|Corey Dickerson was the hero on Thursday.|
This year they haven't quit. They certainly have lost their fair share of games where the offense didn't show up, or the pitcher hasn't performed. Most years at this time though, the Rockies are mired in a mode where it almost seems like they aren't even trying to win.
On Thursday at Coors Field, the Rockies could have been thinking about their night away from the ballpark. They could have showed up to the park with the intent of getting the game done as fast as possible, then spending a night free of baseball, able to do whatever they wanted. Instead, they played a tough game. They didn't give in to a good Cardinals team and they were rewarded with a 15-inning walk-off win.
Rob Scahill, who shuttled back-and-forth between Colorado Springs and Denver worked out of a one-out bases loaded jam by getting Pete Kozma to chop into a double play to end the inning in the top of the 15th after about 4-1/2 hours of baseball. In the bottom half of the inning, Rockies rookie Corey Dickerson continued showing promise at the plate, connecting on his second triple of the game, which scored DJ LeMahieu from first base, giving the Rockies fans, as well as many baseball fans in both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati reason to cheer.
The rally wouldn't have happened if it weren't for the man of the month, and certainly the man of the homestand. A night after striking out with the winning run in scoring position to end the game, Todd Helton exacted revenge on Cardinals closer Edward Mujica. On a one-strike, 84 MPH slider, Helton launched the 368th, and perhaps final, home run of his career into the Rockies bullpen to tie the game at six.
Much like Billy Chapel's character in "For Love of the Game," Helton is seeming to really take in his final few times at the plate. With a phenomenal career coming to an end, the Rockies first legend is playing the game like a kid again. There was no more evidence of that then in the 1st inning when Helton received a pick-off attempt from Roy Oswalt, faked a throw back to the mound, and quickly slapped a tag on Matt Carpenter when he wandered off of the bag.
Helton's final days have been sentimental to say the least. In his final month Helton has notched his 2,500th hit. He has moved up three spots on the all-time doubles list, and with two more RBIs he will be at 1,400 for his career. One more run also puts him at an even 1,400 for his career in that category as well. A normally even-keeled Helton seemed to take in his home run, knowing it might be the last time he rounds the bases.
On Thursday the Rockies got contributions from Dickerson, whose 3-for-7 day vaulted his average to .289 and gave him his first walk-off hit of his career. The long innings also made Charlie Blackmon's four hit day an afterthought. At one point Blackmon had a chance to put up a five hit day before the game had gone to extra innings. Blackmon has been good enough to make Rockies fans think seriously about his ability to play first base and if he could be a viable option with Helton out of the picture.
The Rockies have had plenty of days where they didn't show up, but Thursday was a slight glimmer of hope for the future. The past two seasons, this was the type of game, late in September, that the Rockies never would have won. They would have looked more and more frustrated, not that they weren't able to win the game, but that the game was dragging on as long as it did. On Thursday, they fought hard until they walked away with a win.
It won't be long until there is no more baseball in Denver for 2013 and Coors Field becomes a quiet place. The offseason will bring many questions, and perhaps some hope to Rockies fans. However, it seems slightly refreshing to see this group of young players, and one old veteran, continuing the fight until the final pitch is thrown.
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