Rockies top Reds on walk-off wild pitch
DENVER -- Charlie Blackmon was rewarded for aggressive baserunning in the ninth inning when he scored on a wild pitch as the Rockies sent the Reds to their fifth loss in their last seven games, 6-5, on Friday night at Coors Field.
"A lot of regrettable moments in tonight's game," Reds manager Bryan Price said.
Blackmon singled on a bunt against Reds reliever Ryan Mattheus (1-2), and took second on his 25th steal this season -- after an out call was overturned by instant replay.
"With the guy on the mound, I thought a bunt would almost be just as good as a double," Blackmon said. "Turns out, it wasn't. It took an overturned call and a play that could've been made on their part."
Blackmon moved to third on DJ LeMahieu's grounder, and scored when Mattheus' pitch to Troy Tulowitzki squirted past catcher Tucker Barnhart.
"I didn't know how far it had gotten away from him, so I didn't break right away, but once I saw it get a good ways away from him, I broke for home," Blackmon said.
The Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez tied it at four in the eighth with his second home run of the game, off J.J. Hoover, and Nolan Arenado tripled and scored to put the Rockies ahead. But the Reds' Joey Votto tied it with his 18th homer, the opposite way to left, off John Axford (3-3) with one out in the ninth. Axford was otherwise unscathed.
Both teams had solid starting pitching. DeScalfini held the Rockies to three runs on seven hits -- one a Gonzalez solo homer -- in seven innings. Rockies starter Eddie Butler, in his first official start since returning from a stint at Triple-A Albuquerque (a start Sunday at San Diego was rained out before the game became official), went six innings and gave up three runs on six hits, with three strikeouts. Two of his three walks were intentional.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Skip in a pinch: Schumaker has been a dependable pinch-hitter this season for Cincinnati and he came up big in the top of the eighth. In a 1-1 count vs. Hawkins, he drove a ball over the head of left fielder Corey Dickerson for a ground-rule double that scored Marlon Byrd with the go-ahead run. This season, Schumaker is 13-for-42 (.310) as a pinch-hitter -- including 10-for-his-last 30 with five doubles.
Car-gone … and gone, again: The Rockies didn't have a hit until the wild fifth, when they scored twice to cut the Reds' lead to a run. Then Gonzalez opened the sixth with a game-tying, second-deck home run. Gonzalez tied it again in the eighth with his 16th homer of the season, third in the last two games and sixth in July.
"It's fun to play baseball when the ball jumps off the bat that easy," Gonzalez said.
Glove save and a beauty: There were two outs and a runner on first base in the bottom of the seventh, LeMahieu hit a sharp grounder near second base. With designs on the force play, Brandon Phillips overran the ball but course-corrected enough to glove it at the last second and throw to first base for the third out and help keep it a 3-3 game.
Votto on a tear: Votto's game-tying, ninth-inning homer kept the Reds in the game against Axford and continued his second-half tear. It was Votto's 18th homer of the season and third in eight games since the All-Star break while he's batting .548 (17-for-31). He's also 10-for-his-last-17.
Missed suicide squeeze costly: The Reds missed a chance for an insurance run in the eighth when Billy Hamilton missed a suicide squeeze bunt attempt on a 2-1 pitch from Hawkins. Running on the play from third base, Tucker Barnhart was thrown out before Hamilton made the third out with a grounder to the shortstop. It was the first time in five squeeze attempts this season that Cincinnati was unsuccessful.
"He's been feeling better from the right side of the plate, but he's certainly one of our best bunters," Price said. "In a 2-1 count, they really wanted to throw a strike there. He foul tipped it, but Hundley was able to hold on and get the out at the plate there. Brandon was 1-for-8 against Hawkins and hitting behind Billy. I thought it was worth taking a shot right there. We just weren't able to execute."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The only other time the Rockies have won a game on a wild pitch was Aug. 24, 2010, 7-6, against the Astros, when Tulowitzki scored on Aneury Rodriguez's wild pitch.
THE DUSTY TRAIL TO NOWHERE
The Rockies were down a run in the fifth, with Butler and Blackmon on second and first, respectively. LeMahieu's liner cleared the outstretched glove of Bruce in right field. One problem: Butler, who had just accomplished his first Major League hit and had a grand total of two Minor League hits, was bitten by his baserunning inexperience.
Thinking Bruce might catch the ball, he didn't run immediately. When he did, Blackmon nearly passed him. Then Butler slipped to the dirt rounding third and fell in the basepath on the way home. He was erased easily and the rally fizzled.
"My mind was going 100 miles an hour; the legs were not," Butler said. More >
Blackmon moved into scoring position in the bottom of the ninth by stealing second. He was originally called out, but manager Walt Weiss challenged the call. Phillips' tag -- after an outstanding pickup of catcher Tucker Barnhart's throw -- was shown to not be in time.
"We've seen glimpses of it throughout the year, but he looks like he's starting to sustain something. We've all seen that when he gets rolling, he can do an awful lot of damage in a short period of time," -- Weiss, on Gonzalez's power surge.
"There's any number of things that could have changed the outcome of the game. We're not to that point that we're creating so much separation that we can play through a mistake or two. ... We have to execute our defensive plays and we've got to do what people consider the small things, which are actually the biggest things -- that's moving runners, putting the ball in play with runners in scoring position, getting bunts down, fielding our positions. Those are things that make the difference for a team like ours." -- Price, on mistakes that haunted his team on Friday.
Reds: With many eyes undoubtedly upon him because of a potential trade, ace Johnny Cueto will take the mound for the Reds on Saturday vs. Colorado at 8:10 p.m. ET. Cueto is coming off of two poor starts, including his walking a season-high six batters on Sunday vs. the Indians.
Rockies:Chris Rusin gets the ball on Saturday, looking for success at home this season. He's surrendered just four earned runs over his last 14 innings at Coors Field -- a stretch that's also seen him post a two strikeout-to-walk ratio. Rusin, however, hasn't won at home since June 21. First pitch is at 6:10 p.m. MT.
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