Rockies 10, Indians 8, 10 innings
CLEVELAND (AP)—Larry Walker didn’t need very long to find his home run swing.
Walker, playing just his fourth game this year after being sidelined for 68 games with a groin injury, drove the first pitch from former teammate Jose Jimenez (1-6) into the right-field seats.
“That’s some kind of special night,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said of Walker, who went 4-for-4 with five RBIs. “Regardless if you’re 18 or 28 or 48, in Little League or in the big leagues, that’s some kind of special night.”
Walker’s two-run shot in the 10th scored Todd Helton, who opened the 10th with a single.
Walker also connected for solo homers in the second and sixth innings for the Rockies, who trailed 5-2 after five before scoring six times in the sixth.
The 37-year-old Walker has homered three times in a game on three occasions. His homer off Jimenez made him 3-for-3 with three homers in his career against the right-hander.
The last time Walker hit three homers in a game was April 28, 1999, at St. Louis—and two of those came off Jimenez, too.
“It’s a shock to me what I did tonight,” Walker said. “I stuck with the George Brett theory, hit it hard.”
Walker said he made an adjustment during batting practice, but wouldn’t reveal what it was.
“It’s a secret,” he said with a smile. “I could go out and strike out five times tomorrow.”
“I think it’s his first 1-2-3 inning since spring training,” Hurdle said jokingly.
Walker’s three homers traveled an estimated 1,255 feet on a cool night in Jacobs Field, which for a few innings played a lot like Coors Field in Denver.
Walker is a big fan of The Jake. In 1997, he went deep 19 times to finish second to Tino Martinez in the All-Star home run derby.
“I guess I like it here,” he said.
Walker wasn’t thinking about a home run when he came up in the 10th. He had sleep on his mind.
“Victor (Martinez) asked me how I was doing,” Walker said, referring to the Indians’ catcher. “I said, ‘I’m tired.’ That’s the longest game I’ve been in since September.”
After their bullpen blew a three-run lead by allowing the Rockies to score six times in the sixth, the Indians came back and tied it 8-8 in the bottom half.
Cleveland loaded the bases off starter Jeff Fassero on a hit batter and two walks before Coco Crisp’s RBI fielder’s choice made it 8-6. Broussard then ripped a two-run double down the right-field line to tie it.
For five innings, the Rockies were treated rudely on their first visit to Cleveland by Indians starter Jason Davis, who matched a career high with seven strikeouts in 5 1-3 innings.
But Walker led off the sixth with his second homer off the right-hander to make it 5-3, igniting the Rockies’ six-run outburst—helped by four consecutive walks—that gave them a 7-5 lead.
“That sixth inning was never something you can anticipate,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “We’ve had bullpen problems, but never from a command factor like that. That inning was so bad.”
Walker’s blast to straightaway center to start the sixth rattled around in the picnic tables beyond the outfield wall, an estimated 449 feet away.
Three batters after Blake tied it 1-1 in the first with his 13th homer, Broussard connected for his third homer as the Indians opened a 4-1 lead against Fassero.
The Rockies closed within 4-2 in the fourth on Holliday’s RBI single, but the Indians went back ahead by three on Gerut’s triple and Crisp’s run-scoring groundout.
Walker, who sat out the first 2 1/2 months with a strained left groin, gaveColorado a 1-0 lead in the second with his first homer since Sept. 27.
Walker’s 14 total bases were a career-high. … The Rockies improved to 1-7 in extras. … The Indians are expected to finalize a deal for free agent 3B Aaron Boone on Saturday. Boone, a postseason hero for the New York Yankees last season, hasn’t played since tearing a knee ligament while playing basketball in January. … Walker needs three hits for 2,000 in his career. He’ll be the 234th player—and 24th active—to hit the plateau. … The Indians have eight former Rockies on their 40-man roster. … Of Cleveland’s 68homers this season, 45 have been solo shots.