There is the construct of the fight or flight response people sill have when faced with conflict, or in this case when a baseball team suffers a stomach-punch losses and loses a starting pitcher for the season, and the Colorado Rockies showed plenty of fight in a 7-6 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Starting pitcher Chad Bettis set the tone early, retiring the side in order and striking out a pair in the top of the first inning. The Rockies offense then got Bettis some quick run support in the bottom of the inning, as Charlie Blackmon led off with a double against Dodgers starter Mike Bolsinger and scored on a Troy Tulowitzki single.
The first inning was important for the Rockies, who sent a message to the Dodgers, and perhaps more importantly themselves, that they would not wilt after losing last night, 9-8, on a two-out, two-strike grand slam by Alex Guerrero in the ninth inning.
Los Angeles got on the board in the second when a throw to third by Carlos Gonzalez hit runner Howie Kendrick and bounced into the dugout, allowing Kendrick to score to tie the game. The Dodgers took the lead in the fifth when Justin Turner doubled home Joc Pederson, giving Los Angeles a 2-1 lead.
Bettis did not have his best stuff on the night, but like his team he fought, making it through six innings allowing two runs, one earned, on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts. He threw 102 pitches, 60 for strikes, and dropped his ERA to 2.70 on the season. It was Bettis' fourth consecutive quality start.
Down 2-1 entering the bottom of the fifth, the Rockies hitters found their fight against Bolsinger, as Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu led off the inning with back-to-back singles before Tulowitzki deposited a three-run home run, his sixth of the season, into the left field stands to give his team a 4-2 lead.
However, the back-and-forth did not stop there, as Christian Friedrich gave up three straight singles to Pederson, Turner and Adrian Gonzalez in the seventh to cut the Rockies' lead to 4-3. Brooks Brown then walked Kendrick and gave up a two-run single to Andre Ethier, giving the Dodgers a 5-4 lead.
Pederson extended the lead to 6-4 in the eighth with his 17th home run of the season against Scott Oberg.
The Rockies went down quietly in the eighth, but caught a break in the bottom of the ninth as the Dodgers did not use closer Kenley Jansen for reasons that have not been fully explained. Instead, it was Adam Liberatore to start the inning. Liberatore could not get the job done, however, giving up a single to pinch hitter Michael McKenry and a ground-rule double to Blackmon before being removed from the game.
Yimi Garcia, who had given up five runs to the Rockies in 4⅓ innings over six appearances this season, entered the game and failed to retire either of the two men he faced, walking LeMahieu to load the bases and Tulowitzki to force home a run, cutting the Dodgers' lead to 6-5.
Lefty J.P. Howell entered the game with the bases loaded to face Carlos Gonzalez, but his first pitch got past catcher Yasmani Grandal, allowing Blackmon to score and tie the game. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly then elected to intentionally walk Gonzalez, loading the bases again for Arenado, who would face the Dodgers' fourth pitcher of the inning.
Chris Hatcher entered the game and threw four fastballs to Arenado, the last of which was lifted deep enough to left field for LeMahieu to tag and score, giving the Rockies a much-needed 7-6 win.
It was a win that was as important for what it says about the character of the team than what it does for the standings, because it showed everyone that this team has a good amount of fight in it.