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Rockies beat Giants on clutch hit from unexpected hero

Drew Creasman Avatar
September 3, 2018

DENVER – For as complicated and unusual as the 2018 Colorado Rockies season has been, a simple formula has emerged for them to find their way to the first division title in franchise history.

The pitching needs to stay right where it is and somebody—anybody—on the offense needs to play like a star down the stretch. On Monday, in a Labor Day afternoon contest against the San Francisco Giants and ace Madison Bumgarner, that man was Trevor Story.

The third-year shortstop drove in five runs and a set a new career high for round-trippers, powering his club to a game that on paper they should not have won. Starter Tyler Anderson did his part to keep his club in the game. The bullpen faltered, blowing a big lead, but the much-maligned offense bailed them out late, resulting in a 9-8 win.

The Rockies wasted no time getting after the World Series MVP, jumping all over him in the first.

It began innocuously enough when Charlie Blackmon reached out and put a protection swing on an 0-2 slider rolling it up the middle just out of the reach of the defense for a leadoff single. DJ LeMahieu fell into a full count in the next at-bat but went down and golfed a low fastball, getting every stitch to launch a line drive into the bleachers beyond the wall in left-center field, his 14th home run of the season.

Nolan Arenado quickly followed by looping one down the left-field line for a double, his 29th two-bagger of the year, and trotted home when a Trevor Story fly ball to center field just kept going and going and going, falling into the fountains for his career-high tying 27th home run of the season.

And just like that, the Rockies had taken a 4-0 lead before recording an out.

They kept the pressure on with a walk from Matt Holliday and a single from Carlos Gonzalez that moved up to third but strikeouts from Ian Desmond and Drew Butera meant that a pop up from Anderson ended the inning with the Rockies having batted through their lineup.

The Giants got on the board in the third when Gorkys Hernandez ambushed the first pitch of the inning, ripping it to left for a solo homer.

They tacked on another and nearly took the lead in the fourth. Chase d’Arnaud started the rally with a double to left. He noticed that Anderson was paying little attention to him and swiped third, only his second stolen base of the season, which allowed Evan Longoria’s fly ball to center to score him with ease.

Nick Hundley followed by ripping a single to left then Anderson got Crawford on strikes but Hunter Pence singled up the middle to keep the inning alive and bring Hernandez back to the plate. He put a scare in the home crowd with a deep line drive to left in a similar spot to where he hit his home run, but it fell just shy as Holliday was able to track down after a few twists and turns for the final out.

The Rockie answered back with another outburst in the bottom of the fifth. Bumgarner plunked Blackmon, giving the Colorado leadoff man three straight at-bats reaching base. After LeMahieu struck out it appeared that Arenado hat hit into an inning-ending double play. But Tomlison couldn’t handle the hard grounder, committing a fielding error that allowed Arenado to reach and Blackmon to get to third.

Story made them pay for it with his second home run of the game on a three-run shot to left. That meant that he had tied and then surpassed his career-high for home runs in a season which now sits at 28. The blast put the Rockies on top 7-2.

Anderson was chased from the game in the sixth on a Hundley double and Brandon Crawford single that made it a 7-3 ballgame. Bud Black went to youngster Yency Almonte who recorded a pair of quick outs to make sure no further damage occurred.

Chris Rusin came on for the seventh and gave up a solid single with one out to Aramis Garcia then ran into some bad luck when Austin Slater hit a Baltimore chop to the left side that neither Arenado or Story could field.

Still, Rusin got his more typical grounder in the next at-bat but Arenado fumbled the baseball on the transfer. He managed to catch the ball with his bare hand and get the runner at first but the failure to turn the inning-ending double play came back to haunt the Rockies the way it did for the Giants earlier in the game.

Black went back to his bullpen and called upon Chad Bettis who got Longoria to swing late and hit a high fly ball to right field but it tailed just out of the reach of a diving Gonzalez for a two-RBI triple, making the game close again at 7-5, Rockies.

The Rockies had a chance to add some insurance in the bottom of the seventh, getting walks from Blackmon and LeMahieu to lead off the inning. After Arenado struck out, they even managed a double steal to take the traditional double play out of order. But the Giants pulled the infield in and Story’s ground ball was right at the third baseman, getting Blackmon hung up on the contact play, eventually making the out between third and home.

Holliday struck out to strand a pair in scoring position after Story stole his 23rd base of the season.

Seunghwan Oh was handed the eighth-inning duties and got two very quick outs before an odd sequence against Hernandez. First, the hitter was granted a timeout on an 0-2 delivery when Oh was half-way through his delivery then a fastball ran inside and got mostly bat but a review determined that it got enough of Hernandez’ hand to go down as a hit by pitch.

That bad omen led right to pinch-hitter Alen Hanson turning on an inside fastball to hit a line drive over the high scoreboard in right for a two-run game-tying home run. Things compounded in a second-straight pinch-hit appearance from Chris Shaw to demolished another 0-2 pitch over the fence in right-center field for a solo shot that suddenly gave the Giants the lead. It was Shaw’s first homer of the season.

With that, a 7-2 lead was turned into an 8-7 deficit.

The sinking feeling that emanated Coors Field was soon replaced by elation. Desmond began the momentum swing with a line drive to left for a single. Gonzalez flew out to center and the September match-up game heated up as Bud Black went to Chris Iannetta to pinch-hit for Butera.

Iannetta came up with an almost exact replica of his clutch double in San Diego, crushing one off the fence in right. Desmond, unsure if the right-fielder would have a play, was only able to reach third on the play. That mean rookie Noel Cuevas needed to come up with at least a productive out with the infield in once more.

And he did just that, hitting a hard grounder right back up the middle for a two-RBI single that swung the game back in favor of his club at 9-8.

Back in front, the Rockies brought on closer Wade Davis. He saw pinch-hitter and Rockie-killer Brandon Belt in his first encounter and struck him out looking. Next was Longoria who had driven in three in the game. Davis got him swinging.

That left it up to a former Rockie who has been a thorn in their side ever since leaving, Nick Hundley. Davis fell behind 3-1 before Hundley fouled one off to make it full. With the capacity crowd on their feet in hysteria, he delivered the payoff pitch and went with the breaking ball that fell in for a called strike three. Game over.

Final Stats:

Tyler Anderson: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 7 K

Yency Almonte: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

Chris Rusin: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

Chad Bettis: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

Seunghwan Oh: 1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Wade Davis: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K


Trevor Story: 2-for-3, 2 R, 5 RBI (2 HR: 28)

Charlie Blackmon: 2-for-2, 2 R

DJ LeMahieu: 1-for-3, 1 R, 2 RBI (HR: 14)

Nolan Arenado: 1-for-3, 2 R

What’s Next:

The second game of the series will see Dereck Rodriguez take on German Marquez. First pitch at 6:40 Mountain Time.


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