Rockies 7, Phillies 6, 11 innings
“We didn’t have one out of the bullpen, so we can give the save to Helton,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle declared following the Colorado Rockies’ dramatic 7-6 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night.
Helton harkened back to his days as the University of Tennessee’s option quarterback when he robbed Shane Victorino of a single in the top of the 11th by diving to his right and then flipping the ball to Corpas covering first.
A few seconds later, he made an even bigger backhanded stab of Chase Utley’s sharp one-hopper down the line that would have gone for extra bases.
“There’s no doubt those plays he made in that inning, those were just spectacular. As good as you’ll ever see a first baseman make,” Hurdle marveled.
Corpas (3-2) pitched a scoreless inning for the win and can thank Helton for his defense. Durbin fell to 0-2 with the Phillies, who acquired him off waivers from Boston in April.
Torrealba’s two-out single off J.D. Durbin drove home Garrett Atkins from second base with the game-winner as the Rockies overcame a 6-1 deficit to pull to .500 (43-43) by winning their seventh straight at Coors Field. Colorado improved to 13-2 at home since June 2.
“I think our team is playing with a lot of confidence right now,” said Brad Hawpe, whose two-out, two-strike ninth-inning homer tied it at 6. “Not just confidence in themselves, but confidence in others. Our bullpen today, our hitting—we’re just playing well as team.”
In the 11th, Atkins drew a one-out walk and Hawpe singled up the middle. After Troy Tulowitzki struck out, Torrealba sent a 1-1 slider through the middle and Atkins scored standing.
“I didn’t really hit it that hard, but it was hard enough to get a base hit,” Torrealba said.
The Phillies were one strike away from securing rookie right-hander Kyle Kendrick’s fourth straight win when Antonio Alfonseca surrendered a solo home run to Hawpe, his 15th, to tie it at 6. Hawpe’s 430-foot shot to dead center took Jeff Francis off the hook after his worst performance since April.
J.C. Romero got the first out of the ninth and Alfonseca, who blew his third save in nine chances, got Atkins on a flyout to left before Hawpe sent a 1-2 fastball into the rock pile, his third of four hits.
“I thought about staying with Romero. Instead, I changed my thinking to let Romero pitch to Helton and then let Alfonseca pitch to Atkins and Hawpe,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “Heck, he got to 0-and-2 with two outs and throws a pitch down the middle of the plate. You’re not going to get anyone out with that kind of pitch. You get to a 1-2 count on a hitter and you ought to win the game.”
Kendrick has been spectacular since his promotion from Double-A Reading last month to replace injured right-hander Freddy Garcia in the rotation. He allowed three runs and 10 hits in six innings, walked one and struck out two.
By the second inning, all of the Phillies’ position players had a hit and by the fifth they had a 6-1 lead. But Colorado chipped away and pulled to 6-5 on Cory Sullivan’s two-run single, Matt Holliday’s 15th homer and Ryan Spilborghs’ sacrifice fly.
Francis surrendered six hits in the first inning—more than he had allowed in eight of his starts this season—and the Phillies took a 3-0 lead on Chase Utley’s RBI single and a two-run single by Pat Burrell.
Philadelphia went ahead 6-1 in the fifth on Wes Helms’ two-run double.
Francis, who had been 7-1 with a 2.28 ERA over his previous 11 starts, allowed six runs and 12 hits in five innings. Half of the hits off him were doubles.
“Wild in the zone,” Hurdle said. “It’s a good offensive club. He made a lot of mistakes. Kept the ball up a lot, all over the plate a lot. He didn’t have too many weapons tonight. You don’t see that very often from him.”
Rockies LHP Brian Fuentes will miss the All-Star game with a sore back muscle that will keep him out of the remaining two games of this series, too. … Sullivan, who replaced Willy Taveras in center field in the sixth, had three singles and a walk in four trips to the plate. … This was the first meeting between the teams since April 27, 2006, a span of 434 days, the longest in Rockies history without facing an NL opponent.