DENVER -- With the Rockies trailing by one run and down to their final two outs, DJ LeMahieu tapped into Colorado's late-inning magic and hit a two-run walk-off homer in a 5-4 win over the D-backs, helping secure its hold on first place in the National League West.It was the
DENVER -- With the Rockies trailing by one run and down to their final two outs, DJ LeMahieu tapped into Colorado's late-inning magic and hit a two-run walk-off homer in a 5-4 win over the D-backs, helping secure its hold on first place in the National League West.
It was the Rockies' 43rd come-from-behind victory this season, their eighth walk-off win of the season and their fifth walk-off homer. LeMahieu, who recorded his first career walk-off hit, received a standing ovation from the 31,687 fans at Coors Field as he was showered in ice water by his teammates.
"I was just looking to drive the ball," LeMahieu said. "I enjoyed it for sure. It was my first walk-off. It was just really cool, a lot of fun."
The Rockies maintained a 1 1/2-game lead over the Dodgers, who beat the Reds earlier in the day, and extended their lead over the third-place D-backs to 3 1/2 games.
Gerardo Parra opened the ninth with a single off D-backs reliever Yoshihisa Hirano, then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Charlie Blackmon. LeMahieu followed with his game-ending home run.
"Charlie in the last five days was hitting great, and then he sacrifices a bunt," Parra said. "That's big when you see that. We play with each other. We don't play like we're thinking about the Dodgers. We just play to win. We're a team right now. That's what's important right now."
Hirano pitched a scoreless inning and earned a save on Tuesday, but the Rockies had better success against him this time.
"I know [LeMahieu] hit it good," Parra said. "I was jumping because it was a homer, and that's a great win today. When we win like that, we're more excited, more happy, and tomorrow the attitude is way better. That's a big game right now."
The team effort was perhaps best exemplified by the Rockies' bullpen, which combined to toss five perfect innings -- a franchise record for the 'pen -- after starter Jon Gray lasted only four. Chris Rusin pitched the fifth and sixth, Scott Oberg took the seventh and eighth and closer Wade Davis pitched the ninth, earning the win.
"The credit goes to the bullpen, too," Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado said. "That was huge for us. We needed them. And honestly, when Wade got out of that clean ninth like that, I really felt good about our chances. The top of the order's coming up, we have a chance to do something. Parra's going to lead off. It felt good."
Arenado collected three hits off D-backs starter Patrick Corbin, including a solo home run in the fifth that cut the Rockies' deficit to 4-3. He lifted his average to .300 after dipping below the mark last week for the first time since April 6.
"My numbers against Corbin weren't very good," Arenado said. "He's actually been really hard on me ever since my rookie year. It was just a good day. I caught a couple pitches up, a slider down. He threw some that I swung and missed and I thought I was on. He has that slider. I was just happy to hit the ball hard, and obviously the homer, I was able to get enough barrel on it.
"I was happy I was able to help. When you struggle and you're going through tough times, it sucks, because I just want to contribute and help the team win, especially in this moment in September when we have a chance. It feels good to be able to do that."
GRAY'S ABBREVIATED OUTING
Gray retired the D-backs in order in the first before struggling through a long second. After a Nick Ahmed sacrifice fly gave Arizona a 1-0 lead, Gray escaped a bases-loaded jam by getting Corbin to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Over four innings, Gray allowed four runs on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts. He gave up home runs to Eduardo Escobar and Alex Avila.
"It was kind of a letdown after last week," Gray said. "I just tried to battle. A lot of weird things happened, I know that. Still, I had two pitches I threw that were mistakes that got hit out. I have to make sure that doesn't happen again. Other than that, I'm just trying to battle and get in the zone as much as I can. I know when I'm efficient in the zone, I'm going to work deep into games."
HE SAID IT
"That was really awesome that the bullpen was able to do our job tonight, put up a bunch of zeros, give our team a chance. We've got a bunch of talented guys down there. I know we struggled the first half, early in the year. But guys keep believing in each other, believing in ourselves, and the team believes in us, so we just go out there and make pitches and try to help the team win every night." -- Oberg, on the bullpen hitting its stride
Kyle Freeland (14-7, 2.91 ERA) will toe the rubber in the finale of the four-game set with the D-backs, facing off against Clay Buchholz (7-2, 2.01) at 1:10 p.m. MT on Thursday. Freeland was brilliant in a win over the Dodgers on Saturday, allowing one run on four hits over six innings, striking out eight. The left-hander has recorded seven consecutive quality starts, and he is only the fourth pitcher in franchise history to throw 20 quality starts in a season. The Denver native is 8-2 with a 2.21 ERA in 13 home starts. Fans can watch the game exclusively on MLB Live on Facebook.
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver.