08/19/10 4:00 AM ET
Rockies use 'D' to take down Dodgers
By Glenn Rabney / Special to MLB.com
"The rosin tonight was very nice and very sticky, so I couldn't actually let go of them," he said. "That made them about 50 feet and those are tough balls for Miguel [Olivo] to block so I kind of beat him up tonight."After giving up a run in each of the first two innings, Hammel, if he didn't quite find his grove, at least figured out how to fight his way through. "Hammel settled in and did a very adequate job for us," said Tracy. "He lost command of his fastball periodically, which helped to drive the pitch count up, but he did a great job in setting up our bullpen for the way we wanted." "The big thing was that when I had to make a pitch, I did, so that obviously kept us in it," Hammel said, then adding, "And then great defense." The defense was exceptional all night long, but the big play of the game was in the bottom of the sixth, when James Loney singled and Casey Blake drove Hammel's first pitch to the warning track, where Carlos Gonzalez, running at full speed, caught it just before crashing into the wall. Though he collapsed onto the ground, he managed to hold onto the ball for the third out. Gonzalez was on the ground for a few minutes before leaving the game under his own power. According to the medical staff, Gonzalez has a bruised knee, and while he will be out of Thursday's game, they believe that he will be available on Friday in Arizona. "We had an incredible catch in right field," Tracy said, "which as the game unfolded may have been the difference in the game." The Rockies scored twice in the first four innings, both times with Olivo driving in Seth Smith, so after four innings the score was 2-2. From that point on, it was as Tracy said, a grind, with Hammel and then the bullpen coming up with a big pitch when they needed it or being bailed out by outstanding defensive plays behind them. "There wasn't a whole lot going on offensively," Tracy observed. Finally in the 10th inning, the Rockies got the break they needed, and in a somewhat wild way. Dodgers pitcher Octavio Dotel took the mound, and after striking out Olivo to start the inning, Melvin Mora worked a somewhat questionable walk. "We might have caught a break in the Melvin Mora at-bat, that's definitely a possibility," Tracy admitted. After Eric Young Jr. struck out for the second out, Mora stole second base on another questionable call. "That's what I thought," Jamey Carroll said when told the replay showed Mora may have been out. "He called him safe." Then, with Dexter Fowler at the plate, Dotel threw a wild pitch, allowing Mora to advance to third. Fowler than walked and with Jason Giambi standing at the plate, Dotel uncorked another wild pitch, allowing the eventual winning run to score. Giambi was intentionally walked and yet another wild pitch put runners at second and third. When Troy Tulowitzki lined out to the shortstop to end the inning, it was the first ball of the frame that was put in play. Tracy had talked about trying to get into a position to score runs without base hits, but it's doubtful he was thinking about scoring them without even making contact with the ball. "We took advantage of a couple of walks and wild pitches to scratch a run," Tracy said. The grind was not over, however, as the Dodgers put the tying run on in the bottom of the inning on a single by Reed Johnson. With two outs, Podsednik dropped a ball in front of Fowler, who scrambled to recover the ball, and relayed it to shortstop Tulowitzki, who fired it home to get Johnson at the plate and secure the win. "He made a terrific play and had to make that type of throw and that accurate of a throw," said Tracy, "or Reed Johnson was going to score." Praising Tulowitzki's play, Tracy said, "That is a lethal throwing arm at shortstop, and I think if you had a choice of who you wanted to see make that throw in that situation from an arm-strength standpoint, the right guy made the throw." In two games in Los Angeles, Tracy has seen parts of his strategy play out. Players at the top getting on base and creating traffic on Tuesday, and being able to score runs without having to have a base hit on Wednesday. While neither was exactly what Tracy was hoping for, he'll be grateful for the win and the way the team fought it out.
Glenn Rabney is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.