Rockies 8, Diamondbacks 3: Tulo's Clutch Bomb Keys Magic Eighth Ball

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 06: Troy Tulowitzki #2 of the Colorado Rockies celebrates his three run homerun off of David Hernandez #30 of the Arizona Diamondbacks with teamates Carlos Gonzalez #5 and Mark Ellis #14 of the Rockies who scored on the play in the eighth inning at Coors Field on September 6, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockies defeated the Diamondbacks 8-3. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Troy Tulowitzki is a phenomenal hitter, truly elite in every way among his peers.  The one thing Tulo has not been in his career is clutch.  In 607 career "high leverage" PA, Tulo has hit just .256/.332/.450.  In 473 career "late and close" plate appearances, he has been even worse:  .222/.320/.354.  Of his 122 career home runs, only two have come in the ninth inning, one yesterday in a laugher.

So when Troy Tulowitzki strode to the plate with the go-ahead runner in scoring position with two outs, Rockies fans had been conditioned to be pessimistic.  An ugly swing on a slider in the dirt only deepened the despair.  Then Tulo turned everything around by launching a David Hernandez curveball through the rain into the outfield seats in left-center for his 30th home run and 103rd RBI.  Suddenly, the Rockies were leading after entering the eighth inning with a 3-1 deficit.

Two out singles by Mark Ellis and Carlos Gonzalez preceded the bomb, and the Rockies piled on the Dbacks bullpen after Tulo's heroics with a Ty Wigginton single, Seth Smith triple, Wilin Rosario walk (his first career time on base), RBI single from Jordan Pacheco, and RBI walk from Dexter Fowler.  In all, nine consecutive Rockies reached with two outs.

67 - 75


Won 1


Pacheco had a single in his first at-bat in his MLB debut and added an RBI groundout.  He made a terrible error on a tough play that directly led to a run, and Wilin Rosario gave the Diamondbacks an unearned run with a passed ball, but the debuting duo were solid otherwise defensively.

Jason Hammel pitched arguably his best game of the season after returning back to the rotation, pitching seven innings, allowing one earned run and striking out a season-best six batters.  Matt Belisle secured the final out in the eighth inning, which gave him his tenth win of the season.  He leads MLB in relief victories and is one win shy of the franchise record, set by Gabe White in 2000.

Seth Smith tripled twice and singled, Pacheco had a couple hits and Carlos Gonzalez hit a double in addition to hit clutch hit in the eighth, which pushed his batting average with runners in scoring position and two outs to .478 on the season.

It has been a tough season, but for one night - really one inning - LoDo magic returned to Coors Field.


WPA Heroes

Troy Tulowitzki (+.449):  1-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, R, K.
Seth Smith (+.221):  3-for-4, 2 3B, RBI, 2 R.
Jason Hammel (+.153):  7.0 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 6 K, 1 BB.

WPA Zeroes

Wilin Rosario (-.161):  0-for-3, BB, R, K.
Dexter Fowler (-.152):  0-for-4, BB, RBI, R.
Matt Reynolds (-.129) 0.0 IP, 1 "H".

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