Ezequiel Tovar was very impressive in his MLB debut, and Colorado’s pitching staff was able to keep San Diego’s lineup at bay for most of Friday’s contest. It seemed they may be in danger of a late loss, but Alan Trejo was the extra-innings hero and made sure Rockies fans would celebrate Fireworks Night with a win.
Don’t leave me hangin...
The Rockies seemed to have a good sense for Sean Manaea’s pitches as they put ball after ball into play early on. For instance, the bottom of the first inning started with the promise of a quick lead as singles by Yonathan Daza and Randal Grichuk preceded Elehuris Montero’s walk, loading the bases with no outs yet recorded. Unfortunately, Elías Díaz flew out to shallow right field and Michael Toglia ground into a double play to end the threat.
It was much the same in the second. Sean Bouchard came up with two on and one out, but he flew out and Daza grounded out to keep Colorado off the board again.
San Diego would therefore take advantage, scoring two runs in the top of the third inning by way of an run-scoring groundout by Juan Soto and RBI single from Manny Machado (of course it was those two) to take a 2-0 lead.
Grichuk gets the Rox going
That 2-0 lead wouldn’t last long. In the bottom half of the third, Randal Grichuk took Manaea’s first pitch and cranked it out to left field for his 16th home run of the season.
The blast got Colorado on the board and seemed to give the home team’s offense a shot in the arm as they finally broke through in the fourth frame.
Ezequiel Tovar... there probably isn’t anyone reading this article that doesn’t know that name by now. Friday night was his chance to finally shine on the big stage, and he wasted no time making an impact.
His first at-bat came in the bottom of the second, where he took the very first pitch he saw back up the middle for his first MLB hit.
✅First at-bat— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) September 24, 2022
✅First Major League hit
Congrats, Ezequiel Tovar‼️ pic.twitter.com/cYRzjWh7Rv
Then, with two outs in the bottom of the fourth, he struck again - also on the very first pitch. That’s right, two pitches for two hits. No other Rockie has done that to start their career...ever.
After Tovar’s second knock, Sean Bouchard walked to once again put men on for Daza once again. He would not be denied again as he laced a triple into center field, scoring two runs and giving Colorado a 3-2 lead.
With the momentum firmly in their grasp, Colorado’s pitching staff would need to shut down San Diego for the rest of the game to send the crowd home happy.
Soto is explosive
Ryan Feltner did a solid job in his start, limiting the damage after that third inning and throwing five total innings of two-run ball on five hits and a walk while striking out three. Jake Bird then entered and threw two excellent innings, allowing no base runners as the Padres went down in order. Things were going swimmingly.
That was, until the top of the eighth. Carlos Estévez entered the game and recorded a quick fly out before facing Soto. The star outfielder showed why he’s considered one of the faces of the game as he cranked a high fastball deep to center field, tying things at 3 apiece. Soto’s 26th of the season reset the contest as we headed into the late innings.
Trejo’s tenth inning tally
After Daniel Bard pitched two scoreless innings of relief in the ninth and tenth frames, the Rockies had a chance to finish things in the bottom half. Garrett Hampson started at second base and was itching to run as he saw Charlie Blackmon take first base on an intentional walk. That meant that it fell to Alan Trejo, with two on base and one out, to win the game for the home crowd. With the count 1-0, reliever Adrian Morejon delivered his pitch, and fireworks followed.
The Rockies and Padres run it back with their second game tomorrow. San Diego’s Yu Darvish (15-7, 3.05 ERA) will duke it out with Colorado’s Chad Kuhl (6-9, 5.48 ERA) as the Rockies try to play spoiler to the Padres playoff aspirations.
First pitch is at 6:10pm MDT. See you then!
Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible achievement that Albert Pujols reached this evening. 700 home runs is a mark that few have ever reached, and in all likelihood no one ever will again. Congratulations to the living legend Albert Pujols!