Rafael Betancourt blew his 7th save in 38 2012 tries, his 2nd in as many nights, surrendering a 3-run homer to Aaron Hill, dooming the Colorado Rockies to their 98th 2012 loss, 5-3 Tuesday night at Chase Field in Phoenix. The win was no. 81 for the Arizona Diamondbacks, assuring them at worst a .500 record with one to play versus the lowly Rockies Wednesday. Hill came to bat with 2 on and 2 out, Colorado leading 3-2 on Jordan Pacheco’s RBI double. Betancourt had come-on for Rex Brothers, who pitched a perfect bottom of the eighth after Pacheco’s drive. He struck-out Chris Johnson leading-off, but John McDonald, who had given the Dbacks a lead with a 2-run homer in the seventh, singled to left. Pinch hitter Mike Jacobs flew to center, and El Deliberado had Gerardo Parra down 2 strikes before he lofted a single in front of Charlie Blackmon, bringing Hill to the plate with runners on 1st and 3rd. Hill drove Betancourt’s first pitch about 10 rows up into the left-field stands.
Jhoulys Chacin started for the Rockies and turned-in five crispy innings. He dealt with 2-out runners in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd, used a double-play to dodge a 2 on one out situation in the 4th, and turned-in a 1-2-3 5th. Chacin held Arizona scoreless on 4 hits, walking 2 and striking-out 4. He threw 75 pitches, 46 strikes.
Colorado took a 1-0 lead in the 2nd and carried it into the bottom of the 7th. Guillermo Moscoso had come-on for Chacin in the 6th, giving-up singles to Hill and Justin Upton, and escaping on a double-play grounder from Miguel Montero and a rocket-shot by Paul Goldschmidt directly at 2nd-baseman Josh Rutledge. Moscoso hit for himself with 2 on and 2 out in the top of the 7th, MFL Jim Tracy cognizant of the electric stuff the right-hander was dealing on the mound, and struck-out to end the threat. Back for the bottom of the inning, Moscoso served-up a lead-off double to Jason Kubel, then delivered a gopher-ball to the brawny McDonald, who hammered his 6th big fly of the fading 2012 campaign for a 2-1 Diamondbacks lead.
The Rockies answered promptly. Rutledge led-off with a single, Tyler Colvin hit his second of two doubles, Rutledge to 3rd, and Pacheco drove them in for a 3-2 Colorado lead that Betancourt could not protect.
There’s one last dance Wednesday in the desert, a chance at loss 99 for the Rockies in this season gone-awry. Jeff Francis will pitch for the Rockies, hoping to impress as he heads to free-agency. Ace Ian Kennedy will be on for Arizona, which with a win will finish the year in positive territory. First pitch is 5:10 pm.
The slates are set for the playoffs, but in the American League the match-ups are yet to be determined. The Tigers, Yankees, Orioles, Rangers, and A’s are in. Detroit, with the worst record of all the contenders, relaxes watching Miguel Cabrera chase the first triple crown in 45 years (he had 2 hits and an RBI Tuesday). The Yankees lead Baltimore by one. Should the two tie, they’ll play for the division on Thursday in Baltimore. Texas and the A’s are tied. The AL West goes to the winner of their season finale tomorrow in Oakland. Who goes in the Wild Card, and where they go at it, has to wait at least another day.
Division titles have been long decided in the NL, going to Washington, Cincinnati and San Francisco, despite a late run on the Nationals by Atlanta. The Dodgers long run expired Tuesday when they fell
4-3 to the Giants. World Champion St Louis, which also lost, travels to Georgia Friday night to get Wild against the Braves. TBS will televise both Wild Card games.