David Zalubowski AP Photo
A member of the offense, starting rotation, and bullpen, all rookies, were the primary reasons the Rockies pulled out a 7-4 win in the series opener against the Rays. A three run seventh inning made it a close game, but the Rockies retaliated for two eighth inning runs to cushion the lead for the ninth inning.
Tampa Bay got on the board early against starter Tyler Anderson with Evan Longoria’s RBI triple. The Rockies did counter that with a first inning run of their own coming from an RBI double from Cargo. From there, Anderson settled down and the Rockies offense got fired up.
In the fourth inning with the game tied at 1-1, Drew Smyly ran into trouble by walking the first two batters of the inning. Mark Reynolds made him pay with a single up the middle, one of three hits on the day for Reynolds. Nick Hundley then hit a fly ball to center that drove in another run to give the Rockies a 3-1 lead.
The Rockies wouldn’t stop there and would drive two more runs in the following inning. Two quick outs made it look like it would be a quick inning, but a single by Cargo kept the Rockies alive. That was enough to give Trevor Story an at bat with a runner on and Story would do his part. With a 2-1 count, Story got an off speed pitch up in the zone that he would not miss. Story hit his 22nd home run of the year and earned his 58th and 59th RBIs of the year.
Tyler Anderson who had been cruising after allowing the first inning run, ran into some more trouble in the seventh. A walk to start the inning allowed Tim Beckham to drive in a run on a triple. A single and a double would allow to more runs to cross and the Rockies four run lead shrunk to a one run lead. Anderson would end the night with recording one out in the seventh, but it was far from a bad start. 3 walks and only 3 strikeouts made it Anderson’s worst start, but it was still plenty good and the bullpen made sure to earn him a win.
Adam Ottavino came in with one out in the seventh and a runner at second. With Logan Forsythe at the plate, Nick Franklin stole third base. That spelled trouble as there were lots of ways for him to score with less than two outs. But Ottavino kept his cool and got the next two batters out on a strike out and ground out to end the threat and inning.
The Rockies ran into another close situation in the next inning. Longoria tripled with nobody out for his second triple of the game (and year) and the Rays had three chances to drive him in. With Jason Motte, a righty, on the mound, the Rays sent ex-Rockie Corey Dickerson to the plate. Dickerson has not been that great hitting for average this year and his average would not go up on Monday. Motte got Dickerson to strike out swinging to get the first out. Logan Morrison would then strike out looking to earn the second out of the inning. Jason Motte then struck out Steven Souza Jr. to finish the inning and keep the Rockies lead alive. It was a clutch inning for Motte after allowing the lead off triple and exactly what the Rockies needed.
Two runs for the Rockies would cross in the eighth to increase their lead and give Carlos Estevez a more comfortable lead to work with. Estevez wouldn’t need it and even though he gave up a leadoff walk, he got the next three batters without any trouble and closed it out earning his sixth save of the year.
The three rookies Story, Anderson, and Estevez carried the Rockies to the win and a sweep is something that the Rockies can certainly pull out. Earning all the wins they can through these next six games will help with a tough road trip coming up. Blake Snell will face Tyler Chatwood in a game that could make for the rubber match on Wednesday.