Phillies stun Rocks with two-run ninth

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Pa­trick Saun­ders

What could pos­si­bly go wrong? The Rock­ies were 59-0 when lead­ing af­ter eight in­nings this sea­son. They were 14-6 in one-run games, in­clud­ing a trio of one-run vic­to­ries on the cur­rent home­s­tand. And Greg Hol­land? The al­ls­tar closer was 34-1 in save op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Now he’s 34-2 af­ter the Rock­ies lost 3-2 to Philadel­phia at Coors Field on Sun­day, blow­ing a chance to sweep the Phillies and gain some wig­gle room in the Na­tional League wild-card play­off race.

“I was one qual­ity pitch from get­ting out of that and us get­ting the win, and I kind of rolled one in there,” Hol­land said. “So I don’t think it was just ‘one of those days.’ I think I could have pitched around some traf­fic, and I made an un­timely pitch and it cost us.”

The pitch in ques­tion was a first-pitch, 87 mph slider that Cameron Rupp ripped for a tworun dou­ble to left-cen­ter. Hol­land, un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally, was charged with two runs on three hits.

The stage seemed set for Colorado’s fourth con­sec­u­tive vic­tory. Rock­ies short­stop Trevor Story, who played with a 24-karat glove all af­ter­noon, had just thrown out Odubel Her­rera at the plate for the first out, and it looked like the Rock­ies would find a way to es­cape with a 2-1 vic­tory.

Ex­cept they didn’t. That fact damp­ened the mood of the team

as it pre­pared to fly to Cleve­land on Sun­day night. The Rock­ies open a two-game series against the de­fend­ing cham­pion Amer­i­can League cham­pion In­di­ans on Tues­day.

Ari­zona and Mil­wau­kee both lost Sun­day, but the Rock­ies failed to gain new turf in the wild-card bat­tle. The Rock­ies (64-48) re­mained a half game in front of the Di­a­mond­backs and 5K games in front of the Brew­ers.

The loss, surely one of the most bit­ter of the Rock­ies’ sea­son, wasted an ex­cel­lent start from rookie Jeff Hoff­man, who pitched seven strong in­nings, al­low­ing one run on four hits with eight strike­outs vs. one walk.

“He pitched great,” man­ager Bud Black said. “I thought he got stronger as the game went on. He lo­cated the fast­ball. When he was down (in the zone), he was re­ally good. He had a nice hook, and he got some outs with his changeup.”

Colorado also lost de­spite a series of high­light-reel plays.

In the eighth, Rupp sin­gled off right-handed re­liever Pat Neshek, a for­mer Phillies al­ls­tar. Then pinch-hit­ter An­dres Blanco sliced a hit into the ex­treme left-field cor­ner, where it eluded a div­ing Ger­ardo Parra. But Parra re­cov­ered and threw a strike to Story, who de­liv­ered a bul­let to catcher Ryan Hani­gan. Re­play re­views showed that Hani­gan tagged Rupp out — but just barely.

The drama didn’t end there. Mike Dunn came into the game and walked two to load the bases with two outs. But the left-han­der in­duced Nick Wil­l­liams to a ground­out to Alexi Amarista at sec­ond. Dunn pounded his glove with his fist in cel­e­bra­tion. It turned out to be pre­ma­ture.

Colorado’s de­fense glit­tered through­out the game: Car­los Gon­za­lez made a div­ing grab in right field for the fi­nal out in the third; Story and first base­man Mark Reynolds com­bined for two “field, throw and stretch” plays, as well as a first-to-shortto-first dou­ble play; and third base­man Nolan Are­nado snagged a foul ball against the wall in the sev­enth.

Asked if win­ning a Gold Glove was a per­sonal goal, Story said: “It would be cool, but I’m not the ac­co­lade kind of guy. I like to work hard at my craft, and de­fense is a huge part of that.”

Colorado’s Char­lie Black­mon pro­duced a go-ahead run in the sev­enth in­ning, driv­ing in pinch­hit­ter Raimel Tapia, who drew a hard-earned walk. Black­mon, how hit­ting .331, was one of the few hit­ters to thrive Sun­day, going 3-for-5 with three dou­bles.

The Rock­ies struck first and struck quickly against Philadel­phia’s tal­ented young righthander, Aaron Nola. Black­mon led off the first with a dou­ble and scored on Are­nado’s bro­ken-bat, bloop sin­gle to right to take a 1-0 lead. From that point on, how­ever, Nolan was mostly nails. He pitched seven in­nings of six-hit ball, giv­ing up two runs, on six hits, with two walks and seven strike­outs.

The Phillies struck back in the sec­ond on Maikel Franco’s one­out, solo homer to left in the sec­ond in­ning. Two bat­ters later, Rupp blasted a dou­ble to cen­ter, and it looked as if Hoff­man might be in trou­ble. But he struck out Nola to end the in­ning and be­gan dom­i­nat­ing the Phillies.

Matthew Stock­man, Getty Im­ages

Rock­ies closer Greg Hol­land walks to the du­gout af­ter giv­ing up two runs in the ninth in­ning against the Philadel­phia Phillies on Sun­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.