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Rockies 8, Cardinals 6: Rodgers’ blast seals series win

A six-run seventh inning gives insurance against a shaky bullpen performance

This game had a little bit of everything. Home runs galore, strikeouts, untimely walks, bullpen scaries; we even had ourselves another Nolan Arenado reunion that could have turned extremely sour for Rockies fans.

Three runs of insurance by Brendan Rodgers proved decisive in today’s three-run victory at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Rockies were able to take advantage of consecutive walks leading up to it, and a sixth-run seventh inning allowed the Rockies to evade four runs allowed in the final two frames.

Five different Rockies collected an RBI, but none collected more than Rodgers on one swing. The Rockies’ pitching staff was largely unable to evade the Cardinals’ top hitters, but the all-around effort by hitters — and a few Cardinals relievers — pushed this combined 14-run affair in favor of the Rockies.

Márquez tosses six frames, escapes late traffic

Today’s contest had the opportunity of being a statement game for Colorado starter Germán Márquez, facing a Cardinals lineup with plenty of recent momentum. A double by leadoff hitter Lars Nootbaar threw Márquez into the fire, but a pair of big strikeouts would follow.

Arenado, one of the hottest hitters in baseball, would then step to the plate. His flyout stranded an early runner in scoring position.

Márquez allowed a leadoff hit in four of his six innings of work. Only one would score, however: a fourth-inning home run by Nolan Gorman. The only additional run allowed to Márquez’s line was a fourth-inning RBI single by Corey Dickerson, scoring after a Paul Goldschmidt double.

In his final inning of work, Márquez allowed another leadoff hit to Goldschmidt, followed by a one-out double by Dickerson. The threat ended with a pair of strikeouts, and Márquez departed in line for the win.

Márquez’s final line: 6 IP, 8 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 6 K

Cardinals’ Hudson burned by walks, Serven double

St. Louis starter Dakota Hudson encountered similar traffic to lead off innings. Two of his five frames began with a walk, while two others began with a single.

After opening the bottom of the first with a leadoff base on balls, Hudson settled in with a fielder’s choice and a pair of strikeouts. He ran into traffic during the second with a leadoff single and a pair of walks, however, and a one-out double by Brian Serven would cash in Colorado’s first runs of the game:

The Rockies would remain off the scoreboard for the remainder of Hudson’s work. He faced the minimum in both the third and fourth inning, and after a leadoff walk to begin the fifth, a series of ground balls and a strikeout ended a threat with runners on the corners.

Hudson’s final line: 5 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 4 BB, 6 K

St. Louis relievers Hicks, Cabrera face serious traffic

St. Louis’ Jordan Hicks tossed a three-up, three down bottom of the sixth. He opened strong.

The floodgates would then open.

Hicks returned to the mound after the seventh-inning stretch, recording a quick groundout but walking the next two batters faced. He was then replaced with the Cardinals’ also-hard-throwing Genésis Cabrera — who was welcomed by four consecutive hits.

With Brian Serven (walk) on first, Sam Hilliard (walk) on second, and a 2-2 tie:

  • Charlie Blackmon singled to right (Hilliard scored, Serven to third)
  • José Iglesias singled to center (Serven scored, Blackmon to second)

The Rockies took a 4-2 lead — and the damage was only beginning. With two runners on:

Brendan. Rodgers.

After Rodgers’ 11th home run of the season, Colorado’s win probability jumped as high as 97.8%. The Rockies began the seventh inning at 55.6%.

That probability jumped even higher:

Ryan McMahon’s 12th longball of the year pushed the Rockies in front 8-2.

With a well-rested bullpen on manager Bud Black’s lineup card, it was going to take a performance to put the Cardinals back in contention.

Rockies’ Gilbreath provides bullpen bright spot

Not to be overlooked: Lucas Gilbreath had a great showing in the top of the seventh between Hicks’ innings. Gilbreath collected three straight groundouts in a 2-2 ballgame, helping bridge to an eventual lead.

Bullpen scaries: Colomé hit hard by St. Louis’ heart of the order

The top of the eighth inning opened with a six-run lead by Colorado. Setup man Alex Colomé entered for his first appearance of the three-game set, but it was extremely short-lived.

Low-leverage work got the best of the seasoned reliever: a leadoff walk to Gorman and a home run by Paul Goldschmidt had the Rockies suddenly wondering about a potential save situation.

Old friend Nolan Arenado made that save situation official:

Estévez carves, preserves save situation

Colomé departed after his three batters faced, giving way to next-in-line setup man Carlos Estévez with a three-run lead. Estévez sat down three hitters in order, ending the eighth inning with a strikeout.

Despite the concerning start to the inning, the Rockies’ didn’t see their win percentage drop below 90 for the entire frame.

Bard plays with fire, earns save number 24

Yadier Molina opened up the bottom of the ninth with a groundout. This was the last moment for Rockies fans to catch their breath until the final out was recorded.

Colorado closer Daniel Bard had not yet faced the Cardinals this year. With one out and the ninth-hitting Brendan Donovan at the plate, any traffic on the bases would mean Bard would need to work out of it with the terrorizing Goldschmidt and Arenado looming.

Donovan reached with a single.

The Cardinals leadoff hitter, Nootbaar, walked.

The two hitter, Nolan Gorman, singled to left.

Oh dear.

Bases were loaded for Goldschmidt, just one inning removed from his two-run blast. Bard was able to pick up one out on a fielder’s choice, one run scoring.

8-6. Two outs.

Arenado was back.

Another home run would have put the Cardinals in the lead.

A strikeout by Bard sent 30,293 fans home with a Rockies series victory.

Up Next

Colorado is set to welcome the Arizona Diamondbacks to Coors Field for a three-game set starting on Friday evening. Both teams faced off in Phoenix last weekend, and in an another interesting tale of the schedule, the Rockies and Cardinals will again face off next week in St. Louis.

Arizona’s Zach Davies will open the weekend set on Friday night with Antonio Senzatela on the mound for the Rockies. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. MDT.