with a sin­gle. Gon­za­lez’s hit may have been coaxed by the benev­o­lent base­ball gods, but it’s still goes into the box score as an RBI sin­gle.

The Rock­ies’ of­fense was dor­mant un­til the sixth in­ning. Black­mon opened the bar­rage with a sin­gle off starter Steven Matz, fol-

lowed by a loud dou­ble to left by LeMahieu. The ex­plo­sion came from Are­nado, who blasted a three-run, op­po­site-field homer into Colorado’s bullpen for a 3-2 Rock­ies lead. Are­nado now has 95 RBIs this sea­son, tops in the ma­jors.

New York tied the game 3-3 in the sev­enth off newly ac­quired reliever Pat Neshek, who was mak­ing his Coors Field de­but in a Rock­ies uni­form. Neshek should have fared bet­ter. He struck out Jose Reyes, but the ball got away from catcher Ryan Hani­gan and Reyes reached first. Reyes ad­vanced to third on a bloop dou­ble by Con­forto and scored an un­earned run on As­drubal Cabr­era’s sac­ri­fice fly.

Hoffman over­came a first-in­ning hic­cup to pitch six solid in­nings, yield­ing two earned runs on five hits, with three walks and five strike­outs.

“Man, I was proud of Jeff Hoffman, how he hung tough when he had run­ners in scor­ing po­si­tion,” Rock­ies man­ager Bud Black said. “We fought back and took the lead. The guys in the pen sort of got nicked a lit­tle bit.”

The Rock­ies pul­ver­ized Matz when they faced him July 16 at Citi Field, pound­ing out seven runs on nine hits in the first in­ning en route to a 13-4 Colorado vic­tory. It was the short­est out­ing of Matz’s ca­reer.

But Matz owned the Rock­ies un­til their break­out sixth. In­deed, Colorado didn’t notch its first hit un­til Trevor Story beat out an in­field sin­gle with one out in the fifth. Hani­gan ad­vanced him to third on a clean sin­gle to left, but Hoffman couldn’t de­liver, ground­ing out to Matz.

The Mets struck first, and quickly. Con­forto led off the game with a walk and scored on Yoe­nis Ce­s­pedes’ laser-shot dou­ble to left. At that point, it looked as if it might be a short start for Hoffman, but he re­grouped and put the Rock­ies in po­si­tion to win.

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