Tulowitzki comes through in clutch win
Shortstop ties game with solo shot, hits go-ahead double
DENVER -- The Rockies live in the moment, insisting no game -- or series or pitch or at-bat -- is bigger than the present. But rookie Troy Tulowitzki freely acknowledges special situations.
Then again, he is special when it matters most.
Tulowitzki homered in the fifth inning to tie Sunday afternoon's game, then knocked a bases-loaded, two-run double in the sixth to power the Rockies to a 6-3 victory over the Cubs at Coors Field before 39,176.
Tulowitzki's double off Kerry Wood (0-1) marked the 13th time that his hit has put the Rockies ahead in games.
"There are definitely bigger games than others," said Tulowitzki, whose solo shot off Cubs starter Sean Marshall was his 15th homer of the season.
How big was Sunday?
The Rockies won the last two to split a four-game series, and are undefeated in the last 10 home series. They also remained two games back of the National League Wild Card-leading Padres, against whom they open a three-game series on Tuesday night, picked up a game on the division-leading Diamondbacks, who lost to the Nationals.
Downplaying potentially stressful conditions works for the Rockies, who are a season-best five games above .500 (61-56) for the second time.
But after the Rockies dropped the first two against the Cubs, Tulowitzki went 4-for-5 Saturday night and acknowledged, "This is big." He came up big again Sunday. For the six-game homestand, he batted .500 (14-for-28) as the Rockies went 5-1.
"I've played in a lot of big games -- not at the professional level or the big-league level -- but growing up I was always in championship games and stuff like that," he said. "I think that process has definitely helped me deal with these situations."
With the score 3-3, Wood walked Geronimo Gil, gave up highly touted Ian Stewart's first Major League hit, a double, and intentionally walked Kazuo Matsui.
Tulowitzki took two balls and passed on a 93-mph fastball for a strike, then crushed Wood's next fastball to the right-field corner.
Wood, making his fourth appearance of the season after spending nearly 14 months on the disabled list, also embraced the situation. Only he was left needing a hug, while Tulowitzki was pumping his fist at second, basking in the love of the home crowd.
"I think we all want to be in that situation." Wood said. "But again, when you come in and you're behind in the count, it makes your job a lot tougher."
The Rockies' bullpen carried the weight for emergency starter Tim Harikkala, who had spent most of this season pitching in Korea and made his first Major League appearance since June 2005.
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Harikkala gave up nine hits but held the Cubs to three runs in 3 1/3 innings, and had his first Major League hit and RBI -- a second-inning infield single to drive in Clint Barmes, who had doubled in a run.
After the game, Harikkala was designated for assignment to make room for three-time All-Star reliever Brian Fuentes, provided he feels good after pitching for Triple-A Colorado Springs on Sunday. Harikkala is a candidate for the Rockies' bullpen, however.
Matt Herges (1-0) entered with two on in the fourth and forced Jacque Jones -- who went 9-for-18 in the series -- into a double-play grounder to begin his 2 2/3 perfect innings.
LaTroy Hawkins and Jorge Julio were perfect for an inning apiece, and Manny Corpas pitched around a one-out walk in the ninth for his ninth save in as many chances.
"Almost perfect ... all of them showed up big," manager Clint Hurdle said.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.