Blackmon flips script with G2 walk-off blast

Rockies claw back with 6-run 7th inning to split doubleheader

May 5th, 2021

DENVER -- Tuesday ended with smiling, maybe even a little amazed at himself and his Rockies teammates after his three-run walk-off homer provided an 8-6 victory over the Giants and a doubleheader split -- one barely fathomable when the seventh inning began.

But how the day at Coors began and progressed to that point made it one that backed Blackmon’s faith in a transitioning team. Until the six-run seventh, with four of the runs coming against former teammate Jake McGee, it looked like the entire day would be an unpleasant welcome for interim general manager Bill Schmidt, announced as replacement for Jeff Bridich a day earlier.

Maybe rebuilding isn’t all pain. Despite an 11-19 record, Blackmon and the Rockies still dream of turning 2021 joyous.

“I really enjoyed being with this group,” Blackmon said. “This is a young team that likes to play the game. They like to have fun, they enjoy it. And helps me remember that I play this game because it's fun. It’s why I started playing the game. It's really awesome for me to be around that. And I enjoy that they’ve taken me in. They’ve played really hard baseball, and I’m proud of our guys.”

Blackmon and his teammates endured a nightmare beginning to the afternoon’s opener. Mainstay starter Germán Márquez left two outs into the Giants’ 10-run first inning. Although Raimel Tapia sparked dreams of a miracle with his fourth-inning grand slam, the Rockies lost, 12-4.

The nightcap started with Brandon Belt putting the Rockies down 2-0 with a homer off Ryan Castellani in the top of the first. Then Blackmon set a little-noticed example in the second inning. After going 0-for-4 in the first game, he grounded to short but mustered the speed his 34-year-old legs still have to beat out a double-play relay.

Blackmon’s fourth career walk-off homer and fifth walk-off RBI -- when he fouled off two two-strike pitches, ran the count full, then drilled Camilo Doval’s slider over the out-of-town scoreboard in right -- brought a seemingly awful day to an uplifting end. Blackmon, 0-for-6 on the day before the hammer, appreciated the heartache-to-joy trip.

“We’re not horrible,” said Blackmon, a four-time All-Star who has two homers and is grinding through a .191 start to ‘21. “Yes, we have a chance. We’ve got guys who play really hard. And you saw that there in the last inning. We were down four with two outs. We could have just packed it up and went home, and our guys didn’t do that.

“It was big for me to be able to come through for the guys. They work so hard to get there. That makes me feel like I didn't let them down today. That was nice.”

Trailing 6-2, Alan Trejo and Garrett Hampson singled to set up a two-out, two-run double by Trevor Story, Ryan McMahon’s soft RBI single off McGee and C.J. Cron’s bloop single off Doval.

Cron had hit his fifth homer of the season long before -- a two-run shot in the second.

“You've heard me talk all year about stringing at-bats together,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “We've seen that at times -- not as often as we need to do it. In some of the games that we’ve lost, you've seen other teams do it.”

With runners at first and third, Blackmon gave Black a vision he has seen before.

“That was a hell of an at-bat against a guy with really good stuff,” he said. “Charlie had good swings. He fouled a couple pitches off, had good takes. I had a feeling as the at-bat got deeper that something good was gonna happen just because of the swings.”

Blackmon spoke before the game of not rushing such big opportunities, then had to slow himself.

“I did a pretty good job of staying calm,” he said. “I went from being in the dugout to being in the box pretty quick, it seemed. I was kind of surprised. I think we had five guys in a row reach right there. That was a pretty awesome inning. It felt like things were going our way.

“I tried my best not to get in my own way.”