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How the Rockies Took Back the Wild-Card Lead

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giambi-jasonThe Rockies pulled out of a five-game nosedive last night during an odd game at Coors Field, beating the New York Mets 8-3.

Six rows up from third base, it felt like the entire stadium was blanketed by smoke, creating a hot and sticky sensation reminiscent of rural Nebraska.

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And the Rockies finally got the bats going again, demoralizing Mets pitcher Mike Pelfrey for seven runs in four innings, notes The Denver Post, which points out that the Rockies had been hitting an abysmal .250 and struck out an average of 10 times per night over the past 16 games, a key reason they squandered a four-game lead over the San Francisco Giants in the National League wild-card chase.

The win, combined with the Giants’ loss in Philly, puts the Rockies back in the wild-card lead by one game. Rockies pitcher Jorge De La Rosa was shaky early, but bounced back to earn his 13th win of the season (via Purple Row). The Dodgers won over the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks, so the Rox are still five-and-a-half games out of the division lead (via MLB.com).

Perhaps the oddest moment of the night was when Rockies relief pitcher Matt Daley came up to hit in the bottom of the 7th inning. From our seats, Daley looked as if he’d gained a hundred pounds. Turns out it was slugger Jason Giambi, making his Rockies debut a few weeks after the Oakland A’s dumped him and his lackluster numbers (via Yahoo! Sports).

The Post writes that Giambi (pictured) was greeted “warmly,” but that’s an understatement. Nearly half the fans in attendance gave Giambi a standing ovation—only the two home runs earlier in the game received a louder cheer. Giambi stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and calmly took four off-target pitches. The man walked in a run his first at-bat for the Rockies without even hitting the ball. Let’s hope this is a sign of good things to come.

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