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Rockies in awe of impressive hail on Friday

Big storm created delay during ninth inning of win over Padres
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

DENVER -- Outfielder Raimel Tapia expected to experience some firsts when the Rockies called him up this month. But Friday night's unexpected hailstorm during the ninth inning of an 8-7 victory over the Padres wasn't on his list.

"That was my first time," Tapia, a native of the Dominican Republic, said in Spanish, laughing. "I was just sitting there in the dugout, looking at the hail coming down. It was kind of impressive. I didn't try to catch it. It was coming down hard."

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DENVER -- Outfielder Raimel Tapia expected to experience some firsts when the Rockies called him up this month. But Friday night's unexpected hailstorm during the ninth inning of an 8-7 victory over the Padres wasn't on his list.

"That was my first time," Tapia, a native of the Dominican Republic, said in Spanish, laughing. "I was just sitting there in the dugout, looking at the hail coming down. It was kind of impressive. I didn't try to catch it. It was coming down hard."

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Many players from tropical Latin America are introduced to new, often uncomfortable weather, when they come to the United States. Rockies right-hander German Marquez, 21, from Venezuela was pitching in the ninth inning and gave up a leadoff single before manager Walt Weiss came to the mound to replace him. By the time he was in the dugout, Coors Field was being pelted.

Tweet from @Rockies: ������#RallyHail pic.twitter.com/kr4POSpqBe

Tweet from @Rockies: A few minutes ago... pic.twitter.com/3p4HW6aaFW

"It was unbelievable and beautiful," Marquez said. "I hadn't even seen snow before, but I heard that Colorado is very cold, and it snows."

Right-hander Carlos Estevez, who interpreted Tapia's interview, was introduced to hail earlier this season. Estevez had seen driving snow, 18 inches, when he lived in Beckley, W.Va., his junior year of high school. He introduced Tapia to snow while they were en route from the Dominican Republic to Spring Training in 2015.

"We flew to New York and had to stop there for a few hours and we went out in it -- but I didn't throw snowballs," said Estevez, who figured even a snowball coming from an arm that produces 100 mph fastballs would be unfair.

Weiss played four of his 14 Major League seasons with the Rockies and has settled in the Denver area, so he's seen all the Rocky Mountain climate has to offer. But the speed at which Friday turned from a cool early-autumn night into a mess in less than 10 minutes was impressive even to him. The public address announcer told fans in the upper areas of the stands to go to the concourse for protection from lightning just before Weiss went to the mound to replace Marquez. Shortly thereafter, the game was delayed with the Rockies trailing, 7-5.

"Not in a baseball game. … I'd never seen it come that quickly in the middle of a game," Weiss said.

The Rockies' Twitter account figured the storm could somehow lift the club.

Tweet from @Rockies: DJ doubles and takes 3rd...#CarGo drives him in...7-6 ballgame...Dahl singles...Hundley is up...#RallyHail pic.twitter.com/vxA79W6z4v

First baseman Gerardo Parra captured some for luck.

Tweet from @Rockies: When life gives you hail, collect it in a Powerade cup. #RallyHail pic.twitter.com/pPbpvzYrby

The speed of the storm also impressed outfielder David Dahl, who had seen hail before while growing up in Birmingham, Ala. But after the delay, Dahl singled as part of a three-run comeback in the bottom of the ninth.

"I was in the bathroom, then I came out and it started hailing; crazy," Dahl said. "It's hailed in Alabama, but not in the middle of a baseball game."

By game's end, many Rockies were left telling happy stories.

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

 

Colorado Rockies