Coors Field gonna Coors Field. There's no other way to put it.
The home of the Colorado Rockies has hosted some of Major League Baseball's wildest and most memorable games since opening in 1995. That includes the iconic NL wild-card tiebreaker game Colorado played against the San Diego Padres in 2007.
Guess who was in town when all heck broke loose again on Friday?
You guessed it. The Padres.
In the early innings, this game looked like your typical nondescript mid-June affair. Decent pitching. Decent action.
In the middle innings, it looked like the wheels had fallen off for San Diego and a second straight easy win was coming Colorado’s way.
In the late innings, chaos!
The Padres ended up winning the game 16-12 in 12 pretty ridiculous innings. The score itself doesn't tell you how ridiculous, but it gives clues. What you're about to read will fill in all the details of what so far has to be the wildest game in MLB this season.
No lead has ever been safe in Denver. That's because baseball played a mile above sea level is just more conducive to offense. Some have even called it baseball’s version of pinball.
Science tells us the baseball travels farther and breaks less in the thin air. Those are both huge disadvantages to pitchers. Also a disadvantage is the extra space created by the deeper dimensions, which in theory are supposed to lessen the number of home runs. That means Coors Field allows more cheap hits than any other ballpark in MLB, which adds to the potential for big innings.
There were plenty of those Friday. The Rockies scored two in the third, fifth and seventh innings, sandwiched around a five-run sixth. That gave them a commanding 11-4 lead heading to the eighth. The Padres then scored 12 unanswered runs, including a six-run rally in the ninth to tie the game and five runs in the 12th to win it.
That alone is wild. There’s been no other comeback and result like this in MLB since 1976.
Tonight the @Padres scored 6 runs in the 9th to tie the game and then put up 5 more in the 12th to win it.
They're the first team to have two 5+ run innings in the 9th or later in a game since the Yankees did so at Cleveland on May 18, 1976 (9th and 16th).#FriarFaithful
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) June 15, 2019
Fernando Tatis Jr. and Hunter Renfroe spark the rally
The Padres’ comeback took contributions from everyone in the lineup. The two main catalysts though were Fernando Tatis Jr. and Hunter Renfroe.
Of the Padres’ 12 hits during those two rallies, five belonged to that duo. Tatis started the ninth-inning rally with a single and then capped it with a two-run single that tied the game. He also scored the go-ahead run after tripling to lead off the 12th.
As for Renfroe, he homered in each inning, giving him a career-high three for the game. Not bad timing at all for a guy the Padres are reportedly floating in trade talks. Of course, Renfroe has done it all season. He has 21 homers to lead the team, which is why no shortage of teams will be interested.
It couldn’t get any worse
The Padres carried a five-game losing streak into Friday’s game, and did nothing to instill confidence in their fan base when they turned an Ian Desmond double into a three-run inside-the-park home run.
Yeah, that really happened.
The dive by right fielder Josh Naylor was ill-advised. He probably should have been charged with an error for fumbling the ball.
Regardless, the Rockies scored three runs and took control of the game. That left Padres fans thinking it couldn’t get any worse.
Fortunately for them, it didn’t.
As for the Rockies. Well...
Trevor Story’s unlucky injury
Making matters worse for the Rockies, shortstop Trevor Story took a bad-hop grounder to the eye.
#Rockies SS Trevor Story just took a bad hop, off his wrist, off his forehead just above the left eye. Head athletic trainer Keith Dugger is smartly escorting him off the field. And Nolan Arenado comes in at third base, with Ryan McMahon moving to shortstop.
— Thomas Harding (@harding_at_mlb) June 15, 2019
After the game, manager Bud Black said Story experienced immediate swelling, but was hopeful he’d be back in the lineup again this weekend.
The injury happened before the comeback, and was an unfortunate sign of things to come for Colorado.
Now, after 5 hours, 12 innings, 28 runs, 39 hits and 16 different pitchers, these teams get to do it all over again at Coors Field on Saturday.
And then again on Sunday.
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