Tulowitzki drives in winner in 10th
Single ends longest scoreless game in Coors Field history
DENVER -- Rockies manager Clint Hurdle insisted before Sunday's game that his team was not going to roll over just because it no longer had playoff aspirations.
His words held true after Troy Tulowitzki delivered the game-winning hit in the bottom of the 10th inning to beat the Dodgers, 1-0, in the longest scoreless game in Coors Field history.
"It was the kind of the game that's good to take your kids to when you're trying to teach them how to play the game," Hurdle said.
The Rockies managed just six hits, and four of them came off Dodgers reliever Hong-Chih Kuo (5-3) in the 10th. Matt Holliday led off with a single to left, and Garrett Atkins lined a single in the same direction to move Holliday to second. Ryan Spilborghs then hit a shallow single just beyond Matt Kemp's reach in right to load the bases.
That set the stage for Tulowitzki, who ended Colorado's seven-game losing streak by lining a sharp single to right to score Holliday.
"It's definitely a big win for our confidence," Tulowitzki said. "It showed that we still have some fight in us and not just throwing it all away and giving up."
It was a familiar scene for Tulowitzki, who delivered the walk-off double in the Rockies' 2-1, 22-inning win at San Diego in April.
"I hadn't thought about that at all," he said. "But I guess any time you you're in a game and it's a win for your team it's an exciting moment."
Tulowitzki's opportunity on Sunday was made possible by Aaron Cook, who continued his dominance over the Dodgers by throwing eight shutout innings. The sinkerball pitcher displayed pinpoint accuracy, forcing 17 ground-ball outs and two double plays. Cook has induced opponents into 28 double plays, which leads the National League.
He faced a hint of trouble in the second and eighth, when the Dodgers had runners on first and second with two outs, but he calmly evaded harm but forcing two harmless groundouts.
"I felt pretty comfortable out there today," said Cook, who is 2-0 with a 1.14 ERA against Los Angles this season. "I wasn't trying to do much mechanically, just try to stay within myself and execute pitches."
Cook had been inconsistent much of the second half, going 5-3 with a 5.55 ERA, but he reverted back to his All-Star form after posting his longest outing since July 25, when he went eight innings at Cincinnati.
"Our guy was special today," Hurdle said. "I'm very proud of Aaron Cook -- the way he was able to bounce back."
As good as Cook was, Dodgers pitcher Greg Maddux was every bit his equal, denying Cook of his 17th win, which would have tied the single-season franchise high.
Maddux, who has four Cy Young Awards on his resume, pitched like he was in his prime Sunday, surrendering just two hits in seven innings. He allowed only one batter to reach scoring position -- Clint Barmes in the seventh -- and threw just 68 pitches, 48 of which were strikes.
Maddux has been nearly untouchable in his past two starts at Coors Field. He gave up just two runs in six innings the last time he was here (Aug. 9) as a member of the Padres.
"When you're going through it, you're sitting in a dentist chair," Hurdle said. "It seems like he's throwing half a baseball up there sometimes. The late movement, the location he gets to, he can do things with the ball that are very, very special."
But the Rockies stayed in the game, thanks to phenomenal team pitching and a couple outstanding defensive plays. Ian Stewart made a diving stab at third and threw out Kemp from the seat of his pants in the third, and Clint Barmes robbed Manny Ramirez of a base hit in the sixth.
The bullpen, which had struggled of late, continued to shut down the Dodgers once Cook exited. Brian Fuentes pitched a scoreless ninth, and Manuel Corpas retired three straight in the 10th to earn the win.
It was a win that was sorely needed for a group of men who take pride in the way they play.
"Nobody wants to throw the season away," Cook said. "We're all going to come out and try our best."
Jeff Birnbaum is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.