That 3-12 start to the season seems so long ago for the Rockies. Think about it. With a 6-4, 10-inning victory that gave them a sweep of the Diamondbacks, and extended their winning streak against Arizona to a franchise-record eight games, the Rockies are actually sitting atop the NL wild-card standings.
They have won 37 of their last 59 games, and showed a resolve on Thursday despite finding out before the game that shortstop Trevor Story will spend the next couple of weeks on the Injured List with a right thumb sprain, and then in the ninth inning had third baseman Nolan Arenado come out of a tie game with a swollen left big toe.
“There’s a ton of resiliency in this team, there’s fight in this group, and with us, I think there’s a real level-headedness to this group that allows them to think clearly,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “We knew this was going to be a tough trip.”
How tough? Well, Raimel Tapia had the game-winning hits in the first two games. Chris Iannetta had a two-run home run to key the third win on May 28, and the game-winning two-run single on Thursday. Ryan McMahon had two-run doubles both Tuesday and Wednesday that put the Rockies in control. Oh, and Scott Oberg won the first game of the eight-game streak as well as the eighth, and earned the save in the fourth win.
AT THE PLATE
While catcher Chris Iannetta had the game-winning, two-run single in the 10th, Tony Wolters, the Rockies primary catcher, not only came off the bench to deliver the game-tying single in the ninth off D-backs closer Greg Holland, but he then stepped on the field to play second base in the final two innings. The Rockies have won eight of the last 11 games in which Wolters has appeared, and he has hit .367, scoring eight runs and driving in two.
ON THE MOUND
Scott Oberg continues to pitch himself into a more critical role out of the bullpen. He has become the alternative in late innings when closer Wade Davis isn't available. And he has done an impressive job. In the last four weeks, he has appeared in 13 games, the Rockies going 12-1, and Oberg has played a key role. He is coming off back-to-back appearances at Arizona in the final two games of the just-concluded series, and has allowed a .148 batting average in the 13 appearances to go with a 1.20 ERA.
Brendan Rodgers, the top-ranked prospect in the Rockies system, is back. He had a 3 a.m., wake up call in Reno on Thursday morning, caught a plane to Phoenix, and took the roster spot opened when shortstop Trevor Story was placed on the Injured List with a sprained right thumb. For eight innings, Rodgers sat on the bench and watched, but after Tony Wolters pinch-hit for Pat Valaika in the ninth (and delivered the game-tying single), Rodgers found himself playing shortstop.
And he had an impact in the game-winning rally in the 10th. With one out in the inning, Ian Desmond drew a walk, and Rodgers singled, moving Desmond to third. Desmond and Rodgers both scored on a bases-loaded single by Chris Iannetta.