The Rockies and Angels traded punches in a back-and-forth game that wasn’t decided until the bottom of the ninth. The Angels took an early lead in the first inning going up 2-0 on a cluster of singles. Later in the third, the Rockies tied it up when Trevor Story hit an RBI double followed by a sacrifice fly that scored Tony Wolters. Story followed it up with an RBI triple in the fifth to give the Rockies a one-run lead, but the Angels would tie the game again in eighth when Jared Walsh took Mychal Givens deep to right center for his fourth homer of the year. Anthony Bemboom then hit a solo shot off of Daniel Bard in the ninth to put the Angels up 4-3. Tyler Buttrey came in to save the game in the ninth, but gave up a solo home run to Ryan McMahon that tied the game at 4. After a Josh Fuentes double and walks to Story and Daniel Murphy, Charlie Blackmon came up to bat with the bases loaded and two outs. He proceeded to pound a 3-1 pitch over the right field wall to end the game on a grand slam. The win puts the Rockies record at 21-23, one game back from the Cardinals for the final playoff spot in the National League.
Márquez settles in
German Márquez was once again ace-worthy tonight, going seven strong innings and limiting the Angels to just six hits, all of them singles. The Angels took advantage of some well placed grounders early on, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning to take a 2-0 lead. Four consecutive singles (two of which were of the infield variety) compounded by a throwing error by Story brought in the runs before disaster was averted when Márquez retired Shohei Ohtani with a ground ball and then struck out Taylor Ward. Márquez cruised through the next six innings before handing the ball over to the bullpen with a 3-2 lead. During the game, Márquez surpassed Jason Jennings for sixth place for career strikeouts in a Rockies uniform. The final line for Márquez was 7 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 5 K.
The Rockies really thrived with runners in scoring position and two outs. While they didn’t have many opportunities, they made the most of them. In the fifth inning with two outs, Raimel Tapia hit a single and then scored on the next at-bat when Trevor Story stroked a triple. Story had a great night going 2-for-4 with a walk and 2 RBIs. Then, of course, in the bottom of the ninth, Blackmon hit a grand slam, his second of the season and third of his career, to give the Rockies a walk off win. Blackmon ended the night going 2-for-4 with a home run and 5 RBI.
Fuentes making a case for himself
Josh Fuentes got the start in tonight’s game despite the platoon advantage that left-handed Daniel Murphy would pose against Canning. This is evidence that Bud Black has lost confidence in the veteran Murphy and tonight his decision paid off. Fuentes got on base with a single in the third inning and later scored on Story’s double to get the Rockies on the board. He also doubled in the ninth and scored the eventual winning run. Fuentes has a slash line of .333/.359/.528 and a wRC+ of 104. Expect to see more Fuentes and less Murphy during the Rockies stretch run.
The Rockies face the Halos again tomorrow for the second of three games. Jaime Barria (0-0, 3.38 ERA) will take on Kyle Freeland (2-1 3.60 ERA).