The sleep-deprived Colorado Rockies battled it out for 9 tough innings, and saw leads of 1-0 and 4-2 evaporate, but they pasted together a run in the top of the 9th against fireballing left-hander Aroldis Chapman (2-3, 1.86) to defeat the Cincinnati Reds 5-4 on Monday afternoon at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was Cincinnati’s 9th consecutive defeat.
Eddie Butler started for the Rockies and lasted 6 white-knuckled innings, leaving it in a 4-4 tie for the bullpen. Colorado got the scoring started in the top of the 1st when Charlie Blackmon walked, stole 2nd, moved to 3rd on a ground ball, and scored on a Nolan Arenado single. The Reds went ahead in the bottom of the inning on a Joey Votto double and Todd Frazier home run. The Rockies answered immediately, as Nick Hundley reached on an error and Daniel Descalso singled. Butler moved the runners to 2nd and 3rd with a nicely executed bunt, and after Blackmon struck-out, DJ LeMahieu singled the runners home with a scorcher up the middle.
Arenado gave Colorado a 2-run lead with a solo homer to center in the 4th, but Cincinnati answered with a Marlon Byrd double and Billy Hamilton single. The Reds pulled-even in the 6th on a lead-off homer by Byrd against Butler.
Christian Friedrich came on for the Rockies in the 7th, and got 2 outs before surrendering singles to Jay (certainly not Jack) Bruce and Brayan Peña. Colorado manager Walt Weiss went to Rafael Betancourt
(2-1, 3.12) for 4 outs, and Raffy got Byrd to fly to Brandon Barnes for the third out. Betancourt was perfect in the 8th, and Cincinnati went to Chapman for the top of the 9th with the game tied.
Blackmon, who scored twice and had 3 stolen bases, worked Chapman for a 6-pitch walk, then LeMahieu, in an 0-2 hole, cued a sand-wedge over the head of 1st-baseman Votto, Blackmon to 3rd. Arenado, out of the funk that had him scuffling earlier in the week, lifted Chapman’s first offering, a 98 MPH fastball, to short center. Hamilton set himself up for a throw to the plate, but it was 4 feet up the 1st-base line, and Blackmon was home with the game winner.
On came the Ax. Right-hander John Axford had the top of the Reds order on his plate, and he got fly balls out of Brandon Phillips and Votto before Frazier weaseled-out a walk. Bruce (not Jack) worked Axford to 2-2 before another fly ball landed in Blackmon’s glove for the Colorado’s third win in a row.
The Rockies get a full night’s sleep tonight, then lace them up to face the Reds again in the second of three, 5:10 pm MDT Tuesday. Colorado ace Jorge De La Rosa takes the hill against Cincinnati right-hander Michael Lorenzen.