The Rockies completed their third straight split of a four-game series against streaking teams today clobbering the Giants 11-2. It was Colorado’s first back-to-back victories since April 22-24. The men in purple pinstripes showed their swagger from the first pitch to the last pitch in the best baseball game of the year. Nolan “Vacuum” Arenado had the eyes of a tiger today. He had a leadoff hustle triple in the second inning and Ben Paulsen did what was missing most of the season – give himself up for a ground out RBI for the game’s first run. Both pitchers, Tim Hudson and Chad Bettis were humming along efficiently through three innings.
Colorado opened their “Baseball With an Altitude” textbook of how to play altitude baseball with some attitude in the fourth inning and blew the game open with a season best eight runs. Vacuum figured out the opposing pitchers’ book on him which was the reason he was rolling over to the left side on inside pitches. So he made the adjustment and went right field for his second hit of the game. It looked like the rally would be short-lived several times as Hudson, a very good ground ball pitcher, had several opportunites to end the inning with a double play ball. Vacuum advanced to second base on a soft grounder by Paulsen taking away DP chance. Then Brandon “The Energy” Barnes was hit by pitch to set up another DP chance. Nick Hundley after a long battle trying to keep the ball off the ground lined a single for a 2-0 lead. Dan Descalso singled hard up the middle to make it 3-0. Chad Bettis came up and hit a RBI grounder (2 outs at this point) while Descalso was on the move to avoid the DP. After a Chuck Nazty walk, Rafael Ynoa had an infield hit to load the bases. Then Tulo, after figuring out that he was swinging for the fences, had a nice liner to right center to make the score 6-0 chasing Hudson. Vacuum came to the plate for the second time in the inning and deposited the first Jean Machi pitch into the tunnel to blow the game open 9-0.
The extra curricular activity at the plate put a stamp of approval on the Rox’ swagger. Vacuum and Buster Posey had a testy exchange after Arenado crossed the plate. It was presumably that Posey was frustrated about the big rally that he told Arenado to start running on the HR while Arenado was not sure if the ball would stay fair. As soon as it was fair, Arenado did his business like trotting around the bases without any showboating. So Arenado like a champion was scolding Posey to keep his mouth shut. Remember that exchange for the end of the game.
Bettis pitched a very efficient game through eight innings on less than 90 pitches. He came out for the ninth, but fatigue caught up with him as he gave up two runs before handing the ball to Brooks Brown with Posey at third base and Brandon Belt at second base and one out. Vacuum put the exclamation mark on the game when he fielded a grounder and Posey heading home. No consolation prizes for the bad guy as he fired home instead of first for the second out to give Posey a message. A lot of swagger there. Brown then finished off San Francisco for a 11-2 final. Bettis went 8.1 innings giving up just six hits, four of them in the ninth, and two walks on 104 pitches, 73 for strikes.
The Rockies played their best game of the year for several reasons:
SP throwing first pitch strikes and commanding the zone while going deep into the game.
Aggressive but smart base running.
Two outs and two strike hitting.
Team struck out just three times.
Showed swagger without resorting to basebrawls.
The reserves are doing the work just as well as the starters. (D.J. LeMahieu and CarGo had the day off).
No WPs and no HBPs to pour gas on the mess created by the pitcher.
The Rockies are now 6-6 over the last 12 games after the 11-game losing streak. If they can figure out how to get a 11-game win streak going, that would cancel out the 11-game losing streak and get the team back in the NL West conversation. Now it’s on to Cincinnati who is on a losing streak with Eddie Butler going against Jason Marquis in the opening game of the series at 11 am MDT.