Sunday, September 7, 2014

Game of the Day (9/6/14)

Rockies 7, Padres 6 (12). Colorado's Jorge De La Rosa, making the 188th start of his career, faced San Diego's Joe Wieland, making his sixth.

De La Rosa allowed a first-inning single to Rymer Liriano, but induced a double play grounder from Yangervis Solarte. Justin Morneau singled in the bottom of the inning and Wieland stranded him. De La Rosa retired the Padres in order in the second, and Michael McKenry homered in the bottom half to put the Rockies in front. A Josh Rutledge walk and a De La Rosa single put a second run in scoring position, but the runners were both left on.

The Padres went down 1-2-3 again in the third, and the Rockies pulled farther ahead in the bottom of the inning when Drew Stubbs walked and Morneau homered. Corey Dickerson later singled, moved to third on an errant pickoff throw, and came home on a McKenry single to make it 4-0; Rutledge doubled McKenry to third, chasing Wieland from the mound, and Tim Stauffer retired the next two hitters to end the inning without further damage.

San Diego began closing the gap in the fourth when Solarte doubled and Jedd Gyorko singled him home. Stauffer worked around a Morneau single in the bottom of the inning, and Tommy Medica homered in the top of the fifth, trimming the lead to 4-2. But Colorado restored the lead to its largest size in the home fifth against Leonel Campos when McKenry walked, Rutledge doubled, and DJ LeMahieu singled them both home.

The Padres kept the pressure on, however. Liriano singled, stole second, and scored on a Gyorko double in the sixth. Brooks Brown replaced De La Rosa and stranded Gyorko in scoring position. Campos allowed singles to Morneau and Nolan Arenado in the home sixth, and Alex Torres walked McKenry to load the bases before ending the inning. Tommy Kahnle hit Alexi Amarista in the top of the seventh, then served up a two-run pinch-hit homer to Cory Spangenberg that pulled San Diego within a run; Yohan Flande and Adam Ottavino were called on to end the inning without additional baserunners reaching.

LeMahieu led off the bottom of the seventh with a single, moved to second on a bunt and stole third, but Dale Thayer recovered to strand him. San Diego then finally leveled the score in the top of the eighth on a Solarte single and a Gyorko walk against Ottavino, followed by a Seth Smith single off of Rex Brothers. Nick Vincent, LaTroy Hawkins, and Kevin Quackenbush each threw spotless half-innings to send the game into extras even at 6.

Rob Scahill allowed a Yasmani Grandal single in the tenth, but nothing else; Quackenbush then worked around a Charlie Blackmon single in the bottom of the inning. In the eleventh, Scahill allowed singles to Will Venable, Spangenberg, and Jake Goebbert, but Amarista hit into a double play to remove Venable before the other hits, and the Padres were left with pitcher Andrew Cashner as a pinch hitter with two outs and the go-ahead run in scoring position, which had predictably ineffective results.

Jesse Hahn circumnavigated a Dickerson single in the home eleventh, and Nick Masset allowed only a Solarte walk in the road twelfth. LeMahieu then led off the bottom of the twelfth with a double, was bunted to third, saw Blackmon intentionally walked behind him, and then scored the winning run on a Stubbs single.

The Rockies may be the worst team in the NL this year, but it's hard to say they aren't still capable of putting on a show for whatever fans remain interested in coming out to watch. They jumped out to a healthy advantage, largely on the strength of a four-hit day from batting title contender Justin Morneau, then blew the lead to an uncharacteristically persistent Padre lineup, and then left go-ahead San Diego runs in scoring position in both the eighth and eleventh innings before coming out on top in the twelfth.

September baseball between non-contenders may not be particularly high-quality (at least by MLB standards), but that doesn't always mean the games aren't good. This one was.

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