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10/29/07 3:21 AM ET

Rockies' heads held high despite loss

Mood in clubhouse far from somber as team eyes '08 return

DENVER -- Troy Tulowitzki stood in the batter's box with his bat in hand and watched helplessly as the Red Sox celebrated their 4-3 victory and World Series sweep of the Rockies at Coors Field.

Eventually, Tulowitzki walked away, dreams of tying the game left in the batter's box, and he started to reflect on the dream season that was for the 2007 Colorado Rockies.

"It's tough any time you're on the losing end -- kind of a sour feeling," Tulowitzki said as he fought back tears. "I definitely have that, and the team does too, but we've come a long way since Spring Training. No one expected us to be here and we turned a lot of heads."

The Rockies went from losers to National League abusers during a summer and fall that will not soon be forgotten in Denver. On May 21, they were 18-27 and in last place in the NL West.

The Rockies were one of the best teams in baseball throughout the summer months, staying in the race despite losing eight straight games during a 1-9 road trip in late June.

And who can forget the streak?

With two weeks and 14 games to play, Colorado sat 4 1/2 games back of the Padres in the Wild Card race -- more an afterthought than a playoff hopeful. The Rockies went on to win 13 of their final 14 regular-season games to force a one-game tiebreaker with the Padres, a game they came from two runs behind to win, 9-8, in 13 innings.

Then they swept their way to their first World Series, winners of 21 of 22.

In four games and five days against the Red Sox, the streak became a memory.

"I'm going to be mad for a while, going to be mad for quite a bit," Brad Hawpe said. "It's just part of it. You don't want to end your year with a loss. We were right there in the World Series. That's a pretty neat deal. At some point this winter, we'll sit back and enjoy it."

The Rockies almost put their time for reflection on hold with a comeback Sunday night. Hawpe and Garrett Atkins pulled their club to one run behind the Red Sox with homers in the seventh and eighth innings.

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"We had a never-say-die attitude," said Brian Fuentes, who gave up what turned out to be the game-winning homer to Boston pinch-hitter Bobby Kielty. "We didn't have an ounce of quit in us all the way down to the end. We kept fighting and clawing and came up a little short. But we had a heck of run, and that's something to hold onto."

The Rockies held their heads high in the clubhouse. Tears replaced the champagne-themed celebrations of series prior, but there was little moping and there were even a few smiles.

"We came this far. That hurts," Ryan Spilborghs said. "To come all the way to the dance and to lose, that hurts. But the fact that we were here despite what anybody else thought, we believed in ourselves, and now we've got all of us thinking the exact same thing -- and there's no reason we can't keep repeating it over and over again."

C.J. Moore is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.