Published August 02, 2012
DENVER – As a rule, Colorado Rockies reliever Matt Belisle gives up few home runs. He allowed five in 72 innings last year and one in his first 52 innings this season.
But Belisle has yielded home runs in his past two appearances, including a particularly costly one Wednesday night when the Rockies lost 9-6 to the St. Louis Cardinals. Belisle (3-3) gave up a three-run shot to Matt Holliday on the second pitch he threw that put the Cardinals ahead 6-5.
After a rain delay of 1 hour, 26 minutes at the end of the seventh, the Cardinals scored a run in the eighth when Matt Reynolds completed a walk with a wild pitch and added two more runs in the ninth off Carlos Torres to send the Rockies to their fifth straight loss and their seventh in a row at home. The Rockies have lost eight of their past nine games and are 4-13 since the All-Star break.
Holliday homered twice, giving him 21 for the season, and tied his season high with five RBIs. He went 3-for-4 and is 13-for-24 against Colorado this year. Rockies rookie Josh Rutledge had his fourth straight multihit game and his fourth homer of the season. Jake Westbrook (10-8) pitched six innings, giving up four runs in the sixth when the Rockies went ahead 5-3 with a barrage of five extra-base hits.
The first four came in succession to start the inning. The final one ended it. Eric Young Jr. hit a run-scoring double that gave the Rockies a 5-3 lead. But Young tried to stretch the hit into a triple. He never got a signal to slide from third base coach Rich Dauer and was tagged out waist-high by third baseman David Freese after a strong relay throw by second baseman Tyler Greene.
"Anytime there's any question marks, it's on me," Young said. "I should slide."
Manager Jim Tracy said, "We got to where we needed to get to in the game and they got our better guys. That's what it boils down to."
Rex Brothers took the mound in the seventh and walked pinch-hitter Skip Schumaker to begin the inning. Left-handed hitting David Descalso singled off the left-handed Brothers, and after he struck out Allen Craig, Belisle came on to face Holliday.
He drove Belisle's 1-0 fastball an estimated 452 feet into the left-field stands.
"We were just going inside fastball and he was ready," Belisle said. "Right now, he's hitting everything well, but you still have to execute pitches. If I had to do it over again, (i) still feel real confident with going inside with a heater but just maybe stay inside a little more."
Holliday's first homer came in the first, a two-run opposite-field shot off Drew Pomeranz, who gave up three runs in four innings.
"I definitely feel like it wasn't that bad of a pitch, especially the way I was battling him," Pomeranz said. "I threw him a 3-2 curveball, and he was all over it."
The Rockies rally in the sixth spared Pomeranz from possibly losing for the fourth straight start. He gave up a run in the second on doubles by Yadier Molina, who had three hits, and Greene. Left fielder Carlos Gonzalez reached over reached over the fence to rob Greene of a home run. The ball popped out of Gonzalez's glove into the outfield. Umpires upheld the double call after a 50-second video review.
"I really didn't have my best stuff," Pomeranz said. "I got to learn to pitch on days like today."
Gonzalez went hitless in four at-bats and walked once, ending his streak of hitting safely in 29 consecutive home games. He fell one shy of tying the franchise record set by Larry Walker, who had a 30-game home hitting streak in 2002.
For Belisle, the blown save was his fifth of the season. He allowed his first homer of the season on April 24 at Pittsburgh to Clint Barmes and his second on Saturday to Cincinnati's Eric Ludwick. Neither one wiped out a Rockies lead as did Holliday's blast.
"I just pride myself on preparing myself for big pitches in big situations," Belisle said. "This one is extremely hard to swallow. and I take it completely on my shoulders for this loss."
NOTES: Rockies 1B Todd Helton (flulike symptoms) and OF Michael Cuddyer (sore oblique) were out of the lineup. ... Alex White (2-6) will be recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs to start the series finale for the Rockies against Lance Lynn (13-4). ... The Cardinals activated RHP Edward Mujica and optioned RHP Trevor Rosenthal to Triple-A Memphis. Mujica was acquired from the Miami Marlins on Tuesday. ... Freese extended his hitting streak to 12 games. ... The Rockies activated C Wil Nieves from the 15-day DL and designated him for assignment.