Rock­ies tie game in ninth, erase heartache

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Nick Groke

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.

David Maxwell, Getty Im­ages

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.

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