Late rally forces Wild Card showdown
Hawpe's three RBIs set up one-game playoff with Padres
DENVER -- Coors Field rocked just for Brad Hawpe on Sunday afternoon, yet he stood steady at second base with nary a yelp or a clap.Hawpe had just smashed a two-run double in the eighth inning to give the Rockies a lead of three runs, all of which they'd need en route to a 4-3 victory over the Diamondbacks that kept playoff hope alive. Hawpe, who also knocked an RBI double earlier in the game, had no time to celebrate. "The game's still not over," said Hawpe, who witnessed closer Manny Corpas give up two ninth-inning runs but ended it himself with a standout defensive play. "We're still playing. We're still battling." This battle needs an extra game, No. 163. The victory -- the Rockies' 13th in 14 games -- in front of 46,375, coupled with the Padres' 11-6 loss to the Brewers, forged a tie for the National League Wild Card. The Padres and Rockies will meet at Coors Field on Monday at 5:37 p.m. MT. The winner will face the NL East champion Phillies on Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park in the Division Series. The Rockies' late surge gave them a one-game shot at their second playoff trip in their 15-year history and their first since 1995. Accomplishing that against the tough Diamondbacks while also scoreboard watching bordered on indescribable. Well, it crossed that border for manager Clint Hurdle, who announced right-hander Josh Fogg (10-9, 4.79 ERA) as Monday's starting pitcher against the Padres' Jake Peavy (19-6, 2.36) and ended his postgame press conference by saying the players could do a better job discussing the success. D-backs manager Bob Melvin did just fine, saying, "Whether it's close games, whether it's games where they swing the bat real well, they seem to find a way to win games." The Rockies' Matt Holliday went 1-for-3 to leave his batting average at .340, three points ahead of the Braves' Chipper Jones in the NL batting title race. Holliday, however, fell out of the NL RBI lead on Sunday. His 135 stand one behind the Phillies' Ryan Howard, but Monday's game counts toward the regular season, so both marks will be on the line. But Holliday has other concerns. "It's hard to believe we've won 13 out of 14 and we're still not in, but that's just the way it shook out," Holliday said. "The Padres and all the other teams have played great. Here we are with a chance." The Rockies weren't sure what chance they had when the game started. The Padres grabbed a 3-0 lead over the Brewers. But as the game progressed, fans following on radio or electronic devices would let out loud cheers at times not congruent with the action on the field. Between at-bats, the out-of-town scoreboard would change, explaining the noise. Fans also could rejoice over 22-year-old starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who held the D-backs to one run and didn't give up his first and only hit until 5 1/3 innings were in the books. But Yusmeiro Petit held the Rockies scoreless on four hits through five innings, largely contributing to Jimenez settling for a no-decision. Lefty reliever Brian Fuentes (3-5) entered in the seventh with two on after Jorge Julio had given up a game-tying Carlos Quentin single with one out. Fuentes fanned Conor Jackson and Jeff Cirillo to end the threat, then pitched around two walks by striking out two more in a scoreless eighth. Troy Tulowitzki walked and Holliday singled off Dustin Nippert (1-1) to open the eighth before the "F," for "final," went up beside the Brewers-Padres score. Then Todd Helton drew a walk from Bill Murphy to load the bases, and Hawpe added his two-run double into the right-field corner. "It was tough to see," Helton said, referring to late-afternoon shadows -- which could be a factor on Monday. "He's coming through in the clutch. We needed every one of those runs, right there." Corpas gave up a Miguel Montero infield hit and a Quentin double to put two on in the ninth. Corpas would yield Jackson's sacrifice fly and a two-out Alberto Callaspo RBI single before racing off the mound to field Stephen Drew's infield dribbler and firing to first, where Helton gloved it and leaped in jubilation before first-base umpire Joe Wolf signed the final out. "I was watching the umpire," Hawpe said. "Then I saw Todd jumping around and said, 'That's it. Todd knows.'"
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Owen Perkins contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.