As it turns out, that can of whup-ass the Rockies opened-up on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the bottom of the eighth Monday night still had some in it, and Colorado opened it right-back-up in the bottom of the first on Tuesday. After a lead-off ground-out by Tyler Colvin, Rockies’ shortstop Josh Rutledge, back from a week on the bench with a sore quad-muscle, drove a long, flat fly ball toward the center-field wall. LA center-fielder Matt Kemp had it all the way. The All Star and near MVP turned his back and headed full-tilt for the wall. Warning-track be damned, Kemp continued-on and barreled into the barrier full-speed ahead, and crumpled to the ground upon impact as Rutledge cruised into third-base. It was the most violent collision I have witnessed in baseball since class-act Pete Rose torpedoed Ray Fosse’s career in the 1970 All Star game. And the wall didn’t even have a chip on its shoulder.
Kemp stayed down a good five minutes, got smelling-salts and was treated for a cut on his chin, but eventually sat-up with a big grin on his face and stayed in the game. An incredible show of guts.
Jordan Pacheco was not impressed and proceeded to dump a Texas-league pop-fly that sat down in front of Kemp, who hit the turf again with a belly-flop dive that came-up short as Rutledge scored and Pacheco pulled into second. Wilin Rosario then decided he’d try Kemp and drove a single to center that plated Pacheco. At this point Dodgers left-fielder Shane Victorino noticed Kemp was mumbling about mermaids and caryatids and singled for Juan Rivera to stand-in for the Los Angeles warrior.
The Rockies were not finished with Dodgers’ starter Chris Capuano, however. After Chris Nelson grounded to third for the second out Andrew Brown singled in Rosario with the third run, then DJ LeMahieu doubled-in Brown to make it 4-0 after one. Colorado would go on to defeat LA 8-4. It was their 15th win in 22 games since a disastrous 1-8 homestand ended on August 5.
Tyler Chatwood turned-in one of these starts that have typified the Rockies’ fortunes since Jaredean’s unfortunate visit to the Mile High City. He was anything but effective, but somehow bumbled his way through five-complete, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits. He walked 3 and struck-out 4. Two months ago a similar performance would have found the Rockies down by 5 before their second at-bat. The bullpen was once-again nails, with Matt Reynolds going an inning and a third, Carlos Torres handling two, and Rafael Betancourt coming-on with Torres struggling to close it-out in a non-save situation.
The Dodgers picked-up runs off Chatwood in the second and fourth, but each time Colorado answered, another staple of this run that was absent as little as a month ago. In the second Andre Ethier doubled with one out, moved-up on an Adam Kennedy single and scored on an AJ Ellis fly-ball. An inning and a half later Rosario blasted a solo homer. In the fourth Adrian Gonzalez led-off with a walk and moved to third on singles by Hanley Ramirez and Ethier. He scored on a double-play grounder by Kennedy, but the DP gave Chatwood a means to escape further trouble. The Rockies came right-back with a double by struggling Charlie Blackmon. Chatwood sacrificed Blackmon to third and Colvin singled to bring him home.
Colorado added two in the seventh on a Rutledge double and singles by Pacheco and Rosario. Rosario had 3 RBI and he and Brown were 3 for 4 for the Rockies. Rutledge, Pacheco, and Blackmon went 2 for 4. LeMahieu set a Rockies record and tied the major-league record with 12 assists at second-base. The Dodgers scored to no avail off Torres in the eighth and ninth; Ramirez led-off the final frame with a solo homer.
Colorado will go for its third sweep of August as the teams wrap things-up Wednesday afternoon in a 1:10 pm MDT start. LA will send recently acquired right-hander Joe Blanton against Rockies’ lefty Drew Pomeranz. The game will be telecast by MLB TV, and radio, as usual, is on 850 am KOA.