DENVER (AP) Ben Paulsen was given a chance to redeem himself and save the Colorado Rockies from a heartbreaking loss.
He did, with one swing of the bat.
Paulsen hit a tiebreaking single with one out in the bottom of the ninth, and the Rockies recovered from blowing a seven-run lead to beat the Texas Rangers 8-7 on Monday night.
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Troy Tulowitzki homered and Nolan Arenado had two RBIs for Colorado, which has won a season-best five in a row at home.
Paulsen was down on himself after his mental error in the fifth inning led to a run for the Rangers. The first baseman thought there were two outs when Prince Fielder came to bat with runners on second and third. When he caught Fielder’s grounder and stepped on the bag, Paulsen started to jog to the dugout. Rougned scored from second.
The Rangers tied it in the ninth, but given a chance in the bottom half, Paulsen came through.
”It’s frustrating when you make bonehead plays like that,” said Paulsen, who had two hits. ”It’s funny how it worked out where I got a chance to get the big hit.”
Fielder had two hits and three RBIs and Adrian Beltre had three hits for the Rangers, who have lost 10 of 12.
Beltre’s second double of the night tied the game at 7 in the ninth against closer John Axford (2-2) before Colorado rallied. Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez led off with singles off Tanner Scheppers (3-1). One out later Paulsen lined a single to left-center to score pinch-runner Drew Stubbs from second base.
”I’m really happy for Benny,” manager Walt Weiss said. ”I’m not sure exactly what happened in the fifth but he gets a huge hit for us to win the game.”
Scheppers said he threw good pitches to Tulowitzki and Gonzalez but wasn’t happy with the one to Paulsen.
”It’s a tough one to swallow especially after the team came back,” he said. ”I’ve got to be able to go out there and throw a zero.”
It was Colorado’s fourth walk-off win of the season, but it didn’t seem necessary after the Rockies took a 7-0 lead in the second inning.
Arenado had a two-run double in the three-run first and Tulowitzki capped a four-run second with a two-run homer to left, his 12th on the season, to put Colorado ahead by seven
Arenado tied Paul Goldschmidt for the major league lead in RBIs with 72.
Starter Nick Martinez, called up from Triple-A before the game, settled down and allowed Texas to get back into it. The Rangers chipped away with two runs in the third and then made it a game in the fifth with some alert base running.
Tomas Telis scored the first run of the inning when he avoided catcher Nick Hundley’s tag at the plate after a strong throw from Gonzalez in right.
Paulsen acknowledged that the close play, on a single from Odor, had him thinking two outs. Odor made him pay with a heads-up dash home to make it 7-5.
”I thought CarGo threw (Telis) out at the plate,” he said. ”I was holding up `two’ and that was my whole mindset. I didn’t even think to look up at the board. Next time maybe I’ll put three rocks in my pocket and take one out each out.”
Fielder was awarded two RBIs on the play and he now has 57 on the season.
Beltre’s double in the seventh made it 7-6.
Rockies starter Chris Rusin allowed five runs – two earned – in six innings. He has five consecutive quality starts and has a 2.97 ERA in that span.
Tulowitzki reached base for the 41st straight game, tied for second longest in team history behind Michael Cuddyer (46 in 2013). DJ LeMahieu extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a triple in the second inning.
Rockies: Manager Walt Weiss said he is encouraged with RHP Chad Bettis’ right elbow. Bettis was placed on the 15-day DL on Sunday with right elbow inflammation but it seems to have improved. ”It checked out pretty well today,” Weiss said. ”It’s always concerning when there’s elbow inflammation with a pitcher.”
Rangers: LHP Matt Harrison (0-1, 13.50 ERA) will make his second start of the season Tuesday. Harrison has started just seven games since 2012 because of four surgeries, three on his back.
Rockies: RHP Kyle Kendrick (3-10, 5.94 ERA) made his first relief appearance of the season against Atlanta on July 12. He has not recorded a win since beating Arizona on June 23, which is his only victory at Coors Field this season.