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Rockies 10, Reds 9: Drew Stubbs' walk-off HR lifts Colorado to improbable win

The Rockies rallied for five runs in the ninth inning to win Game 1 of their doubleheader against the Reds on Sunday.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

DENVER -- It shouldn't come as a surprise that, on the day Todd Helton's jersey was retired by the Rockies, LoDo Magic returned to Coors Field.

Drew Stubbs hit a three-run, walk-off home run off of Reds reliever J.J. Hoover to cap off a five-run ninth inning and lift the Rockies to a 10-9 win in Game 1 of a doubleheader on Sunday.

"It really was [fitting]," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said after the game. "We made it a little tougher on ourselves than we wanted, but it all worked out in the end."

Colorado entered the bottom half of the ninth inning trailing by four runs after Cincinnati put two on the board against Rex Brothers in the top half. The Rockies' bullpen, which was so good in nine innings on Friday, allowed four runs in four frames.

Fortunately, Stubbs picked up his volatile teammates.

"It was a curveball," Stubbs said about the pitch he deposited into the left field pavilion. "He threw me two in a row, but that one he left in the middle of the plate. It didn’t really surprise me because I faced him the other night and he threw me a first-pitch fastball, then three [curveballs] in a row."

Stubbs knew he got it -- or, at least, knew he hit it well enough to do some sort of damage. "It didn’t get out by much," the outfielder added. "But I knew that if it wasn’t going to get out, I hit it to a spot where guys don’t normally catch it so I thought it’d at least be a double.

"It got over the wall and thankfully got the game over with."

Colorado began the inning by walking four consecutive times against vaunted Reds closer Aroldis Chapman, who issued four free passes only one other time in his career. "It’s not easy to go up there and face a guy throwing 100-plus," Weiss said. "Even if Chapman didn’t have great command, it’s still hard to lay off those pitches because you’ve got to make early decisions as a hitter about whether to swing when he’s running it up there that hard."

Nolan Arenado and Michael McKenry, who combined to go 5-for-5 with five walks from the fifth and sixth spots in the Rockies' order, got things started by staying patient at the plate. Josh Rutledge followed with a walk, and Charlie Culberson put together perhaps the best at-bat of all, fouling off three pitches on a 3-2 count before taking ball four to drive in the first run of the inning.

Wilin Rosario followed with a sacrifice fly and Stubbs delivered the game-winning blow two batters later.

"To get a win in [walk-off] fashion is kind of unique in this game," said Stubbs. "There aren’t a lot of things quite as special as that." The fact that Stubbs did it against his former team made it even more special.

"They’re the team that drafted me and brought me to the big leagues," Stubbs said. "It’s always nice to get a little retribution."

It was also nice for the Stubbs and the Rockies to deliver a thrilling finish that fit well with the pregame ceremony. Helton's former teammates Brad Hawpe and Matt Belisle told humorous stories of their time playing with Mr. Rockie, but the Toddfather's daughter, Tierney Faith, had the best line of them all.

"My daddy has been a Colorado Rockie for my entire life," Tierney said. "This stadium has been my second home. Thank you for that. Now that my daddy has been home with us this season -- a lot -- I want to ask you one question: do you want him back? Just kidding, Daddy. I love you. We are so proud of you."

Stubbs was taken back by Tierney and the others who delivered speeches during the ceremony, as well as by the event itself.

"Hearing Brad Hawpe and Belisle and his daughter speak was pretty neat," Stubbs said. "I think the Rockies did a great job of putting together that ceremony."

For a while, it looked like the Rockies were headed for yet another bad day despite the nice crowd of 42,31, the heartwarming pregame festivites, and their early 3-0 lead. First, a 21-minute rain delay in the first inning put a temporary downer on things. Then, Jordan Lyles, who pitched well through three frames, began to scuffle. The 23-year-old right-hander allowed a two-run homer to Jay Bruce in the fourth then labored through a 40-pitch fifth, giving up three runs on three hits and a walk.

"His command got away from him some," Weiss explained. "He looked good early, but started laboring in the fourth and fifth."

Around that same time, the Rockies' offense went dormant. Colorado was limited to four singles in the third through sixth innings while the Reds scored seven unanswered runs. The Rockies came alive in the seventh, getting a home run from Corey Dickerson and base hits from Arenado, McKenry and Michael Cuddyer. McKenry's single drove in Colorado's fifth run, cutting its deficit to two.

The Reds took advantage of poor pitching and sloppy defense to double their lead in the ninth, but that only served as a precursor to the dramatic ending.

"It’s good to see the guys continue to fight," Weiss said of his 48-75 club. "We’ve been fighting all along and it was nice to pull that one out today."

Source: FanGraphs

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