The Colorado Rockies staked the Los Angeles Dodgers and their stud starting pitcher to an early lead on Friday. That seemed like a recipe for disaster, but the offense responded and the bullpen was nails, leading the Rockies to a comeback 5-4 victory.
Carlos Gonzalez is the guy who can provide a spark down the stretch unlike anybody else on the Rockies. He left us all feeling good with a big home run Thursday night, and he started Friday out with the same good vibes. On a high fastball from Yu Darvish in the 1st inning, CarGo hit a vintage CarGo line drive home run to the opposite field.
The home run was loud and low and left in a hurry, and if you dare to dream on a hot streak in the games that matter most, this moment would be a pretty good excuse to do so. It also gave the Rockies a kick in their step by striking first, but on this night, the Dodgers were able to respond.
German Marquez was unsteady and fought his command in a short outing. The Dodgers did their damage against him in the first inning, with the big blows coming on a Justin Turner two-run home run and a two-run single from Austin Barnes.
On those hits and leading up to them, the problem was the same for Marquez: he was falling behind hitters and working up too much. All told, Marquez went four innings, allowing those four runs on three walks and two strikeouts. By not allowing any further runs, the rookie at least gave the Rockies room to catch up, and that’s exactly what they did.
The Rockies’ offense broke through against Darvish in the 5th inning, stringing together the big hits that have been missing for so much of the past month. Alexi Amarista started the rally with a double, followed by a walk from Jonathan Lucroy. At that point it was clear that Darvish, who was dominant through four innings and had earlier recorded his 1,000th career strikeout, was struggling to locate his pitches.
Starting with pinch hitter Raimel Tapia, Colorado made Darvish pay with back-to-back-to-back doubles. Tapia drove in his ninja friend and his bearded friend with a liner to left-center field. Charlie Blackmon roped a double down the right field line, and DJ LeMahieu got enough out in front of a rollover grounder down the left field line that it rolled into the corner and plated Blackmon.
That rally gave the Rockies a 5-4 lead, at which point they handed things to the bullpen. Antonio Senzatela worked around a walk for a scoreless 5th inning. Then it was on to Chris Rusin, who could have simply offered his usual stellar pitching, but instead did so while making things highly entertaining.
The aforementioned Justin Turner does not care for Rusin’s “quick pitch,” no leg kick motion. Tonight marked the second time that he has complained to the home plate umpire about it. As a matter of fact, Turner started complaining tonight before Rusin even threw a pitch.
With the tying run on third in the 6th inning, Rusin worked from the windup and quick-pitched Turner all the way to a strikeout looking and a disgusted bat flip. He then earned some bonus disdain from Cody Bellinger with quick pitches in the 7th on his way to two scoreless innings.
Pat Neshek worked a clean 8th inning despite a lead-off walk that shouldn’t have been a walk. More importantly, Greg Holland looked like his old dominant self as he sat down the heart of the Los Angeles lineup in order in the 9th for the save.
We are not far removed from a moment this season when an early 4-1 deficit would have felt insurmountable. The offense was so bad that this feeling would have been there if the game was at Coors Field, never mind in Dodger Stadium.
This is as encouraging a win as the Rockies have had, and it came at the right time. With the win, they hold onto a 2.5 game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals for the second wild card spot.
The Rockies continue this pivotal series against the Dodgers on Saturday night with Chad Bettis starting opposite Alex Wood.