Rockies escape with 15-inning win over Cards

Jack Etkin, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DENVER -- The moment St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma stepped into on-deck circle in the 15th inning Thursday, he could see the clutch situation materializing, his chance, perhaps, to deliver the game-winning run.
The Colorado Rockies were going to intentionally walk Yadier Molina with runners on first and third to pitch to Kozma the bases loaded and one out.
Rob Scahill got Kozma to ground into an inning-ending double play, and in the bottom of the inning, Corey Dickerson tripled home the winning run to give the Rockies a 7-6 victory in a game that lasted 5 hours, 9 minutes.
"He's a good sinkerball pitcher," Kozma said of Scahill. "Faced him a couple times in the minors. I was just looking for something to get up and drive. I had something to hit and didn't do anything with it."
What Kozma did was fire his helmet to the ground in disgust. He entered the game hitting just .218 but with a .324 average with runners in scoring position. It is rare for Kozma to show emotion, but this was not just any situation.
"Game on the line," Kozma said. "The game lasts six hours or however long it lasted. Everybody was feeling something, especially at that point."
Scahill (1-0) got Kozma to hit into the fateful double play after Matt Holliday walked with one out and scampered to third when Carlos Beltran singled to right.
The win gave the Rockies a split of the four-game series and cut the Cardinals' lead in the National League Central to one game over the Pittsburgh Pirates, who beat the San Diego Padres 10-1.
"We control our own fate," Kozma said. "Losing games like this hurts a little bit. We keep on playing the way we have been, we'll be OK."
It was the longest game this season for the Rockies by both innings and time. Each team used 10 pitchers, which tied a Rockies club record. The 20 pitchers combined to throw 471 pitches.
Dickerson's triple off Fernando Salas (0-3) came after a one-out single by DJ LeMahieu. For Dickerson, the game-winning hit atoned for his failed sacrifice attempt in the 13th after LeMahieu led off with a single.
"I went straight to my two-strike approach and looked for something over the plate," Dickerson said of his triple on the first pitch he saw in the 15th. "He hung a changeup. My timing was right on it."
The Rockies blew an early four-run lead but overcame one-run deficits in both the eighth and ninth.
Todd Helton, who struck out with the bases loaded against closer Edward Mujica to end the game Wednesday, greeted Mujica with his 14th homer of the season to open the ninth. It was just the fourth blown save for Mujica in 41 opportunities.
"It just didn't happen tonight," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He's our guy. We just need him to keep making pitches."
Helton's home run knotted the game after the Cardinals went ahead 6-5 in the top of the ninth on Holliday's two-out single off closer Rex Brothers.
The Rockies then got one scoreless inning from Matt Belisle, two apiece from Drew Pomeranz and Wilton Lopez and a most memorable one from Scahill.
Each team scored a run in the eighth. Center fielder Dickerson nearly caught David Freese's two-out drive, but the ball fell out when Dickerson's glove hit the wall. Freese's double scored Holliday, who led off the inning against Chad Bettis with a single just out of reach of second baseman Jonathan Herrera.
Charlie Blackmon had four hits, and Herrera, Dickerson and Charlie Culberson added three apiece in Colorado's 21-hit attack.
"I'm proud of my club," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "Being in a game like that against a playoff club, we got a lot of great performances. A lot of guys stepped up."
Holliday finished with three hits, and Jon Jay, Beltran and Freese each had two hits for St. Louis.
NOTES: Rockies RF Michael Cuddyer didn't play due to left wrist soreness, the result of a tumbling catch that caused him to leave Wednesday's game in the seventh. ... Rockies LHP Jorge De La Rosa might not be able to start Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks due to the left thumb and index finger soreness that prevented him from taking his last turn and from throwing a bullpen session Wednesday. RHP Collin McHugh would start in place of De La Rosa, as he did Monday. ... Cardinals 1B Matt Adams entered the game on defense in the eighth, singled in the ninth and was lifted for a pinch runner. He left Wednesday's game with right elbow pain but said the tingling vanished overnight. Tape and a compression bandage on the elbow enabled him to take swings without a problem. ... Molina, who has played first base late in games, made his third career start at the position. Molina went behind the plate in the eighth. He has played an entire game at first base once.

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