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Rox play matchups, use 9 pitchers in 'bullpen game'

MLB.com

DENVER -- The Rockies had planned a "bullpen game" for Tuesday's 9-6 win over the Giants, but didn't expect to use quite as many relievers as they did.

Tyler Chatwood started, and eight pitchers followed, marking the fourth time in franchise history the Rockies used at least nine hurlers in a nine-inning game. Each previous instance also occurred in September, when rosters expand to 40 players.

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DENVER -- The Rockies had planned a "bullpen game" for Tuesday's 9-6 win over the Giants, but didn't expect to use quite as many relievers as they did.

Tyler Chatwood started, and eight pitchers followed, marking the fourth time in franchise history the Rockies used at least nine hurlers in a nine-inning game. Each previous instance also occurred in September, when rosters expand to 40 players.

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"We had a plan going in that we were going to use depending on the score," manager Bud Black said. "We were hoping that Chatty could get us through three, and possibly four, and then where we were in our order, to get one inning out of somebody and then a two-inning spot.

"But, as it turned out, it was good to get [Chris Rusin] there with the lineup where it was."

Chatwood tossed 61 pitches in three scoreless innings. Rusin relieved him to start the fourth, then allowed one run over 1 2/3 innings to earn the win.

Rusin is typically used for multiple innings, and the Rockies planned to throw him his usual length, Black said. But Rusin ran into trouble in the fifth. Though Rusin said he's usually on his toes as a long reliever, the atmosphere in the bullpen was different than normal on Tuesday.

Video: SF@COL: Rusin whiffs Jones in the 4th inning

"I'm sure [if] you looked down there in the second inning, we were all stretching, so we all knew it was going to be an early day for the bullpen," Rusin said. "Everyone had to be ready, because you didn't know who was going to be called."

Carlos Estevez relieved Rusin in the fifth, and Black said that was also meant to be a multiple-inning outing. But Estevez's lineup spot came up to bat second the next half-inning. After Antonio Senzatela struggled in the seventh, that put all the typical late-inning relievers -- Pat Neshek, Jake McGee, Mike Dunn, Adam Ottavino and Greg Holland -- in play. Dunn was the only one who didn't pitch.

Video: SF@COL: Estevez fans Pence to strand two runners

Catching that many pitchers can be a challenging task as well. Jonathan Lucroy, who caught every one but Holland, said the Rockies played the matchups Tuesday.

"It's coming down to the wire now, and we're at that time of the season where we've got to do whatever we've got to do to win the game," Lucroy said. "It worked out tonight for us."

That it did, as the Rockies increased their lead over the Brewers to 2 1/2 games in the race for the second National League Wild Card spot.

Video: SF@COL: Holland gets Sandoval to fly out to earn save

"What's great about it is there's so many guys who contributed," Black said. "That's the thing where the whole team contributed to this win."

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver.

Colorado Rockies