Rockies lay the lumber to the Fish
There were plenty of fireworks over the 4th of July weekend at Coors Field, but not just the kind that go off in the sky. The Rockies and Marlins celebrated the holiday and their 17th birthdays with a combined 79 runs over the 4-game series, which Colorado took 3-1.
On Thursday, the two teams needed extra frames to decide the game. Colorado got a surprisingly strong start from Mark Redman, who replaced Jeff Francis in the rotation after he was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Redman went 6 innings while giving up just two runs.
Jeff Baker filled in at 1st base for Todd Helton who was placed on the DL as well with back spasms. Baker was huge for the Rox in this one. He gave his team the lead in the 6th inning with his 6th home run of the year. The Marlins would regain the lead in the top of the 8th by scoring two runs off of Taylor Buchholz. In the bottom of the inning it was Baker who again delivered with a sac fly to tie the score again. The two teams would be blanked in the 9th and 10th, but the game would be decided in the 11th.
The Marlins got a run in the top of the inning and brought in their closer Kevin Gregg to try to hold the lead. The Rockies loaded the bases for Ryan Spilborghs who hit a single to bring in two runs and give the home team a 6-5 win.
Friday would yield another late inning victory for the Rockies of historic proportions. Greg Reynolds put the Rockies in a big hole early by giving up 7 runs in just 1 1/3 innings. Colorado would cut into the lead with 4 runs in the first three innings, but the Marlins would get six in the top of the 4th to go up by nine runs.
Cue the comeback. The Rockies got eight runs in the next three innings to close the gap to a single run. Then the bullpen let Colorado down. Jason Grilli would give up four runs in the top of the 7th to make the comeback seem all for not.
Not so fast. The Rockies would match Florida’s four runs in the bottom of the inning on one swing of the bat by their MVP. Matt Holliday went deep off Logan Kensing with the bases loaded to set the stage for some more late-inning heroics.
Those heroics came from an unlikely source. Catcher Chris Iannetta hit a dribbler through the infield to bring in Holliday and cap-off a two run inning and the biggest comeback in Rockies history. The 18-run output by Colorado featured six home runs, two from Matt Holliday and Ryan Spilborghs and one from Garrett Atkins and Chris Iannetta each.
The huge victory did not come without a price. After the game, Greg Reynolds was sent down to Triple-A Colorado Springs after going just 2-6 with a 6.71 ERA. To take his place on the roster, the Rockies promoted veteran lefty Glendon Rusch. That was not the only loss. When Troy Tulowitzki was pulled late in the game, he shattered a bat on the floor in the dugout hallway. The bat shattered in his hand and gave him a laceration on his palm. Tulo is now back on the DL after coming off of it just a little over a month ago.
On July 5 th, 1991, Miami and Denver were given expansion teams. Fast forward 17 years later and the Rockies celebrated their birthday with another large offensive output, but they did not need any heroics. Colorado was in control all the way. In the 2nd inning with his team already up 1-0, Joe Koshansky hit his 1st career home run. Koshansky was brought up just a couple days earlier to replace Todd Helton who was put on the DL.
The biggest scoring output was in the 4th, when the Rockies scored 6 runs. Chris Iannetta got the scoring started with a two run homer. Later in the inning, Matt Holliday stepped in with the bases loaded with a chance to hit his 2nd grand slam in as many nights. A wild pitch brought in one run, so that went out the window. It did not deter Holliday, though. He hit his 13th home run of the season and his 3rd in two days.
Brad Hawpe hit a three run shot in the 6 th just for good measures as the Rockies went on to win 12-6. The win was Colorado’s 5th in-a-row after losing 8-straight.
The All-Star teams would be announced early Sunday and the Rockies would occupy a couple of spots. Matt Holliday was chosen as a reserve. He is 4th in the NL with a .342 average. Aaron Cook became just the third Rockies starting pitcher to get an All-Star bid. Coming into Sunday, Cookie was 3rd in the big leagues with 11 victories.
Speaking of the Rockies ace, he was on the mound on Sunday to try to complete a sweep of the Marlins. He did not look like an ace, though. He gave up 7 runs in as many innings as the Rockies lost 10-5. The loss was Colorado’s 1st in the month of July. After play on Sunday, the Rockies remain 7 games behind the Diamondbacks in the NL West.
They will now head out on the road until the All-Star Break. First stop is Milwaukee. The opening game of the 4-game series will pit Ubaldo Jimenez against Seth McClung. Jimenez (3-8, 4.50 ERA) has yet to win on the road this year. He is 0-6 away from Coors Field with a 6.96 ERA.
Fresh off his strongest start of the year, Mark Redman (2-3, 7.05 ERA) will face the Brew Crew on Tuesday. The Rockies will get their first glimpse of Manny Parra, who did not pitch when the two teams matched up earlier in the year at Coors Field. Parra has not lost at another stadium named for beer, Miller Park.
The probable pitchers for the second-half of the series are definitely subject to change. With the demotion of Greg Reynolds, who was supposed to start on Wednesday, Clint Hurdle has some decisions to make. Bump Jorge De La Rosa up a day or start someone else. If he keeps De La Rosa in his regular spot, Glendon Rusch would be the likely choice to start. Rusch is 1-3 with a 7.36 ERA in limited major league duty this year. Whoever starts for the Rockies, they will be opposed by Ben Sheets.
The final game of the series is supposed to pit Jorge De La Rosa (3-4, 6.58 ERA) against Dave Bush, however, that might change. The Brewers are reportedly close to trading for C.C. Sabathia. This would be a good spot for last year’s AL Cy Young winner to be because it would set up the 1-2 punch of Sheets and Sabathia. With or without Sabathia, it should be a very interesting series between two hot teams in Milwaukee.
By Ryan Kaufman
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