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Rockies split wild doubleheader at Coors against the Padres

Josh Fuentes hit his first-ever career walk-off to lift the Rox to victory in Game 2

Game 1: Padres 5, Rockies 3

In what was an overall competitive game, the Rockies fell just short of a comeback on the San Diego Padres. A grand slam by Victor Caratini in the seventh was the difference maker. The loss give the Rockies their fifth consecutive defeat and their eighth series loss out of twelve total series’.

Story takes advantage of Padres early mistakes

The Rockies did manage to get on the board early in the game. A Garrett Hampson walk in the first inning cost Yu Darvish an unearned run. The reason it was unearned was because of a mis-throw from Padres center fielder Trent Grisham on a Charlie Blackmon fly out. The error allowed Hampson to move up to second and then home when Trevor Story brought him in on an RBI single to center field.

That RBI was Story’s 21st, which puts him just one behind the team leader Ryan McMahon.

5th inning missed opportunities

After that early run, both Jon Gray and Yu Darvish were each pitching one-hitters until the fifth inning. Then the offenses were finally able to put some traffic on the base paths, but just weren’t able to capitalize.

The Padres loaded the bases in the top half of the inning after a bold decision by Bud Black to intentionally walk Victor Caratini that did not pay off after Gray subsequently hit the pinch hitting Austin Nola. With two outs and the bases loaded, Trent Grisham laid down an audacious bunt that Jon Gray was unable to field in time to tie the game up. It was a big moment early in the game, but it left much to be desired if you’re a Padres fan since Jake Cronenworth followed up by grounding out.

In the bottom half of the inning, Alan Trejo earned himself a walk but Jon Gray was unable to move him over and struck out on a third bunt fouled ball. Raimel Tapia then stayed hot and singled to get Trejo to third but the next batter, Garrett Hampson, was unable to bring them in.

Slam Diego in Colorado

The tide would turn in a major way the very next inning. After giving up a couple of walks and a hard hit fielding error to load the bases for the second inning in a row, Jon Gray was finally pulled and replaced by Robert Stephenson. Coming into the game, Stephenson had only given up two home runs all season but we all know what San Diego likes to do when the bases are loaded.

The big blow tacked on three more runs to Grays line but only one would be credited as earned.

Late game rally falls short

The Rockies showed some toughness and did not go down easy. After scoring a couple of runs in the sixth, the Rockies were able to load the bases in a last chance effort in the bottom of the seventh with two outs and Elias Díaz coming up to the plate. To his credit, he battled and might have put together his best at-bat of the season against one of the top closers in the league in Mark Melancon. Unfortunately though, it did not lead to a base hit and the Rockies late inning rally fell one solid hit short.

★ ★ ★

Game 2: Rockies 3, Padres 2 (8)

The Rockies won a wild one in extra innings, snapping their five-game losing streak. It was a pitchers duel for most of the game, but it was a certain cousin who played hero in purple pinstripes tonight.

Josh Freaking Fuentes

Today was Josh Fuentes’ first game in the starting lineup since May 9, and he made the most of it, going 2-for-4 with a run scored, one home run, three RBI, and just one strikeout.

The Rockies had gone six games without a home run, but Fuentes changed all of that with one swing of his bat:

It was Fuentes’ third home run of the year, and it gave the Rockies a 2-1 lead. When things looked dire in extras, Fuentes took it into his own hands to lift the team to victory:

Bud Black spoke about Fuentes after the game, saying he is “a very emotional player and he cares a lot.”

“I talked to him the other day about not beating himself up over the recent at-bats over the last couple of weeks,” Black continued. “He’s trying so hard to get hits that sometimes it works against him. So we talked a little bit about getting back to enjoying the game, which he does — he loves playing, he has a great passion to play — and don’t have it correlate with how many hits you get. A game like today hopefully will make him relax and get back to enjoying the game, and playing with a smile on his face and enjoying what he’s doing. That’s the best version of Josh — enjoying playing. I get it, when you’re scuffling, it’s hard to enjoy it, but you’re still out there on a big league field competing and hopefully today will help him unwind a little bit.”

Fuentes admitted to being hard on himself and feeling pressure against Nolan and the Cardinals over the weekend, and said that some of the coaches said they hadn’t seen him smile in “like two weeks.” Hopefully he’ll continue to “play free” and relax a little bit now that he’s busted out of his slump a little.

Awesome Austin (Gomber)

After a rough outing in St. Louis, Gomber came out on fire today. His curveball was outstanding and he went toe-to-toe with Blake Snell for the whole game. Snell lasted four innings, in which he allowed two earned runs on five hits alongside three walks and seven strikeouts. Gomber, on the other hand, lasted 5 13 innings in which he allowed one run (but ZERO earned) on four hits alongside six strikeouts and only one walk. Gomber has only allowed two walks in his last three games.

Of Gomber, Bud Black said he thought the lefty, “threw the ball outstanding. Really good curveball, good tight slider, some changeups, fastball located. I thought he threw the ball great, I really did.”

“I think the only mistake he made was when he tried to go inside to the shortstop and he hits a line drive to right center that scored their run,” he continued. “But besides that, I thought he was in control of the game it really was a hard decision for me to make there at the end, to take him out. But I just felt that where he was pitch count wise and Daniel [Bard] was fresh, and I thought the matchups there in the sixth favored Daniel, and Nola had a couple base hits off Austin. But he pitched great, he really did. I’m really proud that he bounced back after his last start.

Dazzling Defense

At the end of the game, it was the defense that really was the hero of the game. After a quick strikeout of Ha-Seong Kim, Brian O’Grady hit a quick pinch-hit double on the first pitch of his at-bat. A wild pitch from Daniel Bard advanced O’Grady, and then pinch hitter Victor Crantini — who hit the grand slam in Game 1 — hit a single to score him. Trent Grisham then singled to put men on first and second with one out. Jake Cronenworth flied to Raimel Tapia, who then threw to Ryan McMahon for the force out at third.

Immediately after, Elias Díaz caught Grisham trying to steal third to end the inning.

In extras, McMahon returned the favor, mowing down Cronenworth at home. It wasn’t without a little drama of a Padres’ challenge of the home-plate collision rule, but it was upheld and Cronenworth was called out. If not for this defense, it would’ve been a much different ballgame.

Up Next

The Rockies continue their homestand with a four-game series against the Cincinnati Reds. Chi Chi González will take the mound for the Rockies against right-hander Luis Castillo. First pitch is at 6:40pm MDT.