I swear, it's a conspiracy!
Position: T-3rd NL West
Games Back: 2.0
Elimination Number: 89
Once again, Aaron Cook pitched a gem, and once again, the Rockies bats failed to support him.
And all the A's needed was Nick Swisher to finish the game for them.
Choo Freeman was batted in twice throughout the game, taking a 2-1 lead into the top of the 9th, where Brian Fuentes gave up the leadoff homerun to Nick Swisher (his second in the game) to blow the save before striking out 2 and taking the game into extra innings.
Jose Mesa pitched a scoreless inning, after getting himself out of a 1st/3rd jam.
Calero then came in for the A's and retired Spillborghs, Helton, and Holliday in a row.
Ray King then came in, walked Nick Swisher in what would prove to be the fatal baserunner. Swisher was then sac'd to 2nd, Eric Chavez walked, before Hurdle decided he'd seen enough of King. Ramon Ramirez came in, gave up a single to Kelty, which scored Swisher (for his 3rd run of the night) before finishing off the A's.
Despite a Torrealba single (I know, I'm as shocked as you) in the bottom of the 11th, the Rockies were not able to produce any more runs that night.
And Aaron Cook had a winning effort left out to dry again.
The Rox mustered more than enough hits to score 5-6 runs, but left 9 on base and only scored the 2 runs. Holliday was the biggest offender, coming up to the plate in the bottom of the 5th with only 1 out, and managed to ground into a 5-3 double play. Holliday left 8 stranded on the basepath.
Barry Zito hardly brought his best stuff to Coors
The Bullpen was a little shaky tonight, nobody pitching perfect ball. Fuentes blew the save, Mesa had runners in dangerous scoring position before retiring the side, King walked 2, and Ramirez gave up the game-winning single. Granted, had Ramon started his own inning, that single might have been meaningless. Hurdle may also have hurried him to the mound, giving him inadequate time to warm up.
However, this writer is still not worried about the bullpen. If Ramirez can get through an inning only giving up a hit or two, Mesa can work himself out of his own jams, and Fuentes being an All-Star pitcher, despite a few blown saves, is still the obvious closer for the Rox.
Tonight, Jeff Francis (5-6, 4.13) will square off against John Koronka (5-4, 5.00). Francis and Koronka have both pitched similar ball as of late, both allowing 6 or more runs in 2 of their last 5 starts. Koronka rebounded well from the beating, allowing only 2 runs in a win against Arizona. Francis was lit up in his last start against St. Louis, and he is planning on a rebound against the Rangers.
So until then, Go Rockies!!!