ROCKIES

Rockies walk it off against team with MLB’s best record

May 24, 2024, 10:49 PM | Updated: 10:59 pm

Ezequiel Tovar Colorado Rockies...

(Photo by Alysa Rubin/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alysa Rubin/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images)

DENVER — Not even 30 hours after perhaps their most excruciating loss of the season to date, the Colorado Rockies delivered perhaps their crispest and most thrilling win of the campaign.

Down to their last out in the bottom of the ninth against a Philadelphia Phillies side running roughshod through the National League with a 29-6 record in its last 35 games, pinch hitter Jacob Stallings delivered a game-tying blast to left field, resuscitating the Rockies and setting up what would be a 3-2 win in 11 innings at Coors Field on Friday night.

Shortstop Ezequiel Tovar delivered the final blow, lacing a 1-out single down the left-field line to score Brenton Doyle with the game-winning run. It capped a magnificent game for Tovar — the first 4-hit game of his career.

The game-winning at-bat, against Philadelphia pitcher Gregory Soto, saw Tovar take a first-pitch slider for a called strike before pouncing. It represented Tovar’s improved selectivity at the plate in action, Rockies manager Bud Black said.

“I think a year ago, you see him swing at the first pitch, and expanding the zone,” Black explained. “But that’s starting to look a little more veteran-ish.

“Laying off the first pitch — a called strike — but it didn’t seem to bother him. The next pitch, he got a fastball — a good one from a fastball pitcher — and got the head (of the bat) on it.

“We’re seeing the growth, and it’s awesome,” Black continued. “It’s really fun to watch a young player. I think — we’ve talked about it — I don’t want to put high expectations on it, but this guy’s an All-Star type player in the making.”

Tovar’s single allowed the Rockies to maximize brilliant work from their beleaguered bullpen, which delivered 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, including shutout innings in the extra frames from Nick Mears and Tyler Kinley, both of whom were roughed up on the recent West Coast road trip.

“Obviously, I was thinking, just try to get a good at-bat there, because our bullpen did a hell of a job, and I want to do that for them,” Tovar said through an interpreter.

ROCKIES ONLY SAW BRYCE HARPER FOR ONE PLATE APPEARANCE

The star of the show for many of the 35,007 who descended upon Coors Field on Friday night lasted one at-bat and three pitches before being ejected by home plate umpire Brian Walsh.

“Brian gave him a long leash,” crew chief Vic Carapazza said via a pool report. “He kept him in the game, and Bryce just kept arguing about balls and strikes.”

And in the midst of this, Harper spiked his batting helmet to the ground.

“At the end of the day, equipment violation is basically a big warning and if you continue to talk about pitches, then Brian had to handle it. So, that’s it, really.”

Harper’s response was to impugn Walsh’s professionalism.

“I wasn’t trying to get thrown out. Was just having a conversation,” he said in an interview posted by NBC Sports Philadelphia. “There are guys who are professionals in this league. They understand it. I guess [Walsh] didn’t understand it.”

There’s something about Coors Field that seems to bring out the sourest of grapes in Rockies foes.

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