It's too bad the Rockies are not playing meaningful baseball right now, because that eighth inning is the type of thing you remember for a long, long time if you're in a pennant race.
The Rockies got on the board first, scoring a run in both the third and fourth innings. A Rafael Yona double coupled with a Justin Morneau RBI single drew first blood before back to back to back singles from Brandon Barnes, Josh Rutledge, and DJ LeMahieu doubled the lead the following inning.
The Padres came back to tie the game in the sixth when they finally broke through against a scuffling Jorge De La Rosa, but the veteran lefty pitched deep enough into the game while keeping San Diego off the board long enough to give his team a strong chance to win.
Anybody who's watched the lefty's journey through this organization knows just how far De La Rosa's come when he turns in a start like this. There's nothing impressive about the seven hits he allowed, the four walks he surrendered, or the San Diego lineup he was facing. However, what De La Rosa has learned to do as well as any pitcher ever has in this organization, is fight through trouble and get results.
He's emotionally charged, and early in his career would frequently let an outing like this spiral out of control fast, but through hard work and experience, he's learned to channel that fuel into a strength that lets him make the right pitch when he absolutely has to have it. If you want another reason why the Rockies signed this guy to a two year deal besides the team's home record when he starts, look at night's like tonight where he turns in two runs over six innings of work when the bullpen easily could have been in the game in the fifth inning with three or four runs on the board.
The seventh was mostly uneventful, but it did feature a scoreless inning of work from Juan Nicasio who has now posted a 3.24 ERA while holding opponents to a .637 OPS over his last 16 relief appearances. This continues to be an interesting candidate for a bullpen role next season.
Then came the crazy eighth. The offensively starved road Rockies received a jolt when they least expected it. Dale Thayer, who has a 1.98 ERA on the year and a 1.63 ERA since the All Star Break surrendered a lead off solo home to Drew Stubbs who launched it over the wall the other way to right for his 15th big fly of the year. Not only was it off a reliable reliever, it was also against a righty, the side of the platoon Stubbs has not fared nearly as well against this season.
In the bottom half of the inning, Rene Rivera tried to answer the Stubbs bomb with his own solo shot, but Brandon Barnes had other ideas ....
First of all, take a look at how much Ottavino's pitch misses its location inside. Wow was that a "hit me" hanger!
This play is all about Barnes however. Not only did he make a brilliant catch, but he also let the fans behind him know it. After the game, he had this to say:
"[The fans] were getting on me when I was playing catch saying that the ball was going to come out there, saying it was going to be a home run, and I told them I was going to rob one. On the first play it happened. So I gave them a little wave and told them what was up."
Fun moment, but the inning wasn't over. The Padres still manged to get two on with two out before DJ LeMahieu made another great defensive play to end the inning.
The Padres made things interesting again in the ninth as Will Venable worked an 11 pitch walk against LaTroy Hawkins to lead off the inning and later stole second. However, he would go no further. Hawkins, as he so often does when there's traffic, got the men he needed to nail down the win in the 998th game of his career.
As a result, the Rockies have now won the season series against the Giants, D'Backs, and Padres, despite their overall putrid record.
The victory, coupled with Arizona's loss tonight in Minnesota, also all but ensures the Rockies of a fourth place finish in the N.L. West. With each day that passes, it looks more and more like the D'Backs are going to be picking first in next year's draft. With just four games left, the most likely draft spot for the Rockies is the fourth pick, but the third and fifth selections are also still very much on the table.
Total Comments: 328
Total commenters: 19
AlexWhitesChauffeur, Chrysicat, Ducks_RockiesFan, ESterps08, JaySantos, Nephelimdream, NoDo Joe, Northsider1964, PurpleToPurple, RhodeIslandRoxfan, RockyMountainWay91, RoctoMom, SDcat09, The Ghost of Marv Throneberry, The Lodo Magic Man, bearpigman, butterfly2, holly96, rockiesfan4ever