Twice this past week, the Rockies aggressively refused to give up on late-game deficits, coming within one run of a glorious come-from-behind win. This time, the Rockies held the lead for most of the game, but when the bullpen was unable to hold that lead (twice), the Rockies showed they meant business and retaliated with extreme prejudice.
Drew Pomeranz was stellar today, keeping the Dodgers' offense muted in his longest MLB outing (I wouldn't be surprised if it was his longest professional outing in terms of pitch count, but I'm not sure). Although Pomeranz was inefficient with his pitches early on and put up four walks on the day, Pomeranz never lost control of the game despite the narrow run margin. Pomeranz made it six and two thirds, throwing 113 pitches, as Jim Tracy's hand was once again forced to try and limit the bullpen use. That wouldn't end up happening.
The Dodgers got on the board first, as Team Ellis scraped together a run. AJ Ellis walked to lead off the third inning. After advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt from Clayton Kershaw, former Rockies Mark Ellis singled in his fellow Ellis, who just beat the throw to the plate.
Clayton Kershaw is not an easy opponent, and today was no exception, at least at first. He limited the Rockies offense to just four hits in the first seven innings of the game, but the Rockies made him pay on two of them. In the fourth inning, the surging Carlos Gonzalez hit his sixth home run of the year, and the following inning, Wilin Rosario put up a second solo shot, his second home run of 2012, giving the Rockies a 2-1 lead that would last until an ugly eighth inning. Nonetheless, Kershaw was extremely efficient, and was averaging around ten pitches an inning.
Matt Kemp singled off of Matt Belisle to lead off the frame. After retiring Juan Rivera, the game of Bullpen Musical Chairs began with an appearance from Rex Brothers to attempt to retire Andre Ethier. Brothers let Ethier get away with a single, and after a wild pitch moved Ethier into scoring position. Tragedy struck as one 'dem der dagnab Hairston boys (Jerry Jr, in this case) doubled in the two Dodgers sluggers off the glove of Chris Nelson, giving Los Angeles the lead and Rockies fans everywhere a bad case of the sad. Esmil Rogers successfully retired the next two batters, but the damage was done.
The Rockies offense didn't care, Kershaw or no Kershaw. Pinch hitter Marco Scutaro singled, advanced to second on a Jonathan Herrera bunt, and Dexter Fowler drive him in to tie the game back up. Carlos Gonzalez took Kershaw deep for the second time on the day. It was his second two-run homer game in the past nine days, a period during which Gonzalez has hit all seven of his 2012 home runs. That's how fiery he is right now, folks, and any lingering frustrations from last night's final at bat stormed out the window, as well as Kershaw in favor of former Rockie Jamey Wright, who prevented more damage.
Rafael Betancourt allowed a leadoff single to Adam Kennedy in the ninth, followed by strikeouts of Tony Gwynn Jr. and Mark Ellis. After gambling with an intentional walk to Matt Kemp, Betancourt was one strike away from saving the game, but defensive replacement Dee Gordon doubled in both runs, returning the game to a neutral state again. It was Betancourt's first blown save of the year. By the way, all you people fighting with each other in the game thread were naughty children and will not get any presents this year.
But the back and forth, unsettling shifts in momentum weren't done. Wright walked two batters to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Tracy chose to pinch hit Jason Giambi for Dexter Fowler, prompting the Dodgers to counter with Scott Elbert. Giambi hit his first home run of the year, winning the game in walkoff fashion.
What a dizzying game. The Rockies are back to .500 yet again, and have tomorrow off before beginning a series against the Atlanta Braves. The Rockies have yet to sweep or be swept in a series this year.
12 - 12
What a maddening graph. Also, there was this:
Carlos Gonzalez for player of the week, plzkthxbai.