Rockies Win In 11th Inning Walk-Off

By: AP/11 Sports
By: AP/11 Sports

Todd Helton's bad back and Willy Taveras' pulled thigh muscle made both of them spectators at Coors Field long before the fireworks lit up the mountain skies Thursday night.

Their replacements put on quite a show in their absence.

Jeff Baker drove in four runs and Ryan Spilborghs hit a two-run single in the 11th inning to rally the Colorado Rockies past the Florida Marlins 6-5.

''It's just one game, but for us to win more and more games is important,'' Spilborghs said.

Kevin Gregg (6-3), who blew his fifth save in 20 chances, walked Yorvit Torrealba leading off and then overthrew first base on Scott Podsednik's attempted sacrifice bunt, putting runners at second and third. Troy Tulowitzki, hitting .163, drew a walk to load the bases.

Pinch-hitter Omar Quintanilla bounced the 10th pitch he saw to second baseman Alfredo Amezaga, who nailed Torrealba at the plate.

''You like to see a run score with bases loaded and no outs, but he threw out a nine-, 10-pitch at-bat. He made them make a good play to get him,'' Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. ''The biggest thing is we didn't hit into a double play.''

Spilborghs then sent a 1-2 fastball into the left-center gap to send the crowd of 48,084 the Rockies' first sellout since Opening Day home happy.

''He had the bases loaded right there, I knew he wasn't going to mess around too much,'' Spilborghs said. ''I was still looking for a fastball. ... It was belt-high. I'm not surprised. It's tough to pitch with the bases loaded and 40,000 screaming at you. He tried to make a good pitch and left it up.''

Gregg put this one on his shoulders.

''I put myself in a situation with second and third and nobody out. It's not an easy one to get out of. It cost us the game,'' Gregg said. ''I made the throw and it might have been harder than (first baseman Jorge) Cantu was expecting it. I threw it away.''

Both the ball and the game.

Matt Herges (3-3) got the win despite allowing the go-ahead run in the 11th when Cody Ross doubled home Josh Willingham from first base with two outs.

''Spilly picked me up,'' Herges said. ''He came into the dugout and said, 'We're going to get a win for you right now,' and he did it.''

It's the kind of confidence that characterized the Rockies' run to the World Series last year.

''We have trust in our team that we're going to come back and score a run right there. We're playing for one run and if we got two it was gravy,'' Spilborghs said. ''We told Matt to keep his head up, we're going to pick him up right there.''

Baker, filling in at first base for Helton, had a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning that erased the 4-3 lead that Cantu had given Florida with a two-run homer in the top half.

Cantu's homer off Taylor Buchholz, his 15th, spoiled Mark Redman's return to the Colorado rotation after two months in the minors. Redman was in line for the win after throwing six strong innings.

In the bottom of the eighth, Baker, who also had a two-run homer and a run-scoring groundout, sent Kensing's fastball to the wall in right-center, barely missing another home run but scoring Clint Barmes from third.

Redman scattered six hits over six innings, allowing two runs in his first major league appearance since May 6. It was his fifth career start against the Marlins, whom he helped win the 2003 World Series.

Redman, who was demoted to Triple-A in the first week of May, was called up to replace left-hander Jeff Francis (shoulder) in the rotation after Colorado's ace went on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday.

Florida starter Andrew Miller allowed three runs on five hits in 6 2-3 innings. ^Notes:@ Rockies 3B Garrett Atkins went 2-for-3 off Miller, raising his batting average against lefties to a major league-best .484. ... The Rockies have won five of their last six against left-handed starters. ...


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