This game featured Sam Hilliard’s return, a great Austin Gomber start, a Charlie Blackmon home run, and two critical Padres mistakes, all of which led to a wacky 5-3 win for the Rockies on Tuesday.
Gomber looks like his old self
Austin Gomber has struggled through much of this season, especially at Coors - a far cry from the dominant starter that held opposing teams to a 2.09 ERA at home last season. Friday’s start looked more like that pitcher, though, as after allowing an early run (a two singles and a Ha-seong Kim RBI double in the second inning) he settled in nicely and tossed six innings of really solid work. He worked around six hits and a walk - Kim accounted for two hits and the lone walk - while recording three strikeouts to keep Colorado in the game until the late innings.
Austin Gomber— RoxGifsVids (@RoxGifsVids) July 13, 2022
6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K pic.twitter.com/xKj1viHbpO
Hampson squeaks a run through
Carrying a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning, San Diego starter Mike Clevinger looked well on his way to a superb outing. After retiring eight of the first nine batters he faced and allowing just one base runner through the first four frames, the 31-year-old right-hander was in cruise control entering the middle innings. That would change when he faced down Garrett Hampson with Yonathan Daza at second base representing the tying run. Hampson sent a line drive up the middle to score Daza and finally break through Clevinger’s seemingly-impenetrable start.
H— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) July 13, 2022
TIE BALLGAME AT COORS
Blackmon piles on
As Clevinger came back out to the pitch the bottom of the sixth frame, it seemed the momentum had completely changed in the game toward the Rockies’ favor. Connor Joe reached by way of a hit-by-pitch and moved to third base on José Iglesias’ bloop single. Charlie Blackmon then stepped up ready to give Colorado their first lead of the game, and did so in grand fashion by sending Clevinger’s first-pitch changeup over the right field scoreboard for a three-run blast, his 14th home run of the season, to make it 4-1.
Blackmon has already hit more home runs than all of last season, and he trails only C.J. Cron for the Rockies team lead for round-trippers and RBI. That’ll play!
Sam Hilliard was called up to shore up the outfield while Kris Bryant is on the paternity list, and entered Tuesday’s game 0 for his last 20 at the major league level. Well he clearly went to bat with something to prove as he doubled in his first AB since June 14th. He then made some very nice plays in left field, the nicest of which came in the eighth inning during Austin Nola’s at-bat. With reliever Alex Colomé struggling with command and two runners on with no outs, Nola flew out to left as Luke Voit tagged up to move from second to third base. Hilliard had other ideas, and threw a dot to Ryan McMahon for the 7-5 double play.
An up-and-down first day
San Diego’s Esteury Ruiz was impressive in his MLB debut. The 23-year-old outfielder went 2-for-4 and added his first MLB RBI - a great day, right? Well not quite, as he also made a pivotal gaffe in a key situation.
In the top of the eighth inning, Colomé labored and allowed a run to make the game 5-2 before leaving with an undisclosed ailment. Lucas Gilbreath entered and after a passed ball, a base hit, and a walk, things were looking pretty dire for the home team. With two on and two outs with Kim - the game’s hottest hitter - at the plate in a 3-1 count, Ruiz took off from second and was thrown out attempting to steal third base, a call that was originally missed but overturned on a replay review. The play was crucial in getting the Rockies out of a potentially game-changing situation, and was a harsh lesson for the new big leaguer.
Daniel Bard then pitched a clean 1-2-3 ninth inning to secure his 19th save (why isn’t he an All-Star?) and cap off the wacky victory for the Rockies.
The Rockies and Padres play two more in their series, which is now tied 1-1. Wednesday’s affair will see one of San Diego’s All-Star representatives, Joe Musgrove (8-2. 2.09 ERA), do battle with Colorado’s Chad Kuhl (6-5, 4.02 ERA).
First pitch is at 6:40pm MDT. See you then!