Rockies earn sixth straight win with rally in 9th

The Colorado Rockies are starting to show everyone 2007 was no fluke.

Seth Smith hit a two-out, two-run single in the ninth inning to give the surging Rockies a 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.

Colorado won its sixth straight game and extended its NL wild-card lead to four games over San Francisco, which lost 4-2 to San Diego.

The Rockies won 14 of their last 15 games in 2007 to win the wild card on their way to their first World Series. They have a different manager and the players say things are different than two years ago, but they keep playing like the ’07 NL champions.

“It’s never say die here,” starter Jason Hammel said. “I honestly don’t believe we understand how much pressure is there right now and I don’t think we even care.”

The walk-off win, Colorado’s sixth this season, had the Reds shaking their heads.

“The last two or three years they have some sort of magic here at home,” starter Bronson Arroyo said. “They don’t go down very easily. If it’s close they just give themselves a chance.”

Clint Barmes started the winning rally with a one-out double off All-Star closer Francisco Cordero (2-5). Pinch-hitters Jason Giambi and Ryan Spilborghs walked before Cordero struck out Carlos Gonzalez to bring Smith to the plate.

Smith fouled off four pitches before lining a base hit off second baseman Brandon Phillips to drive in Barmes and pinch-runner Jason Marquis.

“The ball was kind of rolling around and I see Marquis rounding third and coming for home,” Barmes said.

The Rockies mobbed Smith at first base in celebration.

“The at-bat that our guy had with two outs was phenomenal,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “He was fouling off pitches that would strike people out. That was just a heck of an at-bat.”

Smith is hitting .471 in the first nine games of the 10-game homestand.

“It’s a feeling that only comes along for maybe a week or two in a season,” he said. “That’s what the great ones do, (Albert) Pujols, Todd (Helton), they stay in that zone for an entire season. That’s what the rest of us are trying to get to. I’ve had a good week but there’s 20-something weeks in a season.”

The Rockies blew a 2-0 lead in the eighth. Darnell McDonald and pinch-hitter Kevin Barker had RBI doubles and Scott Rolen put Cincinnati in front with a leadoff homer in the ninth, his second with the Reds.

“God, we played good tonight,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “And they took it from us.”

Hammel pitched 7 1-3 innings, allowing two runs and three hits. He retired 20 of 21 batters after Paul Janish‘s one-out double in the first.

Matt Daley (1-1) pitched 1 1-3 innings for the Rockies, getting the win despite allowing Rolen’s homer.

The Rockies took the lead in the third. Eric Young Jr. and Gonzalez led off with singles to put runners at the corners and Smith followed with a sacrifice fly.

Gonzalez stole second, moved to third on Helton’s fly to right and scored on Garrett Atkins‘ single to center.

“They pushed the two across to get the lead and their starter held it up nice for a while” Arroyo said. “For us to come back and tie it like that was huge.”

Arroyo gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings.


Colorado played without SS Troy Tulowitzki and 3B Ian Stewart, both out with stiff lower backs. Tracy said they could return to the lineup Thursday. … The Rockies (80-60) are 20 games over .500 for the first time in franchise history. … Colorado C Yorvit Torrealba‘s hitting streak ended at 16 games. … The Rockies activated OF Dexter Fowler from the 15-day DL. … The Reds activated C Ryan Hanigan from the 15-day DL.