\*\*\*“It’s not about how hard you fall but how fast you get up”\*\*\*
Most people have heard that quote or some similar variation to it at some point in their life. It is cliche, but like many overused quotes, there is some truth to it. For the Colorado Rockies on Saturday in their 14-8 victory over the San Diego Padres, this saying couldn’t have rung truer.
“The thing that I like (is) they're really tough,” said Rockies manager Bud Black. “After a game like last night, these guys are pretty resilient, mentally. So they came out and played hard. That doesn't surprise me.”
The Rockies needed that resilience, as they were coming from the lowest of lows.
Less than 24 hours prior they sustained one of the worst losses in franchise history after giving up a six-run lead during the ninth inning.
The loss snatched the hard-fought momentum the Rockies had built up at home right out from under them. To make matters worse, it came against a divisional rival whom they are fighting neck and neck with for a playoff spot.
Saturday, the Rockies had two options: fall into a downward spiral of their own doing, or put that historic defeat behind them and try and regain momentum.
The Rockies chose the latter.
Am I exaggerating the importance of one game in a 162-game season?
Possibly. However, momentum does have a major effect on a teams success. Saturday's victory was a major comeback from a low point in the year and huge for the Rockies momentum moving forward.
The Rockies led by their veteran core set the tone early.
San Diego scored three early runs in the top of the first, but the Rockies responded in quick fashion with a one-run first inning and a shutout top of the second, before piling on three more runs of their own.
“I think that competitiveness right out of the gate kind of set the tone for the rest of the game,” said Rockies leadoff hitter Charlie Blackmon. “I think that was important even for ourselves to be like ‘hey we're here, we're playing hard, we’re trying to win this game.’ I think that's a big momentum shifter for us.”
Building of their early momentum, the Rockies continued to control the contest. Blackmon and company continued the onslaught on offense, scoring seven runs over the next three innings as the Rockies built an 11-3 lead heading into the sixth.
Marquez, who had an up and down day, began to lose hold of things in the sixth, and the Padres cut the lead to four runs. After the top of the seventh, they had cut it to three.
The game was starting to feel similar to the contest that had gone so disastrously for Colorado one day prior.
Saturday, however, was a new day and a different story. The Rockies responded with a huge three-run seventh inning, and a bullpen, pitching with a chip on their shoulders did the rest.
“This was a situation where both teams are acutely aware of what's happening based on today's game, what happened yesterday, or what happens in baseball in general. Anything can happen, So I thought our guys stayed the course really well,” Black said.
Blackmon relished in the opportunity to atone for Friday’s crushing defeat.
“It was kind of like having a second chance at last night,” Blackmon said. “Last night we couldn't get the stop, couldn't get the run, and tonight we got that extra run, we got the stop, and kind of righted our wrongs today.”
The most important aspect of the game was the result, and how it came about for the Rockies. With that said, there was still a lot of excitement along the way. The Rockies top five scoring offense kept up its torrid pace, and multiple players secured statistical milestones during the game.
Blackmon became the first player in Rockies franchise history to have three consecutive games of four hits and was the first player too since Rafael Furcal May 13-15, 2007. Blackmon went 4-for-6 with two RBI and three runs.
“It's hard to get, one or two hits a game. Here he is getting four, three nights in a row. It's pretty special stuff,” Black said.
Leading off the Rockies batting order, Blackmon hit during each of his first four plate appearances, which was crucial in setting the tone early.
David Dahl went 3-for-4 with three RBI, three runs and a triple. It was his second straight game with three RBI and gave him 16 for the month of June.
It didn’t stop there.
Trevor Story, Nolan Arenado and Ryan McMahon combined for eight total hits and two RBI.
Relief pitchers Chad Bettis, Brian Shaw and Carlos Estevez each out did their Friday performance and kept the Padres at-bay. The trio had three strikeouts and didn’t allow a single earned run between them.
The biggest play of the evening came from Ian Desmond. He had a remarkable inside the park home run in the sixth inning of Friday’s loss, that looked like it would put the game away for the Rockies. On Saturday, Desmond came up huge again, with his fourth career grand slam. The 419' homer, this time occurring in the fifth inning, increased the Rockies lead from three runs to seven runs.
San Diego was never able to recover.
Desmond went 2-for-4 with five RBI and extended his season-long nine game hitting streak.
“He's made some subtle changes to his swing, and I think we're seeing the results,” Black said.
Resiliency can manifest itself in many ways. For the Rockies, it meant putting the demons of Friday, June 14th behind them.
The All-Star break, marking the halfway point of the season is approaching quickly. The offense is flourishing, but the jury is still out on this year's iteration of the Rockies. There is still quite a lot of baseball left to be played and like many years, there is a level of uncertainty about the Rockies pitching.
One thing, however, is certain. The Rockies have resiliency. This attribute doesn't always translate to wins like it did on Saturday, but it means that no matter how hard, or how many times the Rockies fall, they will get back up.