Tyler Chatwood started his debut well. His fastball fastball sat 93-94 with plenty of movement. He dominated the first four innings, culminating in a ferocious strike-out of Buster Posey with a 95 mph fastball on the black of the outside edge of the plate, foul tipped, and held by Wilin Rosario.
Rosario had also provided the only meaningful offense of the day for either side to that point when he smacked his first round-tripper of the season off a hanging slider from Tim Hudson.
Troy Tulowitzki had done his part on the defensive end, providing two "web gem" quality plays. The first was a double play turned when the Giants attempted a hit and run. With the runner barreling in on him and Tulo already in good position -- because he was covering the bag and the ball was hit hard -- he had the presence of mind and trust in his arm to tap second, hop the runner, land safely, and then fire to first.
He also robbed Pablo Sandoval on a ball up the middle that found Tulo well on the second baseman's side of the bag. Where most fielders would have to either pirouette or gather their feet with an extra step to throw accurately, Tulo unleashed a cross-body sidearm laser that barely hindered his runaway momentum into shallow right-field and hit his target perfectly for the out.
Few things better in baseball than watching #Rockies Tulo do his job at short. Amazing.— Patrick Saunders (@psaundersdp) April 13, 2014
Trouble reared it's ugly head in the kingdom of Lord Chatwood in the bottom of the fifth. He plunked Hunter Pence, to start things off. Now that I think about it "Plunk" is a pretty good nickname for Pence.
Michael Morse took advantage of Chatwood's first bad pitch in the zone by driving it off the wall in left field but was held to a single as Carlos Gonzalez played it perfectly and hurried the ball back to the infield. With runners at the corners, Brandon Crawford tied the game at one with a sac fly.
And Rockies fans hopes that the damage was done their would soon turn to ash in their mouths as the debt was soon repaid.
Brandon Hicks grabbed a base hit putting runners at first and second with pitcher Tim Hudson coming to the plate and a decent chance to get out of the dire situation they found themselves in.
After getting plenty of deserved praise for his defensive performance yesterday, "Baby Bull" Wilin Rosario made a costly error when he failed to come up with a spiked fastball allowing both runners to advance.
The pitch missed its location by quite a bit but Rosario attempted to backhand-stab at the baseball rather than sell-out and smother it in the dirt. Still, Chatwood induced a shallow fly-out from Hudson and the Rockies could again see hope. Alas,Angel Pagan delivered a two-out two RBI single just over the head of a leaping DJ LeMahieu. The pitch was not a bad one, a two-seemer tailing away from the hitter. If not for Rosario's error, it is likely only one run would have scored.
In the bottom of the sixth, Tyler Chatwood grooved a fastball to Pablo Sandoval that he sent toward McCovey Cove. It was inconclusive whether the ball actually landed in the water, but it was a no-doubter. When Drew Goodman was speaking before the game at length that Pablo Sandoval was off to an awful start, I turned to my roomate and said, "Panda gonna have a good day."
Chatwood powered through the sixth though, getting Buster Posey, Hunter Pense, and Micahel Morse out in order.
The Rockies struck back in the top of the seventh, when Justin Morneau showcased the power many Rockies fans were wondering if he still had. Tim Hudson had cruised through twelve consecutive Rockies hitters until Morneau drove a sinker away from him over the left-center field fence.
Morneau had struck out on the sinker earlier in the game, and this looked to me like an example of his smarts for the game paying off. He was looking for that sinker.
Franklin Morales replaced Chatwood and worked a clean seventh inning. Chatwood's final line: 6.0 IP, 4 ER, 5 K, 0 BB.
Nolan Arenado, ever-locked in his epic battle with the BABIP dragon, struck a mighty blow in the top of the eighth, leading things off with a double down the left-field line and scoring on an opposite field double from DJ LeMahieu who is developing a reputation as a guy you want up with runners on base.
Brandon Barnes was brought in to pinch-hit for Frankie-Mo and promptly, successfully bunted LeMahieu to third. With a runner on third, only one out, and the hot hitting Charlie Blackmon coming to the plate, manager Bruce Bochy decided Tim Hudson's day was done.
Hudson's final line: 7.1 IP, 4 ER, 5 K, 0 BB.
In an interesting move, Walt Weiss countered Bochy's decision to bring in left-specialist Javier Lopez by pinch-hitting for one of the hottest hitters in baseball...with much maligned Drew Stubbs.
But lions do not concern themselves with the opinions of us sheep and Stubbs delivered the biggest hit of the day to that point for the Rockies, singling through the left-side hole between third and short -- scoring DJ LeMahiue to tie the game 4-4.
Boone Logan entered the game in the eighth and after giving up a lead-off single to Pagan, struck out Brandon Belt and induced a double-play from Pablo Sandoval.
In the bottom of the ninth my heart went still, wintery fear shook my bones. When Gregor Blanco (okay, that isn't a Game of Thrones reference that is actually his name) hit a ball off the right-field fence that stuck into the ground in only a way it could at AT&Gimmick Ballpark, I saw flashes of Rockies fans videos that would make the "Red Wedding" reactions look tame.
As Blanco raced around the bases, flashbacks of a walk-off inside-the-park home run at this park last season raced through the minds of increasingly frightened Rockies fans. As Michael Cuddyer struggled to retrieve the ball and only began his throw as Blanco was rounding third, Rockies nation collective let out a gasp of exasperation. Twice in two years? Really?
LeMahiue strong throw to the plate... Rosario with a leaping tag... and....he's out! He's out! The game is still tied! The inning is over!
After mild threats in the top of the ninth and tenth innings went nowhere, the inevitable winter came for the Colorado Rockies.
Brandon Crawford ended things with a home run off of Rex Brothers that definitely went into the water out in McCovey Cove.
This was a heart-breaker for the Rockies. It was a game they were up in and may have remained so without Rosario's error, then they fought back valiantly for fan and country (Rockies country) and put themselves in a position to win. But in the game of baseball you win or you die. Well, no actually, you just lose. And that is ultimately what happened to the Rockies today.
But...for whatever it's worth to anyone who cares about such things, we played 'em close all series and this was a thousand times better than if we had lost on that inside-the-park home run nonsense.