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Monday, May 29, 2023

Rockies blow ninth-inning lead, but beat Marlins 7-6 on Ezequiel Tovar’s first career walk-off hit to win series – Boulder Daily Camera

A weird win is a win nonetheless, especially if you’re the 2023 Rockies.

Colorado beat the Marlins 7-6 on Thursday in the matinee at Coors Field, clinching the series. The Rockies were down early, rallied and then blew a four-run lead in an ugly top of the ninth that saw rookie Brenton Doyle carted off after crashing into the center field wall.

In the end, the game finished on a LoDo high note when rookie shortstop Ezequiel Tovar delivered his first career walk-off hit, an RBI single to lift Colorado to victory in the bottom of the ninth.

“That was a crazy game, but we did what we had to do at the end to get the win,” said Ryan McMahon, who had two hits, two RBIs and a walk. “They’re not all pretty.”

Kyle Freeland threw five-innings of two-run ball, and the bullpen was solid up until closer Pierce Johnson imploded by giving up a pair of two-run homers in the ninth. Doyle was injured on the first of those while attempting to rob Jorge Soler’s blast.

It was Soler’s one-out single in the third inning that helped the Marlins strike first. Soler’s hit seemed innocuous, but it turned into a run after Yuli Gurriel deposited a RBI triple into the left-field corner to make it 1-0 Marlins.

Miami added on another run in the fourth after Jonathan Davis’ one-out triple set the table. Xavier Edwards’ RBI single brought him home, but Freeland avoided further damage by getting Soler to fly out to end the inning with former Colorado utilityman Garrett Hampson stranded on third base.

“They fought Kyle hard and drove his pitch count up,” manager Bud Black said. “But Kyle did a really good job (of minimizing damage) — their lead could’ve gotten bigger, but he made some really good, critical pitches in different innings to keep the run total down.”

Colorado’s offense finally got to southpaw Braxton Garrett in the bottom of the fourth. Randal Grichuk doubled, then Alan Trejo scored him with a two-out RBI single to cut the score to 2-1.

Freeland held the fort through five innings, then was replaced by Daniel Bard, who blanked the Marlins in the sixth and seventh. Between Bard’s zeros, Elias Diaz continued his strong season with his sixth homer of the season, and third of the series, to tie the game 2-2. Diaz’s 443-foot blast off Garrett ended up in a fan’s outstretched cap in the left-field bleachers.

Colorado Rockies catcher Elias Diaz (35) celebrates while running the bases after hitting a home run in the 6th inning at Coors Field on May 25, 2023 in Denver, Colorado.The Colorado Rockies took on the Miami Marlins. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)
Colorado Rockies catcher Elias Diaz (35) celebrates while running the bases after hitting a home run in the 6th inning at Coors Field on May 25, 2023 in Denver, Colorado.The Colorado Rockies took on the Miami Marlins. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

Colorado had traffic in the seventh inning, but Kris Bryant grounded out to end the frame with runners on second and third.

Justin Lawrence held the Marlins scoreless in the eighth before McMahon’s double to score Grichuk off Dylan Floro gave Colorado its first lead. Floro continued to come unraveled after that, yielding a single to Tovar, a single to pinch-hitter Charlie Blackmon and then a bloop single to Mike Moustakas with the bases loaded. That brought in two more runs, making it 5-2, and chased Floro.

“It’s no secret I haven’t been playing the best baseball lately,” McMahon said. “It just feels good to contribute, especially with a big hit.”

Doyle added to the lead with an RBI infield single off Bryan Hoeing before Johnson came on for the final three outs. But Johnson, who was been mostly solid this season with 10 saves in 10 tries, didn’t have his best stuff in a non-save situation.

After Johnson was hit for a two-run homer by Soler, the right-hander gave up another two-run dinger, this time with two outs to pinch-hitter Garrett Cooper, to tie the game 6-6 and set up Tovar’s heroics in the bottom half of the inning. Brent Suter, who got the final out of the top of the ninth, was credited with the win.

Friday’s Pitching Matchup

Mets RHP Max Scherzer (3-2, 4.01) at Rockies RHP Connor Seabold (1-1, 5.97)

6:40 p.m. Friday, Coors Field


Radio: 850 AM/94.1 FM

A future Hall of Famer pitches opposite an unproven starter in the series opener against the struggling Mets, who aren’t performing up to the expectations of their massive payroll. Scherzer’s looked bad in a couple starts, but Mad Max is coming off six innings of shutout baseball in a win over the Guardians last Sunday. He’s no longer the strikeout artist he once was — he has 31 Ks in 33 2/3 innings this year and is just 48th percentile in strikeout percentage, per Baseball Savant. Meanwhile, Seabold is coming off back-to-back two ugly starts. He got hit for five runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Rangers, and six runs (four earned) in 4 1/3 innings against the Reds.

Pitching probables

Saturday: Mets RHP Justin Verlander (2-2, 3.60) at Rockies RHP Chase Anderson (0-0, 1.15), 7:10 p.m., ATTRM

Sunday: Mets RHP Tylor Megil (5-3, 4.32) at Rockies LHP Austin Gomber (4-4, 6.48), 1:10 p.m., ATTRM

Monday: Rockies RHP Karl Kauffmann (0-2, 9.35) at Diamondbacks RHP Ryne Nelson (1-2, 5.02), 2:10 p.m., ATTRM


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