(AP) — After the way the opener of this series ended, the St. Louis Cardinals are probably wondering if they will ever beat the Colorado Rockies.
Coming off a stunning loss, the Cardinals will be looking to earn just their second win in 11 meetings with the Rockies on Wednesday night at Coors Field.
St. Louis looked like it was well on its way to winning the opener of this three-game set, leading 9-3 heading into the ninth inning Tuesday night. The Rockies, though, had other ideas.
Seth Smith’s three-run homer with two outs capped a nine-run rally as the Rockies (45-38) won 12-9 and improved to 9-1 in the last 10 matchups against St. Louis.
No team in the modern era had ever scored nine runs in the bottom of the ninth to win a game.
“Never, ever in my career have I been associated with a better comeback than that,” manager Jim Tracy said. “If there’s a huge lesson learned from this game, it’s the fact that … the game’s 27 outs and you play every single one of them. You don’t give an at-bat away just because the score starts to get away from you.”
Chris Iannetta also hit a three-run homer in the ninth and Carlos Gonzalez scored the tying run from first base when Jason Giambi’s single was mishandled by right fielder Randy Winn for an error – his first in 254 games.
Gonzalez went 4 for 6 with three RBIs and hit his 15th home run to give him five homers and 12 RBIs over his last eight games.
Felipe Lopez and Matt Holliday homered and drove in three runs apiece for the Cardinals, who have lost nine of 13 on the road.
“There’s no way you can not get three outs with a six-run lead,” manager Tony La Russa said. “It’s just one of those games. There’s no way to explain it, no excuses you make, it’s just a really difficult loss. It’s just brutal.”
St. Louis (45-38) will try to bounce back against Aaron Cook, who is 4-0 with a 2.23 ERA in nine starts at Coors Field since Sept. 25. He is 3-0 with a 2.64 ERA in seven home starts this season, pitching at least six innings and not allowing more than three runs in every outing.
Cook (3-5, 4.66) beat San Francisco 7-3 at Coors Field on Thursday for his first win since May 29. On Wednesday, he will be looking for his first win at home over St. Louis.
Cook is 0-2 with a 6.51 ERA in five starts in Denver against the Cardinals. He has one win and a 5.07 ERA in nine appearances – eight starts – versus St. Louis.
The Cardinals will send Jaime Garcia (8-4, 2.10) to the mound. The rookie left-hander has been inconsistent, alternating wins and losses in his last five starts, but he is coming off one of the best outings of his career.
Garcia allowed three hits and matched career highs with seven strikeouts and seven innings to defeat Milwaukee 5-0 at home Friday.
In his previous outing, Garcia gave up a career-worst five runs over two innings – his shortest start in the majors – in a 10-3 loss at Kansas City on June 27.