Rockies take late lead but quickly lose it
Arenado's go-ahead RBI in eighth outdone by Betancourt's rare stumble
PHILADELPHIA -- Given a chance to pick up a good win on the road, the Rockies found a way to give one away.
Rafael Betancourt blew just his second save in 18 opportunities as Michael Young's RBI single in the ninth gave the Phillies a 4-3 win at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night. The loss frustrated a solid start by Juan Nicasio and was the 31st time out of 32 chances the visiting Rockies lost after the home team scored first.
"He's usually on the corners, and I think he got some balls on the plate tonight," manager Walt Weiss said. "And they put the barrel on it. The leadoff double was big and set up the inning. But you know with Raffy, I'll take him every time out there with a one-run lead."
Betancourt entered the game with a 3-2 lead but yielded a leadoff double to Erik Kratz. After a groundout, Carlos Ruiz picked up a pinch-hit double down the left-field line to tie the game at 3. On the play, the Rockies reacted as if the ball was foul, but Weiss indicated that was not an issue after seeing the replay because he believed the right call had been made. An intentional walk to Jimmy Rollins set the table for Young, who lined a ball into the left-field corner to drive in the winner.
"I threw one good pitch to [John Mayberry], " Betancourt said. "If you miss up against those hitters, then they are going to do that. Everything was up in the strike zone and middle in, especially to right handers, and in that situation they are going to be looking for fastballs."
"The ninth inning was big," Phillies interim manager Ryne Sandberg said. "Kratz with the leadoff double. Mabes got him over, and Ruiz with the pinch-hit double. Ruiz has had a good homestand. He's swinging with more authority and showing more pop in his bat. And of course, Michael Young with the game-winner. That was big."
Tied at 2 in eighth, Charlie Blackmon was hit by a Justin De Fratus offering to lead off the inning. After a strikeout, Michael Cuddyer hit a flare into right field before Wilin Rosario popped out to Chase Utley in short center. Nolan Arenado, who now has 22 two-out RBIs -- second only to Atlanta's Evan Gattis (25) among National League rookies -- followed with an RBI single into right for a 3-2 lead.
Nicasio worked 5 2/3 innings in which he allowed two runs on seven hits. Before he was sent down June 25, he went 4-4 in 16 games with a 5.31 ERA, and opponents hit .271 off of him. Since his return July 12, he has gone 3-2 with a 3.83 ERA and held opponents to a .241 average.
Nicasio worked into the fifth Wednesday with just one blemish on his ledger, a solo shot by Utley, but that changed in an inning that could have been much worse.
Mayberry led off with a double, his second of the night, just inside the third-base line. Lee followed with a sacrifice bunt that catcher Jordan Pacheco fielded cleanly but threw wide of first base, which pulled Rosario off the base for a throwing error. The irony of the moment could be found in the fact that Pacheco, originally a catcher, has caught just three games this season and regular catcher Rosario was playing first just to keep his bat in the lineup.
Rollins followed with a walk to load the bases, but after a visit from pitching coach Jim Wright, Nicasio coaxed a double play ball from Young -- which scored Mayberry -- and got Utley to pop out to end the threat with the score tied at 2.
Down by 1-0 after Utley's home run in the bottom half of the first inning, the Rockies responded in kind as Rosario hit a solo home run to tie the game at 1. Rosario's 19th home run of the season extended his hitting streak to 12 games and gave the Rockies some needed momentum against Lee.
Arenado and Pacheco followed with singles before a popout by Jonathan Herrera and sacrifice bunt by Nicasio set the table for Dexter Fowler. Fowler singled to left to easily score Arenado for a 2-1 lead, but third-base coach Stu Cole sent Pacheco, who was thrown out by left fielder Domonic Brown.
"I thought it was a good game," Weiss said. "We played well, and the bullpen did a great job coming in after Juan. Juan held the Phillies in check and did a really nice job. Just couldn't get the win."