Carroll, late runs lift Rox to rout of Cubs
Sixth-inning grand slam leads to 13 runs over last three frames
DENVER -- The Rockies' Jamey Carroll dashed the bases Saturday night, almost as if he were trying to sneak back to the dugout before the Cubs really noticed that he turns into a power hitter only against them.
But that wasn't why he sprinted out his first career grand slam, a pinch-hit shot off Rich Hill to break a sixth-inning tie and power the Rockies' 15-2 victory at Coors Field in front of 48,095.
Both of Carroll's home runs this year and his last homer of last season, in his last game, came against the Cubs. But those three represent one-third of his total in 543 career games. A guy like that sprints because he's never sure.
"It was definitely an exhilarating moment," Carroll said. "I was running hard because I didn't know what the heck was going to happen. I didn't know if it was caught or what. Then I was like, 'No reason to slow down now.'"
The Rockies can't.
The club-record sixth grand slam for the season helped the Rockies move back into a third-place tie with the Dodgers in the National League West, 5 1/2 games behind the first-place Diamondbacks. The Rockies are two games behind the Padres in the Wild Card race.
The Rockies had lost all five games against the Cubs this season, but can earn a split of this four-game series with a victory on Sunday afternoon. The Rockies also will be trying to extend their streak of series without a loss at Coors to 10.
Carroll's big night helped put the Rockies in such a positive position.
One swing gave Carroll a single-game high for RBIs. With two out and bases loaded in the seventh, his leaping grab and throw on Matt Murton's high chopper prevented runs in what was a 7-2 game.
Fortune smiled after the game, when the official scorer removed a ninth-inning error originally pinned on Carroll.
Troy Tulowitzki went 4-for-5 with an RBI -- his third in the last two games. Brad Hawpe, who often sits against left-handed starters, but started Saturday against the left-handed Hill (6-7), made up for three straight strikeouts against the Cubs' starter by knocking a two-run shot off righty reliever Sean Gallagher in the seventh.
But the usually unheralded Carroll took center stage.
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Carroll's batting average for the season is .232, but he has hit safely in eight of his last 13 games with an at-bat. With nagging injuries to first baseman Todd Helton (back spasms) and center fielder Willy Taveras (right quadriceps) and with Jeff Baker on the disabled list (concussion), the Rockies welcome a hot streak from Carroll -- who hit .300 in 136 games last year.
"He's a very good baseball player," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "As I've said before, he's the kind of player you want to bring your kid to the game and watch him play and say, 'Hey, watch that Carroll kid.'"
The crowd watched Rockies starter Josh Fogg (7-7) labor through a 37-pitch first inning during which he walked in a run. But Fogg gave up just one other run in six innings, gave up five hits and struck out five for his sixth win in his last eight decisions.
"It's blue-collar when Josh goes out there," Hurdle said. "He's not going to light up the [radar] gun, and you don't see a lot of guys shaking their heads. But he can get outs, and he stays within his skill set very well."
Power-hitting third baseman Ian Stewart, the Rockies' top Draft pick in 2003, made his anticipated debut at third base and went 0-for-2 but was hit on the helmet by a Hill pitch before Carroll's homer. Stewart was not injured.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.