DENVER -- Rockies rookie Ryan McMahon invited his parents, Jim and Tracy, and girlfriend to town this weekend. By the end of Saturday night, the family just might've grown.That's because the Purple Pinstripe-impassioned folks among the sold-out crowd of 47,633 at Coors Field -- and possibly the entire Rocky Mountain
DENVER -- Rockies rookie Ryan McMahon invited his parents, Jim and Tracy, and girlfriend to town this weekend. By the end of Saturday night, the family just might've grown.
That's because the Purple Pinstripe-impassioned folks among the sold-out crowd of 47,633 at Coors Field -- and possibly the entire Rocky Mountain Region -- was ready to adopt him.
McMahon socked a three-run, ninth-inning homer off Dodgers reliever JT Chargois to give the Rockies a dramatic 3-2 walk-off victory that pulled them to 1 1/2 games behind the National League West co-leading Dodgers and D-backs.
On Friday night, McMahon's seventh-inning homer proved the difference in a 5-4 victory, but it took some seat-of-the-pants bullpen work to cement his place as that night's luminary. But after he jumped on Chargois' 1-0 fastball and sent it a Statcast-projected 391 feet over the out-of-town scoreboard in right on Saturday, there was no doubt who the man of the night was.
"That was awesome," said McMahon, 23, who started because All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado was out with a sore right shoulder -- the same problem that forced McMahon into action Friday. "I thought last night was the greatest night of my life.
"Shortly after, I found out this was."
While Rockies fans shook Coors, and the sizable contingent of Dodgers fans who always come was left shaking their collective head, McMahon's teammates actually were a little subdued. But that's what you would call a player-safety issue.
McMahon, feeling all the emotion of a year that saw him make the Opening Day roster but endure two options to Triple-A Albuquerque, bounded across the plate, his fists pumping. His teammates dumped him with drink and individually wrapped gum from the dugout pockets, but they cleared his way. Even Dinger, the triceratops mascot, tiptoed aside, possibly fearing he could become extinct like the dino that inspired the costume.
The finish is part of what's building into a division race rich with crazy moments. This four-game series, which concludes Sunday afternoon, bears witness.
It started with Rockies relievers Scott Oberg, Seunghwan Oh and Wade Davis combining to give up five home runs in the final three innings of an 8-5 loss on Thursday night. On Friday, McMahon's homer put the Rockies in the win column despite the team going 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
McMahon's homer on Saturday came after the Rockies seemed destined to waste a career-high 10 strikeouts from lefty starter Kyle Freeland, who went seven innings and gave up two runs -- on Manny Machado's double, followed by Justin Turner's triple in the first, and on Yasiel Puig's solo homer in the second.
Of course, the Rockies dugout doesn't read Twitter, where the more acerbic fans and basement-sabermetricians were burying the team.
"I don't know how to explain it, except the people who watch our group, the people who watch our position players, the guys who are out there each and every day, I hope that it can be sensed through the fans that are here at Coors Field," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "I hope that it can be sensed through television broadcasts that these guys keep playing with an intensity and focus through 54 outs or, if there's extra innings, beyond."
Dodgers starter Walker Buehler held the Rockies scoreless on four hits, with three walks and six strikeouts in his seven innings. He escaped a two-on, one-out jam in the first inning and benefited from three double plays -- one on a miraculous diving play and glove flip by second baseman James Dozier to rob DJ LeMahieu in the third, another when Gerardo Parra made an ill-fated decision and strayed too far from first base on Ian Desmond's flyout to Puig in the fourth and another on a first-pitch grounder from Trevor Story in the sixth.
But Freeland, using his changeup along with his hard stuff more effectively than in any start this year, kept pitching and believing. Bryan Shaw (4-5), who pitched around a leadoff walk in the ninth, got the win.
"I have that sense every single game we play with this offense," Freeland said. "Look at us one through nine. We can do a ton of damage, and it showed right there in the ninth inning. We did not give up at all, Mac got a good pitch to put a good swing on, and he did all the damage."
Story doubled with one out in the ninth against Scott Alexander. Arenado, who can't throw but can swing, pinch-hit for Parra and was hit by Chargois (2-4) -- who was called on to protect the lead for the Dodgers because All-Star closer Kenley Jansen is on the disabled list with an irregular heartbeat. Desmond grounded to the middle, but Dozier made another amazing dive and glove flip to get a forceout at second.
Then McMahon demonstrated why he was recalled July 29, and why he is hitting .344 with two homers and four doubles since. In addition to refinements that have quickened his swing, which allowed him to reach Chargois' 95.2-mph fastball, he is ready to hit. Black had cautioned him against what he called "premeditated takes."
"When I got sent down, Glenallen Hill, our manager [at Albuquerque] reminded me of that. I'm a very aggressive hitter, and when I get to two strikes, it's time to battle," McMahon said. "I was taking a lot of pitches when I was up here the first time around, and when I got sent back down, too.
"I'm trying to be aggressive when something comes over the plate."
McMahon is the first player since the D-backs' Chris Young on June 5-6, 2007, to hit a game-winning home run in the seventh inning or later in consecutive games. It was the first time it has happened in Rockies history.
Rockies righty Chad Bettis (5-2, 5.67 ERA) had a rough re-entry to the rotation after missing time with a blister on his right middle finger. He started solidly but gave up nine runs in 4 2/3 innings -- with eight runs coming in the fourth and fifth. He hopes for positive momentum in Sunday's 1:10 p.m. MT series finale against the Dodgers and lefty Rich Hill (5-4, 3.62) at Coors Field.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.