10/13/09 12:30 AM EST
Heartbreaking loss ends Rockies' season
Street allows three runs in ninth after Colorado's rally
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
Street gave up three runs in an alarming ninth-inning collapse that led to a 5-4 loss to the Phillies, which ended the Rockies' season in Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Monday evening.
After five minutes of sitting in front of his locker numb and disappointed, Street wanted to see the season unravel one more time.
"That's how I deal with it," Street said. "I don't want to wonder where was the pitch. I want to know exactly what happened."
It was an abrupt and cruel end to a season that saw the Rockies start out 18-28, catch fire after Jim Tracy replaced Clint Hurdle as manager to win a franchise-record 92 games, and earn their second playoff berth in three years.
After Jason Giambi tied the game with a pinch-hit RBI single and Yorvit Torrealba gave the Rockies a 4-2 lead with a two-run double in the bottom of the eighth, the series seemed headed back to Philadelphia for a deciding fifth game.
"Obviously we were a strike away from making a trip to Philadelphia, and who knows where from there, if we had been fortunate enough to get through Game 5," Tracy said. "But it didn't happen.
"We got beat by the defending world champions, and they did it in a fashion that, in my opinion, strongly suggests why they are the defending world champions."
By the end, a stunned crowd of 49,940 couldn't believe what it had seen -- failure by Street, who converted 35 of 37 save chances during the regular season, but went 0-2 in the NLDS with one save and one memorable blown save.
Ryan Howard tied it with a two-run double, and Jayson Werth -- who had homered earlier in the game -- delivered the RBI single that sent the defending World Series champion Phillies to the NL Championship Series against the Dodgers starting Thursday at Dodger Stadium.
The pitch Street needed to avoid the disappointment never occurred.
He struck out Greg Dobbs to open the ninth, saw Jimmy Rollins reach on an infield single despite a diving stop by second baseman Clint Barmes, and worked Shane Victorino into a fielder's choice grounder.
After going 2-2 on Chase Utley, Street missed with a fastball, then with a changeup -- a pitch he'd seen Utley strike out on earlier in the game. Then Howard ripped a 2-1 fastball to the base of the wall in right field.
"I've seen it ... God, it didn't feel good," said Street, the losing pitcher in Game 3, when a disputed umpire's call helped set up Howard for the deciding sacrifice fly. "The pitch to Howard, was it a good pitch? No, it wasn't my best pitch. It wasn't at the knees, painted, but it was down and it was out. He's a good hitter."
Howard said, "I hoped that he would make a mistake and leave something up over the middle, and just try to drive it and get a double."
Street then watched helplessly as Werth lofted a 2-2 slider into open grass in center for the go-ahead run.
"I take full responsibility for there not being a Game 5 and not keeping us alive, not giving the guys a chance," Street said. "We obviously proved throughout the season that we had a chance."
|Gm. 1||PHI 5, COL 1||Wrap||Video|
|Gm. 2||COL 5, PHI 4||Wrap||Video|
|Gm. 3||PHI 6, COL 5||Wrap||Video|
|Gm. 4||PHI 5, COL 4||Wrap||Video|
The Rockies managed just one run in the first seven innings against Phillies starter Cliff Lee -- despite having a runner in scoring position with one out in the first, sixth and seventh, and two on and two out in the fifth.
While the offense struggled, starter Ubaldo Jimenez nearly matched Lee, striking out seven in seven innings. Jimenez trailed, 2-1, because of his only mistakes among the six hits against him -- solo shots by Victorino in the first and Werth in the sixth.
That changed when Giambi singled with two out and two on against winning pitcher Ryan Madson to tie the game, and Torrealba doubled to center for the go-ahead runs. Instead of celebrating, the Rockies found themselves reaching out to Street. This time it didn't work out.
"I just went and told him, 'We'd want you up there tomorrow if we had a game tomorrow,'" Giambi said.
Torrealba, whose two-run homer in Game 2 keyed the Rockies' 5-4 victory, nearly was the game's star again. The Giambi and Torrealba hits were the only ones among 12 at-bats with runners in scoring position. The Rockies were 7-for-35 with runners in scoring position for the series, as opposed to 13-for-36 for the Phillies.
"It's tough, but we battled," Torrealba said. "We were like that all year long. We had our best reliever pitching out there. It's too bad things didn't work out the way we wanted."
The Rockies had one more chance in the bottom of the ninth.
Scott Eyre allowed singles to Carlos Gonzalez (10-for-17 for the series) with one out and Todd Helton with two outs. But Phillies closer and Denver-area native Brad Lidge, who has erased a regular season in which he blew 11 saves, struck out Troy Tulowitzki swinging. After seeing Tulowitzki just miss blasting a fastball but flying out to end Game 3, Lidge attacked Tulowitzki with five straight sliders.
"We thought we were going to pull this out and hop on a plane," Helton said. "It didn't work out, for whatever reason."
Helton and Tulowitzki were stalwarts as the No. 3 and No. 4 hitters during the regular season, but struggled in the NLDS. Helton went 1-for-4 Monday and 3-for-16 in the series. Tulowitzki went 4-for-16 with three RBIs. But other than his RBI double in the sixth off Lee, which cut the Phillies' lead to 2-1, big hits were lacking.
"You think you had the game in your hands, then they dropped three on you," Tulowitzki said. "But we had a chance in the ninth. That's all you can ask for."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.