Rockies stun Cardinals with nine in 9th, win 12-9

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It was an inning for the ages. Down 9-3, the Rockies came through with nine runs against Dennys Reyes and Ryan Franklin to beat the Cardinals on Tuesday night.
The inning started innocently enough. Miguel Olivo singled to open it against Reyes, but Seth Smith followed with a lineout. Another single and a walk followed, with Olivo scoring on a passed ball on the walk.
That led to Franklin, the Cardinals’ closer, being brought into a 9-4 game. It seemed like the safe play, what with Franklin sporting a 2.16 ERA on the year and not having worked in four days.
The Rockies, though, weren’t about to go quietly. Chris Iannetta immediately hit a three-run bomb. It was just the second homer surrendered by Franklin this year and the fourth in 94 1/3 innings since the beginning of 2009.
With the score 9-7, but the bases again empty, the Cardinals still had to be feeling pretty confident. However, Dexter Fowler doubled to start another rally. After a Brad Hawpe groundout, Carlos Gonzalez singled in Fowler from third. 9-8.
After that, it was Jason Giambi’s turn. He lined a ball to right that should have put runners on the corners. No one told Gonzalez that, though. With Randy Winn playing an inch in front of the wall in right, he raced all of the way around to score from first on a single. 9-9.
Giambi was removed for a pinch-runner. In this case, pitcher Aaron Cook. Olivo came up for the second time in the inning and delivered his second single. That gave Smith another chance, and the guy who made the first out of the inning launched a walkoff homer. 12-9 Rockies.
It was the largest ninth-inning comeback in Rockies history, and it left Colorado and St. Louis with identical 45-38 records this season.
Give a ton of credit to Iannetta, who has managed to stay sharp despite limited action of late. The Rockies are usually loathe to use their backup catcher off the bench, so Iannetta had played just once this month. He entered tonight’s game as a pinch-hitter, played an inning of third base for just the second time in his career and then hit his fifth homer of the year in his second at-bat. He’s homered in three of his last five appearances.

Battle of the Aces: Max Scherzer takes on Clayton Kershaw tonight

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I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.

Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.

This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.

Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.