ROCKIES WIN IN 12TH, DAY AFTER HEAR TBREAK
Rockies tie game in ninth, erase heartache
CLEVELAND» His at-bats ticked away Wednesday, one after another, on three groundouts and a couple of singles. But behind the bird’s-nest beard and expressionless face of Charlie Blackmon, his attention amplified.
The Rockies’ all-star center fielder belted a two-out, solo home run in the 12th inning to propel Colorado to a 3-2 victory over Cleveland. Afterward, he attempted to pass off the difficulty of an extra-innings swat to the seats with a shrug.
“I just thought he was going to throw me a fastball,” Blackmon said of Indians reliever McAllister, who threw him a 95 mile per hour fastball. “So I tried to whack it.”
Blackmon’s game-winner, his 27th home run this season, rallied the Rockies to their third victory in four games this season against the defending American League champions.
“He has an innate ability in the most crucial of situations to get that extreme focus,” Colorado manager Bud Black said of Blackmon. “He never gives up an at-bat regardless of the score or what’s going on. It’s cold, it’s hot, it’s rainy, it’s windy, he gives you a good one. And that was a great swing.”
Added Cleveland skipper Terry Francona: “He’s one of the better hitters in the game.”
After a dispiriting loss Tuesday night, when Cleveland turned on the final two pitches from Greg Holland to tie the score on a single and then win with a ninth-inning, three-run, walk-off home run, the Rockies regrouped for a rally of their own. A quickie trip through Ohio left them bolstered as the Rockies tied the game in the ninth, setting up Blackmon’s heroics.
“That was a heartbreaking loss last night,” Blackmon said. “I’m really proud of the guys for bouncing back to get a win today.”
The Rockies’ two Venezuelan rookie starting pitchers, German Marquez on Tuesday and Antonio Senzatela on
Wednesday, hurtled through the first-place Indians. Marquez threw six shutout innings. Senzatela followed with five innings, allowing two runs.
In the ninth inning, Carlos Gonzalez, who went 0-for-3 on Tuesday, hit a single to start the rally. Jonathan Lucroy drove Gonzalez home with a line-drive double to right-center that Indians center fielder Bradley Zimmer booted, allowing Gonzalez to score.
“I heard the crowd, but I never looked back,” Gonzalez said. “I was going hard. I was able to keep my momentum going to home.”
The Rockies’ lone run early came from bench player Alexi Amarista, the diminutive utilityman who belted a home run 392 feet to center in the third inning.
Cleveland’s only runs came on a two-run homer from all-star switch hitter Francisco Lindor in the third inning off Senzatela. Five relievers kept the Indians in check after that, allowing just one hit over seven scoreless innings.
Converted starter Tyler Chatwood flew through the 12th, setting down the top of Cleveland’s order for his second career save.
“It was pretty cool to see Charlie hit a homer,” Chatwood said. “So I just tried not to mess it up.”
On Tuesday night, the Rockies were one strike away from a 1-0 victory before the Indians scored four runs.
“As disappointing as it was last night, I think it’s just as gratifying or more today,” Black said.
Outfielders Charlie Blackmon, right, and Gerardo Parra celebrate after the Rockies beat the Cleveland Indians 3-2 in 12 innings Wednesday. Blackmon hit a solo home run in the 12th inning for what proved to be the game-winner.
Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon blasts his 27th home run this season at a good time — in the 12th inning Wednesday at Progressive Field off Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Zach McAllister.