In a fitting wrap to a night punctuated by the Wilin Rosario faithful badmouthing Rockies management after his optioning to AAA, two of the players who have to take up the slack delivered big, along with a badly needed starting pitching performance and timely power.
After a pitched battle, the Rox came up tied 4-4 in the bottom of the 9th facing Shawn Kelley. Nolan Arenado singled. CarGo continued his inability to cash in runners with a K. Michael McKenry, who we pointed out in our FirstLook had hit James Sheilds well and got the start tonight, singled to cap his 3-for-4 night. DJ LeMahieu received an intentional pass to load the bases.
Daniel Descalso, cast as the villain who hasn’t done anything in 2015 and now is the PH and tough-lefty 1B platoon, strode to the plate. The Padres huddled, taking more time than Philip Rivers to call a play. Wil Meyers was summoned in for the dreaded five-man infield (something Bud Black learned from Mike Scioscia). Descalso fouled off a pitch, then delivered a solid single to LF over Justin Upton’s head for the first RoxWalkOff of the year!
Besides the big night from McKenry (who even stole a base), Corey Dickerson provided the rest of the scoring with 2 solo HRs (#PorchDickerson). Concerns about his plantar fasciitis may have been overstated.
The Padres matched that effort with two solo shots off Kyle Kendrick, one by Yangervis Solarte and one by Wil Meyers. Kendrick, however, got the email about “throw more strikes” (or read our FirstLook) and pounded the plate all night. In 7 innings with 1 BB and 7 hits, he threw 61 strikes out of 86 pitches. He matched Big Game James, who wasn’t dominant.
Kendrick was spared more than once by his infield. Arenado and Tulo turned in another night of highlight reel footage. On the flip side, the Rockies ran into outs at 3B with nobody out – the cardinal sin, committed by LeMahieu and McKenry – twice, as well as an ill-advised attempt by Rafael Ynoa to advance on a squirter away from Derek Norris.
Many comments said Weiss left Kendrick in an inning too long, coughing up the lead. Maybe. I always try to evaluate: is the guy you want to bring in from the pen better than what the guy on the mound has left. It would have been Brown or Logan. The Rox pen needed an extra inning. Axford threw a clean 8th, and Ottavino threw a clean 9th.
It wasn’t a perfect night, but it was a team effort snapping a five-game losing streak. When pitchers throw strikes, the defense is more alert and makes plays, and the offense has a chance to deliver.