DENVER – Troy Tulowitzki lined a fastball into center field off James McDonald with one out and the bases loaded in the 10th inning to give the Colorado Rockies a wild, 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the opener of a crucial three-game series Tuesday night.
Matt Herges (1-0) picked up the win with a perfect 10th as the Rockies, who trailed the Dodgers by 151/2 games on June 3, sliced L.A.’s lead in the NL West to just two games.
Colorado (72-54), the NL wild card leader, moved 18 games over .500 for the first time in Rockies history, besting the 90-73 mark they had after beating San Diego in the one-game playoff on their way to the 2007 NL pennant.
McDonald (3-3) walked Ian Stewart leading off the 10th before Carlos Gonzalez, who can’t swing the bat because of a deep cut in his right hand, bunted his way aboard. First baseman James Loney’s error on the play allowed Stewart to go to third.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
After Gonzalez took second base on defensive indifference, Omar Quintanilla struck out and Todd Helton was intentionally walked to load the bases and bring up Tulowitzki. He lined the first pitch he saw into center, giving Colorado its second straight extra-inning win.
With NL saves co-leader Huston Street unavailable, the Rockies sent Rafael Betancourt to the mound in the ninth to preserve a 4-2 lead. But he allowed a sacrifice fly to Matt Kemp before Manny Ramirez sliced a two-out, 0-2 pitch from rookie Matt Daley into right field to score Rafael Furcal from third, tying it at 4.
Loney then reached on a two-base error by third baseman Stewart and the Rockies intentionally walked Casey Blake to load the bases before Russell Martin flied out to center.
Brad Hawpe and Clint Barmes homered for the Rockies, who got a solid seven innings from Jason Hammel (two earned runs on eight hits) in outdueling Clayton Kershaw, who allowed two runs on four hits in 6 innings.
Blake hit a solo shot in the fourth for Los Angeles, his 16th homer, giving the Dodgers an early 2-0 lead. Hawpe tied it with a two- run homer, his 18th, in the bottom of the inning.
Barmes’ 20th homer came off Ronald Belisario in the seventh, and the Rockies added a run in the eighth on Tulowitzki’s RBI double off Hong-Chih Kuo. Helton was thrown out at the plate trying to score on the play.