Rockies use walk-off heroics to cap home sweep of Padres

Jun 16, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Colorado Rockies right fielder Charlie Blackmon (19) hits a walk off RBI single with teammates in the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Charlie Blackmon laced a pinch-hit single into centerfield to drive home Trevor Story in the bottom of the ninth inning on Wednesday, giving the Colorado Rockies an 8-7 walk-off victory to cap a three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres at Coors Field.

Blackmon, on a 2-2 pitch from Padres reliever Austin Adams, took advantage of a hanging breaking ball to plate Trevor Story, who drew a leadoff walk and stole second base. That came after the Padres tied the game in the top half of the inning as a result of a pair of walks by Carlos Estévez and a throwing error on Brendan Rodgers that thwarted a potential game-ending double play and eventually led to a Trent Grisham sac fly.

The Rockies overcame another poor start from Kyle Freeland, who allowed five runs on nine hits, including a pair of home runs, in 3 2/3 innings. It helped that the Rockies managed a pair of dingers of their own off of Padres starter Blake Snell, whose outing basically mirrored that of Freeland; he surrendered seven runs on nine hits in 3 1/3 frames.

Raimel Tapia and Elias Diaz paced the Rockies with three hits apiece in the series finale. One of Diaz’s hits was a homer, his second of the season and first ever at Coors Field as a member of the Rockies.

Colorado set the stage for the sweep by winning the opener, 3-2, behind eight scoreless innings from Austin Gomber, who has become the club’s best starting pitcher. The Rockies the following night rallied from down 4-0 against Padres ace Yu Darvish to win 8-4 thanks in large part to a 3-for-3 effort from Ryan McMahon, who finished a double short of the cycle.

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Raimel Tapia finished with six hits in the series and is in the midst of a 13-game hitting streak. That, of course, implies that he’s not just doing damage at Coors Field; in fact, during the Rockies’ most recent in a season full of tumultous road trips, Tapia went 9-for-22.

Over the course of his hitting streak, the 27-year-old outfielder is hitting .450 with a .650 slugging percentage in 60 plate appearances. He has not hit a home run or even drawn a walk during that stretch, but Tapia’s aggressiveness at the plate is playing right into his own capable hands regardless of venue.

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Dom Nuñez at certain points earlier this season was a must-start at Coors Field. However, over the last month and a half, Nuñez’s home production has slipped dramatically. He’s just 6-for-36 (.167) in his last 13 home games dating back to May 4 after going 0-for-4 on Tuesday. The 26-year-old catcher doesn’t have a home run during that stretch, and more than a third of those 36 at-bats ended in a strikeout.

The one thing, other than his early barrage of homers, keeping Nuñez’s home OPS (.817) respectable is the fact that he’s drawn 11 walks—eight of which came during the aforementioned recent stretch of games—in 82 plate appearances at Coors Field. But on the road, Nuñez, with his .103/.175/.190 line, is simply not playable.

What’s next

The Rockies welcome the Milwaukee Brewers for a four-game series at Coors Field. The Brewers are coming off of a sweep at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds, who also swept the Rockies last weekend. But prior to that, the Brewers were winners of 14 of their previous 16 games.

The opening game of the series features Brandon Woodruff, owner of a 1.52 ERA, against Germán Márquez, who was on quite a roll before a hiccup last weekend against the Reds. The Brewers will also have the benefit of Corbin Burnes, who has posted a 2.27 ERA with 102 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 63 1/3 innings, taking the mound in the series.

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