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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How Playoff Games Are Supposed To Go: Rockies 6, Giants 4

In a duel of sub-aces, Barry Zito and Jason Marquis, both left after pitching well despite getting into a jam or two. Both sides were locked at 1-1 going into the ninth, and both teams had a man on second with no (the Giants' Ryan Garko hit a leadoff double) or one (Ian Stewart worked a leadoff walk and was sacrificed over by Yorvit Torrealba) outs; neither scored.

That set up a pretty long string of extra innings that consisted mainly of flubs and squandered chances; Troy Tulowitzky, for instance, tried to stretch a single into a double in the bottom of the tenth, and got thrown out for his trouble. Randy Winn reached second in the 13th, and he couldn't score. Combined with one of our new dogs biting my ankle — for reasons I still don't entirely understand — it was a frustrating night. I decided to go for a walk right about the middle of the 12th.

That was actually too bad, because two innings later, the Giants finally broke through with pair of triples and a walk — not in that order — the big damage coming on Eddie Velez's three-bagger. A Juan Uribe groundout later, and San Francisco had a tidy 3-run lead.

However, they also had a badly depleted bullpen, and when the normally speedy Dexter Fowler — I say "normally" here because he fouled off a pitch on his right knee in this at-bat — worked a leadoff walk, it looked like good things for the Rocks might be in store. (Fowler will miss the Dodgers series for sure, and the Rocks are looking seriously depleted in the outfield right now.) But they would need a lot more baserunners to even tie it, and when Clint Barmes popped out harmlessly to right field, you began to wonder whether the Giants might be leaving town with a series split.

Nope. A Chris Ianetta single and a Tulo walk later, the bags were juiced for Adam Eaton, who had just given up the go-ahead runs and was batting for himself. Now, Jim Tracy had instructed Eaton not to take the bat off his shoulders (something Tracy mentioned in a postgame interview on the Rockies home page under the "Video Corner" on the upper right), and after he worked a walk, that brought up Spilborghs. Spilborgs had personally stranded four baserunners on the night, but not this time, and wow grand slam. He ran around the bases like a man late for a train, the first walk-off grand slam in team history. What a finish!

Postscript: Jon correctly notes that this will leave the Rockies' pitching staff very weakened for tonight's game.

Purple Row is suitably ecstatic. I wonder if Mark T.L. Donohue has changed his mind about this:

I know for a fact the Rockies aren't going to contend again so long as this ownership/management regime holds sway.
Huh. I miss Bad Altitude at moments like this.

McCovey Chronicles:

10:35: Miller walks the pitcher. Tying run at second. Winning run at first. Thanks for the surprisingly productive work this year, Justin, but I'd just as soon never watch you pitch again.

10:39: The season is over.

The season is over.

The season is over.

That's the worst game I've ever seen.

The Giants are now four games back of the Wild Card.

Update: Check out the Rockies' remaining schedule:

3 vs Dodgers
6 @ SF
3 vs Arizona
3 vs Cincinnati
3 @ San Diego
3 @ Arizona
3 vs San Diego
3 vs. St. Louis
3 vs. Milwaukee
3 @ Dodgers
The division is within sight. The Dodgers have
3 @ Colorado
3 @ Cincinnati
4 vs. Arizona
3 vs. San Diego
3 @ Arizona
3 @ San Francisco
3 vs. Pittsburgh
3 vs. San Francisco
3 @ Washington
3 @ Pittsburgh
3 @ San Diego
3 vs. Colorado
So it becomes a battle of whupping the bad teams, with perhaps a slight edge to the Dodgers, who will see Pittsburgh twice in that span.

Yahoo boxRockies recap

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It's a good thing you don't have a Newfoundland dog!
Newfies aren't generally known as biters; Pomeranians and the other smaller Nordic breeds can be, though.

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