Tulowitzki lined a fastball into center field off James McDonald(notes) with one out and the bases loaded in the 10th to give the Colorado Rockies a wild 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the opener of a crucial three-game series Tuesday night.
Tulowitzki’s hit made a winner of Matt Herges(notes) (1-0), who pitched a perfect 10th as the Rockies, who trailed the Dodgers by 15 1/2 games on June, 3 sliced L.A.’s lead in the NL West to just two games.
“We feel them coming. That is a good team,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. “They keep playing. That’s what you want a team to do is keep playing. They are very dangerous because they keep coming at you.
“They hustle all the time and … they play fundamentally sound baseball,” Torre said. “If you do that and believe, some good things will happen. That is a key at this time of the year.”
Tulowitzki didn’t allow his teammates to pummel him in a scrum the way they had Spilborghs after his blast beat San Francisco the night before.
So, after lining the game-winning single, Tulowitzki rounded first base and sped straight to center field, where only a handful of his teammates were able to track him down in celebration of the Rockies’ fourth straight come-from-behind win.
“You see a big mob of guys coming after you, you figure if you run a little bit, some of them are going to give up so you don’t get mobbed by all of them,” Tulowitzki said.
“I was telling (Huston) Street I was trying to look for him (coming out of the bullpen) because I remember the ninth inning he was hanging over the fence like a little kid, I think because he wanted to be in the game and he wasn’t.”
With Street, the NL saves co-leader, unavailable to close out the Dodgers, the Rockies gave up two runs in the ninth, including Manny Ramirez’s(notes) RBI single with two outs and two strikes to tie it at 4.
The Rockies, though, are playing with a calm confidence that helps them pull out these kinds of games.
“We look at it as all the pressure’s on them,” Tulowitzki said. “They’re supposed to win the division. They were up by 15 1/2 . We’re just messing around, I guess.”
Colorado (72-54), the NL wild-card leader, moved 18 games over .500 for the first time in their history, besting the 90-73 mark they had after beating San Diego in the one-game playoff on their way to the 2007 NL pennant.
McDonald (3-3) walked Ian Stewart(notes) leading off the 10th before Carlos Gonzalez(notes), who can’t swing the bat because of a deep cut in his right hand, bunted his way aboard. First baseman James Loney’s(notes) error on the play allowed Stewart to go to third.
With Street unavailable, the Rockies sent Rafael Betancourt(notes) to the mound in the ninth to preserve a 4-2 lead. But he allowed a sacrifice fly to Matt Kemp(notes) before Ramirez sliced a two-out, 0-2 pitch from rookie Matt Daley(notes) into right field to score Rafael Furcal(notes) from third, tying it at 4.
Brad Hawpe(notes) and Clint Barmes(notes) homered for the Rockies, who got a solid seven innings from Jason Hammel(notes) (two earned runs on eight hits) in outdueling Clayton Kershaw(notes), who allowed two runs on four hits in 6 1-3 innings.
“I see a team playing with a lot of confidence,” Kershaw said. “That’s a good team. Everyone is throwing well. All of their starters are throwing well and they getting timely hitting and the clutch hits. That’s what we were doing the first 90 games of the season.”
Blake hit a solo shot in the fourth for Los Angeles, his 16th homer giving the Dodgers an early 2-0 lead. Hawpe tied it with a two-run homer, his 18th, in the bottom of the inning.
Young got his first major league hit in the sixth when he singled to left, to the delight of his father, who was sitting in the press box after catching a last-minute flight to Denver and arriving at the ballpark just in time to see his son in the batter’s box leading off the bottom of the first.
“This was better than anything I ever accomplished in my career,” the elder Young told The Associated Press. “I had a lot of great moments but as a dad to see your kid reach his dream of playing in the big leagues and to see him get his first hit with the same team I played for, that tops everything.”
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