|Jordan Pacheco launched his first career grand slam Friday night.|
Jordan Pacheco's first career grand slam propelled the Colorado Rockies over the San Francisco Giants at Coors Field on Friday night, ending a 10-game losing streak against their division rivals.
The Rockies fell behind early when former Rockie Marco Scutaro singled off of Jorge De La Rosa, and later scored on a sacrifice fly from Buster Posey. When the Giants added three more runs in the top of the 2nd inning, it looked like the Rockies were going to once again lose ground in the NL West.
Wilin Rosario gave Rockies fans hope when he led off the Rockies half of the 2nd inning with a single, and later scored on a ground ball from Jordan Pacheco. The Rockies showed off their speed in the 3rd inning, when Eric Young Jr. led off with an infield single and Dexter Fowler reached on a bunt. Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki added hard-hit singles to tie the game at 4.
The Rockies blew the game open in the bottom of the 5th when they loaded the bases for Jordan Pacheco. Pacheco turned on the first pitch that he saw, and launched a no-doubter into the bleachers in left field. The home run was the first of the season for the 27-year-old, and the first grand slam of his career.
Carlos Gonzalez added a solo home run in the 6th inning to extend the Rockies lead to 10-5.
A five run lead going into the 7th inning should have been safe, but someone forgot to tell the Rockies that you don't take a knee in baseball.
The Giants came roaring back in the 7th, sparked by a triple from Hunter Pence. With a 10-8 score in the 7th inning, and a man on 3rd base, Angel Pagan sent a line drive into the gap in right center field, only to be robbed of a hit by a diving Dexter Fowler.
The Giants added one more run in the 8th inning on a solo home run from Buster Posey.
Rafael Betancourt pitched a perfect 9th inning, striking out the side to close out the game.
While the Rockies came away with the victory, the performance was yet another reminder that something is missing at 20th & Blake. After blowing a six run lead on Thursday night, the Rockies allowed the Giants too many chances to beat them on Friday.
After losing 10 straight to the Giants, the Rockies should have come out on Friday with a chip on their shoulders, hungry for a victory. Nobody should have slept well last night. A streak like that against a division rival is embarrassing.
While the Rockies did battle back from an early deficit, it shouldn't be forgotten that the Giants committed four errors before the Rockies took the lead in the 5th inning. A major league baseball team that commits four errors before the 5th inning deserves to be blown out.
The competitive, never-let-up attitude that defines winning teams seems to have eluded the Rockies for years. Many speculated that it stemmed from Jim Tracy and his constant excuse making, but Tracy is no longer at the helm.
The Rockies need leaders on the field who drive them to win. Faithful Rockies fans watched as Troy Tulowitzki replaced Todd Helton as the team's leader, and hoped that his intensity and vocal style would spark a change in the Rockies culture. That hasn't happened.
The faces on the Rockies roster have changed, including manager Walt Weiss, but the problem remains the same - they simply do not have a culture driven to win baseball games. Two things have not changed in the years that this losing culture has existed: the ownership, and the fans. It's time to blame both.
The Rockies ownership has made some good moves over the years, and those moves have been pointed out in this blog. However, they seem to lack the singularity of purpose that marks winning ownership teams. An ownership group should hunt wins like a shark hunts blood in the water. Players should understand that when they sign with the Colorado Rockies, they are expected to win. That is not the culture here.
Last year, Jim Tracy seemed to speak for the front office when night after night he would talk about how the Rockies put a bunch of good guys on the field and asked them to try real hard, and then he would tip his cap to some other team's pitcher or lineup for pulling out a victory. Tracy is gone, but that mentality still seems to exist in the front office.
Although they are the easy target, the Monforts are not the only ones to blame. Colorado is home to some of the most casual baseball fans in the country - fans who will wear their Rockies hat with their Buster Posey jersey to a game against the Cubs. Where is the accountability for the ownership group, when they know that they can fill a stadium with fans who really don't care if the Rockies win or lose?
While there are die-hard Rockies fans out there - many of whom read this blog - many seem to care more about where in LoDo they are going to party after the game than who actually wins. The baseball intellect that is found in places like New York and Boston doesn't exist here.
While it can be argued that places like New York and Boston have established such strong fan bases after years of winning, it should also be noted that their fan bases contribute to their winning cultures. When things have gone badly in New York and Boston, the fans scream for change and the organization listens. The faster Rockies fans can evolve and start holding the ownership group responsible, the faster the culture here will change. Until then, no lead is safe at Coors Field.
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