Rockies beat Cards 4-3 on diving catch by Barmes
A small price to pay for a game-saving catch in the middle of a tight playoff race.
Colorado’s second baseman made a diving grab in shallow right field to start a game-ending double play, preserving a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday that kept the Rockies 2 1/2 games ahead of the surging Atlanta Braves in the NL wild-card race.
“There’s been pitches of the year, innings of the year—that’s the defensive play of the year,” Colorado manager Jim Tracy said.
With runners on first and third and one out, Barmes sprinted into the outfield on Ryan Ludwick’s(notes) flair. He dove headfirst for the ball, snaring it and firing to first base to double up Albert Pujols(notes), who ran on contact.
Given the circumstances, Barmes doesn’t think he’s ever made a more important catch.
The welt on his head? He didn’t even know it was there.
But Colorado has to make it to the postseason first.
The Braves are charging hard, applying the pressure. Colorado’s victory also kept the Los Angeles Dodgers’ magic number at two for clinching the NL West title.
The Rockies are going all out to get in.
Barmes provided help in the ninth.
Street was surprised that Ludwick even made contact on the pitch, thinking he’d put it in the perfect spot.
Nervous? No time for that.
“You’re waiting to see what happens,” said Street, who earned his first save in more than a month after sitting out with soreness in his biceps tendon. “You’re just watching. You become a fan.”
And the fan in him let loose when Barmes hauled in the catch and fired to first to get Pujols.
“I sprinted out to right field,” Street said. “It was such a special moment, a special play.”
Barmes was mobbed in the outfield, a moment he’ll treasure.
“Unbelievable feeling,” he said. “That was my contribution today. I didn’t do much offensively.”
Tracy doesn’t expect him to—as long as he keeps making plays in the field.
“I kept playing him through times when there were some offensive shortcomings,” Tracy said. “I will never ever give up on Clint Barmes.”
It was Street’s 34th save in 35 chances this season.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa had no qualms with how the game ended. He thought Pujols did the right thing by digging hard for third, assuming the ball would drop.
“It was just a great play,” La Russa said. “He’s a great athlete and he got a jump and he made a great play.”
The Cardinals still have plenty left to play for as they eye home-field advantage in the NL playoffs. They trail the Dodgers by three games for the best mark in the league.
He wiggled out of a bases-loaded predicament in the fourth, striking out Pujols and Ludwick.
De La Rosa couldn’t escape a jam in the third, though. Pujols drilled a one-out double into the right-center gap, clearing the bases.
“I felt like my pitches were good, sharp. I just got bad results,” he said.
“You kind of walk away shaking your head wondering how they got four runs out of that because I feel like I was hitting my spots,” Lohse said. “The ball was moving. … You can’t beat yourself up for guys getting little hits that were finding holes.”
Or when a potential hit gets turned into a game-ending double play.
“(Barmes) just made a great play and that was it,” Pujols said. “That’s how you win big games.”
NOTES: Molina is still hobbled after being struck on the left knee by a foul ball Saturday. He will be re-evaluated in Cincinnati. … Cardinals INF Brendan Ryan(notes) left the game in the sixth with a bruised right index finger after he was struck on the hand while bunting.