Holliday drives home deciding run in 14th, Rockies beat Dodgers 7-4
Holliday singled home the go-ahead run in the 14th inning, Cory Sullivan homered and drove in two runs, and the Rockies beat Los Angeles 7-4 Saturday night in a 5-hour, 6-minute marathon. It was the longest game at Chavez Ravine since Sept. 6, 1987, a 3-2 win over the New York Mets that lasted 5:16.
It was quite a relief for manager Clint Hurdle after watching his team strand 12 baserunners and come up empty on a bases-loaded opportunity with none out in the 11th.
“One of the good things we’ve been able to do all year long is when we experience a setback or have a little failure, we just move forward and try to create a new opportunity,” Hurdle said. “Tonight was a perfect example of not executing in some situations that cost us, but continuing to play hard. Nobody dropped their head.”
Ryan Spilborghs, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the 11th, led off the 14th with a double against Roberto Hernandez (0-2) and advanced on Kaz Matsui’s sacrifice bunt. The right-hander then walked pinch-hitter Jamey Carroll before Holliday lined a 1-1 pitch to left field for the lead run.
“I was the last one out there, so I was going to go as long as I could and give my team a chance,” Hernandez said after his 1,001st career appearance.
“In that situation with first and third, the infield went back to double-play depth. The ball that I can command for a ground ball is the sinker. He tried to cheat a little bit and open up and hit a line drive to left. But the key to that inning wasn’t as much Holliday as the 3-2 pitch to Jamey Carroll. I threw a perfect pitch in that situation, the call didn’t go my way, and that changed the whole complexion of that inning.”
“It was a huge win, to play 14 innings on the road against the Dodgers and you’ve got their bullpen to go against,” Herges said. “We persevered and we’re happy. This is the kind of game you can mark as saying that’s when things started happening. That’s how big that win is.”
It was the longest game by innings for the Rockies this season and the second-longest for the Dodgers, who beat the Padres 5-4 in 17 innings on April 29 at San Diego. The loss, coupled with Arizona’s 12-6 win over Atlanta, put the Dodgers a season-worst 7 1/2 games out of first place in the NL West.
Dodgers reliever Rudy Seanez miraculously escaped his bases-loaded, no-out jam in the 11th and struck out the side in the 12th. The 16-year veteran set a career high with his 58th appearance.
Matsui struck out with the bases loaded in the 11th, then Sullivan grounded into a rare 6-2-5 double play with the infield drawn in. Shortstop Rafael Furcal fielded Sullivan’s grounder up the middle, threw to the plate for the force on Troy Tulowitzki, and Russell Martin relayed to Shea Hillenbrand at third for the force on Geronimo Gil.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a guy hit a double-play ball to the shortstop behind the pitcher’s mound without a five-man infield,” Hurdle said. “Whether that’s advance scouting, Furcal’s intuitive nature, whatever it was, that was some kind of play. Gil made the right read—the ball’s almost a line drive and he’s got nowhere to go.”
After Sullivan’s RBI single in the seventh increased Colorado’s lead to 4-1, Hillenbrand got the run back in the bottom half with an RBI single.
Both runs in the eighth against reliever Jorge Julio were unearned, the result of a fielding error by third baseman Garrett Atkins on Jeff Kent’s grounder. Atkins also committed a baserunning blunder in the 10th when he tried to advance two bases on Hawpe’s bloop single and was thrown out by Furcal from short left field to end the inning.
Rockies starter Franklin Morales lasted 5 1-3 innings in his major league debut, allowing a run and five hits while striking out four and walking none. The 21-year-old left-hander from Venezuela also drove in a run with a single to center his first time up and left the game leading 3-1.
“There’s nothing not to like about that outing tonight,” Hurdle said. “Of the 16 outs he got out there, he got eight groundball outs and four punchouts. He handled himself well and he showed a lot of poise for a youngster.”
Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley allowed three runs and eight hits over five innings and struck out four.
Holliday’s winning RBI was his team-leading 96th … Sullivan’s homer was his first in 90 games dating to Sept. 3 of last season at Dodger Stadium. … Martin stole two bases to increase his total to 20 and break the Dodgers’ franchise mark for catchers set in 1892 by Cornelius “Con” Daily. … RHP Brad Penny is being moved up a day in the Dodgers’ rotation and will start on three days rest in Sunday’s series finale instead of Brett Tomko. Penny is 12-2 with a 2.69 ERA in career 18 starts against Colorado. … Matsui’s stolen base in the seventh inning was the 85th for the Rockies, matching last season’s total with 40 games to spare.