Rockies, Cubs amazed by Colorado's rally
The Chicago Cubs don't want to hear anything about the humidor making Coors Field a pitcher's park.
The Colorado Rockies made it look like the old Coors Canaveral launching pad when they batted around three times and nearly a fourth in a 17-2 romp of the Cubs on Friday night.
The game was still tight - 5-2 - with runners at the corners and two outs in the bottom of the eighth. Rockies closer Huston Street was warming up in the bullpen, ready to go for a save.
Then, the Rockies set a major league record by pounding out 11 consecutive hits in the inning.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, two teams in major league history have strung together 12 straight hits, but both times the streak spanned two innings.
In 1920, the St. Louis Cardinals had 10 straight hits in an inning before the third out was made on the basepaths. The first two hitters in the next inning got hits. The Dodgers did the same thing in 1930.
But nobody had ever strung together 11 straight hits in the same inning.The Rockies' previous best was seven straight hits.
By the time Ian Stewart flied out to deep center with the bases full to end the inning, the Rockies had set several franchise records: a dozen runs in the inning on 13 hits, eight of them for extra bases, in 18 plate appearances.
According to STATS LLC, the 12 two-out runs is the most since March 21, 1956, when the Kansas City Athletics scored 13 times with two outs in the second inning of a game against the Chicago White Sox. And the eight extra-base hits in the eighth inning tied a major league mark set by Cleveland last season.
The 12 runs tied the NL record accomplished twice by the Dodgers when they played in Brooklyn, the last time coming on Aug. 8, 1954, against Cincinnati.
The Boston Red Sox were the last team to bat around twice in an inning, on June 26, 2003, when they scored 14 in the first inning against Florida.
Colorado established a number of other franchise records in the 17-2 rout:
-12 extra-base hits in a game (old mark seven).
-8 extra base hits in an inning (six).
-12 runs in an inning (11).
-13 hits in an inning (nine).
-18 plate appearances in an inning (16).
-seven players with multiple RBIs (five).
''This game makes you twirl your head sometimes,'' said winning pitcher Jeff Francis. ''There's no reason for something like that to happen. This is a team that's been looking for some hits for a long time now and you pound out 13 in one inning?
''It's just nuts. Those guys are major league pitchers.''
The Rockies batted around twice in the inning against relievers Sean Marshall, Andrew Cashner and Brian Schlitter. Troy Tulowitzki had two doubles and three RBIs, Clint Barmes and Melvin Mora also had two hits and Brad Hawpe and Chris Iannetta reached base twice in the inning. Dexter Fowler and Ian Stewart both hit two-run homers.
Every batter got at least one hit in the eighth.
''I haven't seen anything like that at any level,'' Tulowitzki said. ''That was special, something you'll never see again.''
After all, Carlos Gonzalez had two strikes on him with two outs when he started the streak with an RBI single to right that made it 6-2.
''You're just trying to extend the inning, not try to do too much, put the ball in play,'' Tulowitzki said.
And they did, over and over and over.
All the hits were squared up, too. There were no cheap flares or batters sticking their bats out and reaching base on bloops between fielders.
Even the last out was hit hard.
''Those were good pitchers they're throwing out there,'' Tulowitzki said. ''It wasn't like they're guys that just got called up. Those guys had good numbers.''
''Had'' being the operative word.
Marshall allowed five earned runs in two-thirds of an inning. Cashner allowed six earned runs without recording an out and Schlitter allowed a hit, two walks and a run before dousing the rally.
By the time the Cubs got the third out - about half an-hour after the inning started - Clint Barmes was on deck about to bat for the third time in the inning.
Mora, who pinch-hit early in the eighth, worked up a sweat.
''I told Mora he played a helluva game tonight,'' Rockies manager Jim Tracy cracked. ''You don't get to do that very often. Two at-bats and he blisters two balls.''
The Cubs couldn't believe what had happened to them.
''You don't expect an inning like that, a big one, anywhere,'' Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. ''This is a tough park to pitch in at times. Sometimes the breaking ball doesn't break as well up here in the light air.''
Piniella said he felt sorry for his pitchers, who had no answers.
''It was as dumbfounding for us as it was people to watch the game,'' Marshall said. ''You hate to be on the receiving end. Nobody has ever seen anything like this. I don't think it's going to happen again.''
It might have looked like batting practice, but both the Cubs pitchers and Rockies hitters insisted the pitches weren't grooved.
''They made some good swings on some pretty good pitches,'' Marshall said. ''Gonzalez hit a ball that almost bounced and Tulowitzki hit a ball that was down. This is a tough place to pitch. The ball doesn't break quite as much as anywhere else.
''It was a crazy inning.''
AP freelancers Mike Kelly and Dale Bublitz contributed to this report.