With two-thirds of the season in the books, Colorado has seen its share of ups and downs in 2020. And while it’s likely that many were not awake to witness it, Sunday’s 7-6 series-clinching win over the Dodgers may have been the most important of the season thus far the Colorado Rockies.
The game ended just shy of midnight in the mountain time zone after a strange late-night start on Sunday. But handing the MLB-best Dodgers (30-12) their first series loss of the season should not go unnoticed as the Rockies prep for the homestretch push toward the postseason.
Once again, Colorado (20-20) finds itself at .500 and sits one-half game ahead the the fourth-place San Francisco Giants (20-21) in the National League West.
Kemp’s blast lifts Rockies
Matt Kemp is used to performing late-inning heroics at Dodger Stadium, and he was at it again Sunday night — albeit from the visiting side of the diamond. Kemp’s two-run, go-ahead home run in the eighth inning was the difference in the game.
Down 7-6 at the time and with Kevin Pillar on first base, the longtime Dodger and current Rockies designated hitter sent an 0-1 pitch into the left-field seats with no outs in the eighth inning to give Colorado the lead.
Then, despite some drama in the ninth inning, the bullpen closed it out as Colorado took two of three games in L.A. Rockies closer Daniel Bard walked two batters in the bottom of the ninth inning. He then had to face Corey Seager — who had already homered twice in the game — with the tying run on second. Bard induced a groundball to second to pick up his sixth save of the season.
Making a case at first base
Josh Fuentes got the start at first base again Sunday night — and, boy, did he make the most of it. Fuentes hit a two-run home run in the second inning to give the Rockies a 2-1 lead. Then he flashed the leather in the bottom half of the inning with a scoop on a double play started with an outstanding jump throw by Nolan Arenado.
Fuentes got the nod over Daniel Murphy — who has started 25 games at first base for the Rockies this season — and extended his career-high hit streak to eight games.
After a late night in L.A., the Rockies will travel to San Diego for a three-game series that begins Monday. Kyle Freeland (2-1, 4.09 ERA) is scheduled to start the Labor Day matchup for the Rockies. The Padres will send Dinelson Lamet (2-1, 2.62 ERA) to the hill, and first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. MT.