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CWS@COL: Wigginton, Tulo combine to win it in 13th

DENVER -- On a hot summer Tuesday night that seemed tailor-made for the long ball, the Rockies opened a six-game homestand eager to improve on a .500 record at Coors Field and solidify their standing in the National League West.

But any thoughts of bombarding Blake Street with an offensive onslaught where quelled when a pitchers' duel broke out and the White Sox took a stalemate into extra innings.

Enter Ty Wigginton, fresh from a five-homer road trip, who dropped a bloop single into shallow center field off Will Ohman with two outs in the 13th. Troy Tulowitzki raced home all the way from first as the Rockies' dugout stormed the field and the remnants of 40,175 fans celebrated Colorado's 3-2 win.

"I don't think anybody hits a blooper to center field and expects somebody to score [from first]," Wigginton said. "That's all Tulo playing the game the right way and hustling around, and [third-base coach] Richie Dauer going for it. That's awesome."

Ohman was the fifth White Sox pitcher of the night, and Wigginton's run-scoring single ended a string of six shutout innings from Chicago pitchers.

"Bottom line, I battled him, he battled me," Ohman said. "I threw a good pitch in that situation. It drops in. Game over."

Matt Belilse, Huston Street, Matt Reynolds, Rafael Betancourt, Matt Lindstrom and Rex Brothers each pitched scoreless innings of relief, with the rookie Brothers posting his fifth consecutive scoreless appearance to earn his first career win.

"That was fun. A good win for us," the 23-year-old Brothers said.

His approach in the 13th -- the first time he'd been in a game that late since college -- was to "Do what everybody else did. Keep it there and give us a chance to win."

The win epitomized the Rockies' season. They hang close and wait for their chance to erupt, taking contributions from every corner of the roster.

"It's unbelievable," said center fielder Carlos Gonzalez. "We did it so many times last year. We won so many games at the end of the day. And this year it's been difficult for us to get a walk-off win. Hopefully this is only the beginning. We still have a lot of games at home. We still have to play really good baseball at home, because that's what's going to take us to the next level."

The Rockies had one pitcher left in the 'pen and two bats on their bench when they clinched their first extra-inning victory in five tries and their first walk-off win of the season.

With Tulowitzki gunning hard from first, "walk" hardly seemed to fit the occasion. He may not be known for his blinding speed, but he showed his baseball savvy and determination on the play.

"Troy's effort and Richie Dauer's decision making, that's obviously the game right there," said manager Jim Tracy. "Tulo took nothing for granted and ran hard from the time he started when the ball got hit. From what I saw, he went to another gear, and Richie saw the same thing. Obviously, let's go for it, because it's getting late and we're running low on arms."

Chicago struck first when Alexei Ramirez smoked a no-doubter into the left-center-field seats off a Jason Hammel fastball. Hammel had a solid outing, throwing seven innings of six-hit ball and holding the White Sox to a pair of runs while waiting for his own offense to arrive.

"What Hammel did was absolutely tremendous," Tracy said. "He made the one mistake to Alexei Ramirez, and beyond that, he pitched the game plan about as well as you could."

After managing just one hit in the first 3 2/3 innings -- a leadoff single from Gonzalez -- the Rockies tied the score in the fourth. Todd Helton hit a two-out single the opposite way to left, advancing when Tulowitzki was walked and scoring on a Seth Smith single to left. Left fielder Juan Pierre robbed the Rockies of at least one more run with a diving catch on Wigginton's flare to end the inning.

Hammel struggled in the fifth, walking opposing starter Gavin Floyd -- who completed seven innings of his own -- to set up an RBI double to right from Pierre. Hammel walked the bases loaded with one out before inducing Carlos Quentin into an inning-ending double-play grounder to Tulowitzki.

"Both the double-play balls were huge," Hammel said of the way his defense got him out of a pair of jams, helping him keep to 82 pitches in seven innings. "Other than that, I was able to get ahead tonight. They were aggressive very, very early, putting balls in play on the first or second pitch, and that's why my pitch count was so low after four or five innings. They really helped me out there."

The Rockies rallied in the sixth, with Chris Nelson breaking his 1-for-18 stretch at the plate with a single to left. After a deep foul ball that just missed being stamped for a homer, Helton drew a walk, and after a fielder's choice grounder by Tulowitzki, Smith plated Nelson with a sacrifice fly to center, driving in the tying run for the second time in as many at-bats. Smith is 5-for-5 with runners in scoring position over the past eight days.

"I can't remember the last time we had a walk-off win, but this was fun," Hammel said. "We should do this more often." Comments