The Rockies kept things interesting tonight, but they were not able to hold the Cardinals’ offense at bay and lost 5-3.
At this point in the season, the Rockies aren’t playing for anything worth mentioning, but there are a couple of accomplishments in reach. One of those is to finish above .500, a tough but attainable goal. The other is to play spoiler to one or more teams hoping to reach the postseason. If you’re an optimist, you could look at their series with the Cardinals thusly: every game the Rockies win pushes the Cards further back; every game they lose helps the Cards overcome the Giants.
The Rockies couldn’t quite seem to make up their minds about which version they wanted tonight. In the first inning, they dominated: Tyler Anderson retired the first three batters in short order and then the Rockies flat-out handled St. Louis pitcher Carlos Martinez. Their game plan was clearly to mostly not swing at anything and take advantage of whatever command issues he might have for as long as possible. For one inning, that worked really great: Colorado went up 1-0 and Martinez threw 35 pitches.
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Unfortunately, Martinez found his command rather quickly, and his 96-mph fastball started crossing the plate. He only lasted five innings thanks to that elevated pitch count, but the Rockies could only scratch across one more run in that time.
Meanwhile, Anderson had a couple of rough innings that included a two-run home run by Randal Grichuk, plunking Martinez (who later came off second base to give him a fist bump, so I guess they’re all good), and three unearned runs that resulted from a rare high throw by Nolan Arenado that Gerardo Parra had to leap for. Don’t worry, Arenado made up for that later with several Nolan-being-Nolan plays.
Props to the bullpen, which kept the game within reach in the late innings, though not without a little baserunning drama courtesy of Carlos Estevez. Ultimately, the St. Louis bullpen was just as effective, and the only run the Rockies managed after Martinez’s exit was a pinch-hit solo homer by Ryan Raburn.
The game wasn’t without its special moments, though, and perhaps the best was in the 5th inning when Yadier Molina reached on a single and then tried to score on Jhonny Peralta‘s double down the left field line. David Dahl got to it fast and threw it to Daniel Descalso, who relayed a perfect strike to Nick Hundley at the plate. Molina, who certainly does not run the way he used to, was cut down easily.