Holliday delivers crowd-pleaser
Spurred by fans, slugger strokes bases-clearing double
DENVER -- Matt Holliday breathed life back into Coors Field with one towering swing Saturday night.
With 42,282 fans begging for something magical, Holliday delivered a three-run double off the right-field wall in the seventh inning to cap the Rockies' 7-6 comeback win over the Reds.
It was the third time in the past two games Holliday came to the plate with the bases loaded. He popped out in that situation on Friday and hit a weak ground ball to second in the second inning Saturday.
This time, he came through. Reliever Nick Masset's first pitch was high and away, and Holliday creamed it.
"I was looking for something to handle, just trying to be a little more aggressive and try to take thinking out of it," Holliday said.
Reds manager Dusty Baker knew his team had been playing with fire the past two days.
"Any time you keep messing with Matt Holliday -- especially with the bases loaded -- sooner or later, he'll get you," Baker said.
Brad Hawpe singled home Holliday to extend the Rockies' lead to 7-5. When Brian Fuentes worked around a walk in the ninth to pick up his 25th save of the season, the large crowd erupted.
It was an overdue celebration. The Rockies were just 3-8 in the past 11 home games before Saturday night.
"The fans have been outstanding from Opening Day," manager Clint Hurdle said. "It hasn't been easy, but they've been out there and showed great support."
Pitchers Aaron Cook and Edinson Volquez entered the game tied for second in the National League with 15 wins, but neither factored in Saturday's decision.
Cook, who has been struggling the past few weeks with fatigue and lower back stiffness, grinded through another rough game, giving up four runs (three earned) on eight hits in five innings.
He gave up a run and left runners at first and second with no outs in the fifth when Hurdle signaled for Luis Vizcaino. Vizcaino (1-0) got out of the jam in grand style, striking out three straight batters to end the inning.
"He's in the best place he's been all season," Hurdle said of the right-handed reliever. "That was a big inning for us to stop right there."
Down, 1-0, in the second inning, Cook pulled a surprise bunt that scored two runs. Caught off guard, Reds catcher Paul Bako threw the ball into right field, allowing Ian Stewart and Jeff Baker to score.
"I looked down at third base and saw the third baseman was back and figured my best shot was to lay down a bunt," Cook said. "I made something happen right there."
So did Holliday, who used the energy from the crowd to fuel his go-ahead double.
"It gets your adrenaline going a little bit," Holliday said. "You want to do something to help the team in that situation, get the crowd going and try to get a win."
Jeff Birnbaum is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.