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Holliday's slide boosted Rox to playoffs

@harding_at_mlb
May 1, 2020

DENVER -- Matt Holliday can clearly remember being 90 feet from glory for the Rockies on Oct. 1, 2007, in the 13th inning of the classic National League West divisional tie-breaker game against the Padres at Coors Field. Holliday still isn’t clear on all of the details. He can still

DENVER -- Matt Holliday can clearly remember being 90 feet from glory for the Rockies on Oct. 1, 2007, in the 13th inning of the classic National League West divisional tie-breaker game against the Padres at Coors Field.

Holliday still isn’t clear on all of the details. He can still see Padres right fielder Brian Giles catching Jamey Carroll’s fly ball.

“He kind of caught it on his heels, and I went for it,” Holliday said.

He knows exactly where catcher Michael Barrett was standing.

“I thought, 'I'm gonna have to run him over,'” he said.

However, Giles’ throw took Barrett off the base line. A feet-first slide was the safer and more proper play.

“As a big guy, I'd already kind of committed to the forward lean,” said Holliday.

But actually reaching the plate for the run that gave the Rockies a 9-8 victory? His chin hit the dirt hard as he bumped into Barrett’s shin guards, and he was knocked woozy. That answer won’t satiate Padres fans, who swear he never touched the rubberized pentagon of destiny. Nonetheless, plate umpire Tim McClelland signaled “safe,” and the call was law during that pre-instant replay era.

“Ah … it’s time for them to move on,” Holliday said, laughing. “They flooded my Twitter, my Instagram. I wish Tim McClelland would get a bigger social media [presence] so they can take their case up with him. I did not call myself safe.

“It is amazing -- 13 years later. I’m hoping that San Diego has a really good year soon so a lot of people can move past that game. They can have new memories.”

The Rockies memorialized the moment in a commercial the following season.

Holliday was dealt to the Athletics after the 2008 season, and in '09 was sent to the Cardinals for a lengthy term that included a World Series ring. He spent '17 with the Yankees before returning to the Rockies to complete his career in '18.

His manager during his return to Colorado? Bud Black, who managed the Padres in the Game 163 classic.

After the dramatic ending, Holliday led the Rockies to their first and only World Series appearance. The tie-breaker win over the Padres was the Rockies’ 14th in the final 15 regular-season games. They would extend it to 21-of-22 with sweeps of the Phillies and the D-backs in the postseason. Holliday earned NL Championship Series Most Valuable Player.

The magic ended with a sweep at the hands of the Red Sox in the World Series.

The Rockies will always have the dramatic scene at the end of the crazy game with the Padres -- even if the details are a little cloudy for Holliday. While Coors Field went nuts, Holliday was receiving attention from head athletic trainer Keith Dugger. He eventually collected his senses and joined the jubilation.

“McClelland called ‘safe,’ and then I remember Brad Hawpe [who was on deck] kind of grabbed me,” Holliday said. “I think he realized that I was a little dazed that he took off and, the celebration quickly moved to Carroll.

“Everyone realized that I wasn’t any fun.”

The Game 163 thriller starts an early-May schedule of re-airs of classic Rockies games, all of which begin at 7 p.m.:

AT&T SportsNet’s early May schedule

• Saturday: Nolan Arenado’s Father’s Day walk-off homer against the Giants on June 18, 2017
• Sunday: Trevor Story’s 100th and 101st career home runs -- the second a game-ender -- against the Orioles on May 24, 2019
• Monday: Ryan Spilborghs’ 14th-inning grand slam to beat the Giants on Aug. 24, 2009
• Tuesday: Charlie Blackmon’s walk-off homer against the Astros on July 25, 2018
• May 6: Arenado’s walk-off homer against the D-backs on Aug. 14, 2019
• May 7: Ryan McMahon’s three-run shot to beat the Dodgers on Aug. 11, 2018
• May 8: Carlos Gonzalez's walk-off homer to complete a cycle against the Cubs on July 31, 2010.
• May 9: Todd Helton’s walk-off against the Dodgers’ Takashi Saito on Sept. 18, 2007
• May 10: The Rockies’ 6-4 victory over the D-backs on Oct. 15, 2007, to clinch the trip to the World Series
• May 11: Kyle Freeland’s near no-hitter against the White Sox on July 9, 2017
• May 12: German Márquez’s one-hit win over the Giants on April 14, 2019
• May 13: Josh Fogg’s two-hitter -- in just 1 hour, 52 minutes -- against the Mariners on June 30, 2006
• May 14: A combined one-hitter by Jon Gray, Adam Ottavino and Wade Davis against the Astros on July 25, 2018

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.