10/12/09 2:57 AM EST
Rockies Short Hops: Game 3
Rox drop battle of bullpens after Hammel's early exit
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
In a battle of the bullpens, the Rockies' flinched last, as Ryan Howard hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth to put Philadelphia ahead.
Chase Utley's dribbler with one out and a runner on second in the ninth brought its share of controversy. The ball appeared on replay to have hit Utley coming out of the batter's box, and the off-balance throw from Huston Street resulted in a bang-bang play at first base that could've gone either way, but was ruled safe. The very next batter, Howard, then had the luxury of flying out to deep left-center field to bring the winning run across.
6 -- That was the number of walks issued by three of the first four Rockies pitchers on Sunday. Three of the Phillies that walked ended up scoring, and all of those free passes came between the fourth and sixth inning, when Philadelphia scored four runs to pull ahead, 5-4. Game balls
Gonzalez continued to be a steady influence at the top of the order, finishing 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a solo home run in the fourth inning that tied the game at 4. In the past two games, Gonzalez is 6-for-9.
Two of the Rockies' first three runs came off the bat of Atkins, who singled to left field in the first and doubled to center field in the third off Phillies starter J.A. Happ. It had been a rough regular season for Atkins, the third baseman who averaged 25 home runs and 110 RBIs the previous three years, but batted just .226 with nine homers and 48 RBIs in 2009. But none of that matters in the postseason.
In a tie game in the eighth, the Phillies had runners on second and third with one out against Betancourt. But the Rockies right-hander struck out Carlos Ruiz -- who had two RBIs going into that at-bat -- and dangerous pinch-hitter Matt Stairs to end the threat and keep his team in it.
Sense of October
Several players sported long sleeves under their jerseys and cold-weather caps, while every fan watching on television or toughing it out with the team at the ballpark could easily see the smoke of every breath taken at chilly Coors Field. In short: It's October in Denver, and it's cold. Conditions on Sunday weren't as rough as those that postponed Saturday's contest, but the game-time temperature in the Mile High City was 35 degrees, which tied for an all-time playoff low.
4 AB, 0 H, 0 BB, 3 SO, 4 LOB
Comment: Manager Jim Tracy moved Torrealba up to the No. 5 spot to take advantage of his hot hitting, but it wasn't a good day at the plate for the Rockies' catcher.
3 2/3 IP, 4 R, 4 H, 3 BB, 5 Ks, 75 pitches (45 strikes)
Comment: Hammel was roughed up in the fourth, which led to an early exit and forced Tracy to deploy six relievers on the night.
"We got beat, but what I'm proud of as far as the club is concerned is we left it all out there." -- Tracy
The Rockies will look to tie this series at 2 and force a decisive game during Game 4 at Coors Field on Monday, but they'll have to get past the man who absolutely stifled them in Game 1 -- Cliff Lee. Getting the ball for Colorado will be Ubaldo Jimenez, the one Lee beat Wednesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The game is scheduled to start at 4:07 p.m. MT and will be aired on TBS and Postseason.TV.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.