Colorado Rockies Do It Again, Come Back to Beat St. Louis Cardinals
What a difference a month makes.
With the Rockies down 5-0 half way through the game on Wednesday night, no one at Coors Field was making their exit plans. The crowd was rewarded with yet another walk-off win, the third in three games for the Rockies.
This time, the Rockies won it 8-7 on a ninth-inning solo home run off the bat of Chris Iannetta.
With the Rockies down 7-4 in the eighth inning, Brad Eldred, called up to replace the injured Todd Helton, lined a high fastball to the wall in left field for his third hit of the game.
Clint Barmes then hit into a tailor-made double play. However, shortstop Tyler Greene airmailed the throw to second base, allowing both Eldred and Barmes to remain on the base paths.
Dexter Fowler then did what no one expected. He launched a no-doubt home run deep into the bullpen in right field.
The ninth inning heroics continued once again, when Iannetta put a full-count pitch from Evan MacLane over the 390 sign in left-center field.
The home run ran the Rockies ninth-inning run total to 10 in the three-game set thus far, with the Cardinals only getting two outs.
The Rockies were expected to be good this season, but no one expected these types of wins. And while no one expected Colorado to win by scoring nine runs in the ninth and the next night coming back from a 5-0 deficit, what is the most surprising is who is delivering for the club.
Chris Iannetta has been in the spotlight for the entire season because of his early struggles, followed by his one month stint in Triple-A Colorado Springs. All this came after signing a three-year deal in the offseason worth more than $8 million.
On two consecutive nights, Iannetta has hit huge home runs, playing a large role in both comeback wins. His confidence looks much higher than it did before his demotion and the popups have turned into home runs.
Fowler, another highly touted player, was struggling so much early in the season that he was sent down to Triple-A to figure out his swing from the left side.
After succeeding early and often in Colorado Springs, Fowler returned with more confidence than he has ever been seen with in his big league career.
For proof of his improvement, look no further than the fact that he had exactly zero extra-base hits from the left side before his demotion.
In the past two games alone, Fowler has driven a ball off the right field wall for a double and hit a no-doubter into the bullpen. Both hits came from the left side of the plate.
The other hero who might not get as much credit on Wednesday is Brad Eldred. The first baseman has spent the majority of his eight-year professional career riding on buses, living in small towns, and playing in ballparks without an upper deck.
In his brief stint in Pittsburgh, his power was impressive, but his high strikeout rate was even more impressive, prompting him to lose his spot on the roster.
Eldred, who arrived at Coors Field less than two hours before the first pitch, quickly showed that he has the ability to hit Major League pitching.
He went 3-for-4 with a double, scoring three runs. His double started the rally that got the Rockies back in it in the eighth inning.
Rockies fans, take note. The heroes from the last two nights are not named Helton, Tulowitzki, or Hawpe. This team is not about superstars. They are not about one guy with a big ego winning every game for the team.
This organization is about depth. They are about putting a guy at the plate every single inning who can change a game, no matter what type of game that hitter plays.
The depth in the Rockies organization borders on ridiculous. The club has a guy like Eldred who was sitting in Triple-A without a serious shot at playing on the big league roster if not for an injury to Helton.
Then he comes to the ballpark on a moment's notice and get the job done in a huge game. It means there are some serious baseball players waiting for their shot.
Guys like Jonathan Herrera, Jhoulys Chacin, Esmil Rogers and Eldred are taking advantage of the opportunities they are getting.
When their efforts are combined with the consistent daily contributions from Carlos Gonzalez, Miguel Olivo, Clint Barmes, and Seth Smith it makes for a difficult team to beat.
Everyone knew that the Rockies would be a good team, some even predicted that they would win the World Series. The way that they are playing now, it looks like even those who thought the Rockies would be good were under estimating how good the club actually is.
The Rockies go for the sweep on Thursday. They face 2009 Cy Young candidate Chris Carpenter. Ubaldo Jimenez takes the mound, looking to rebound from his previous three starts, in which he has faltered.
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