Wednesday, September 16, 2009

De La Rosa shines as Rockies pad lead

Two homers help push Wild Card advantage to 3 1/2 games
By Thomas Harding /

SAN FRANCISCO -- Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa refused to let AT&T Park be remembered as the site of futility for the Rockies.

In one of the biggest pitching innings of the season, De La Rosa faced Giants runners at second and third in the sixth inning but struck out three straight batters -- including Pablo Sandoval to conclude an eight-pitch royal rumble.

De La Rosa gave up three hits and fanned eight in eight innings as the Rockies won, 4-3, to avoid suffering a three-game series sweep and extend their lead over the Giants in the National League Wild Card race to 3 1/2 games. The Rockies had lost six straight at AT&T Park.

De La Rosa (15-9) showed why he is baseball's winningest pitcher since the start of June at 15-3. After Nate Schierholtz walked and Rich Aurilia singled in the sixth, De La Rosa and catcher Yorvit Torrealba mixed pitches to strike out Andres Torres on a changeup, Freddy Sanchez on a 1-2 slider, and Sandoval on a 96 mph fastball.

Troy Tulowitzki, who knocked three hits, led off the Rockies' two-run fourth with his team-high 27th home run of the season, off Matt Cain (13-6), who gave up five hits in six innings. Tulowitzki also had the game's big defensive play when he started a double play in the fourth by tagging Torres, who had strayed from second on Sandoval's grounder.

Ian Stewart followed a Torrealba single with his 24th homer of the season, to right-center off Cain, for a 4-0 lead in the sixth. The long ball proved important when Colorado's bullpen surrendered three runs in the ninth, but the Rockies held on and ended their losing streak at four games.


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