Ubaldo denied history, but Tulo walks off
Righty must wait to claim Rockies single-season wins record
DENVER -- With the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth, Huston Street came to a set and peered toward the plate. Suddenly, on what had been a calm day, he felt a gust of wind.
Neglecting his immediate thought to hesitate to throw his 2-1 pitch to Brewers right fielder Corey Hart, the Rockies closer delivered.
After Colorado defeated Milwaukee, 6-5, hindsight becomes 20/20, but Street probably should have waited.
Hart hit a sky-high pop-up toward second base, which was exposed to a rush of wind and the mid-afternoon sun, toying with second baseman Clint Barmes. He circled under it, appearing to have lost the ball before it landed behind him. The error allowed two runs to score, tying the game at 5.
"It's weird the way things happen," Street said. "But right before the pitch, I came set. I was throwing a fastball and the breeze picked up and I was like, 'Oh my God, that's a pretty stiff breeze right there. Maybe I should wait to throw this pitch.'"
Well, he didn't. And, as Rockies manager Jim Tracy alluded, Mother Nature can be added to the list of antagonists in Colorado's adversity-filled season.
"As soon as Corey Hart hit that ball, the wind blew through here," Tracy said, "Just go ahead and add that on there, too. Tack that onto everything else."
Fortunately for Street, Barmes and the rest of the first-base dugout, the Rockies followed the home-game protocol that is often implemented when the team trails at home: They fought back.
What Colorado lost by air was quickly and willfully redeemed by way of the ground. Dexter Fowler, who entered the ninth as a defensive replacement in center field and made a leaping catch to rob Chris Dickerson of a home run, grounded a double past first baseman Prince Fielder.
"First, Fowler jumps over the fence," Brewers manager Ken Macha said. "That could have changed the whole thing. Basically, when they scored, they just got two ground balls that went by our fielders."
Three batters later, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki smacked a sharp grounder past reliever Trevor Hoffman and beyond the diving reach of second baseman Rickie Weeks to plate Fowler with the winning run.
"The statement of the club to come back and do what it did, and pick up an incredible teammate speaks volumes as to who they are and what they've been about for a long period of time," Tracy said.
It was a relief for Barmes and Street, sure. But there was a lingering disappointment in the Rockies' clubhouse for starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who had his shot at a franchise record and big league-best 18th win of the season spoiled with Street's third blown save.
"I'm just happy because we won," said Jimenez, who struck out 10 batters for his second-highest strikeout total this year. "I'm a human being, and I wanted to win that game, but so what? It's just a game and I'm going to have more opportunities to win."
It was Street's third straight outing of the weekend and second consecutive troublesome one. He took the loss in Saturday's 5-4 extra-inning defeat, in which he threw two innings.
But Street and Tracy agreed that the closer threw better on Sunday than he had on Saturday. After all, one play that Barmes says he makes "100 times out of 100" would silence any would-be criticisms of Street's outing.
"I got nothing for you," Barmes said. "It's a pretty embarrassing play. More than that, I took the win from Ubaldo, which is an even harder pill to swallow. Thankfully, I didn't lose the game completely."
Joey Nowak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.