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NL DIVISION SERIES / COLORADO 5, PHILADELPHIA 4

Rockies excel under pressure, tie series, 1-1

Colorado takes an early lead and holds on to end the Phillies' eight-game postseason home winning streak.

October 09, 2009|Stephen Miller

PHILADELPHIA — The Colorado Rockies have played under pressure most of this season.

Facing the reigning National League Championship Series and World Series most valuable player didn't trouble them at all.

Colorado touched Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels, last year's postseason star, for four runs and seven hits in the first five innings to take command Thursday at Citizens Bank Park. One more run against the Phillies' bullpen was enough for the Rockies to pull out a 5-4 win in Game 2 of this National League division series and even the best-of-five matchup.

Colorado couldn't exhale until closer Huston Street got Shane Victorino to line out to second with two on to end the game. When Clint Barmes snared the ball, the Rockies had done things no one could when the Phillies stormed to a world title last year.

In tying the series, 1-1, Colorado ended the Phillies' eight-game postseason winning streak at Citizens Bank Park. Philadelphia went 7-0 at home during last year's playoff run and beat Colorado in Wednesday's series opener.

The Rockies also handed Hamels his first playoff loss since 2007, when they beat him in Game 1 of an NLDS at Citizens Bank Park. The four runs and seven hits Hamels gave up were the most he's surrendered in any of his seven postseason starts. The five-inning outing was the shortest of his playoff career.

Excelling in a rough spot is nothing new for Colorado. The Rockies were buried in the standings in May but were 72-42 after Manager Jim Tracy replaced the fired Clint Hurdle.

"We like to play under pressure," said outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who had three of the Rockies' hits against Hamels and scored a first-inning run. "We've done it all year. This team is never going to give up."

Hamels, who threw at least six innings and gave up two or fewer runs in all five of his playoff starts last season, was gone from Citizens Bank Park before the game ended. His wife, Heidi, a former "Survivor" contestant, went into labor with the couple's first child during the game. Hamels did not learn his wife was in labor until after he was lifted with the Rockies leading 4-0, thanks in large part to Yorvit Torrealba's two-run homer in the fourth.

"I know he was concerned about his wife and probably his child too," Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel said. "I know it probably would have been on his mind, but at the same time, you'll have to ask him exactly."

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stephen.miller@mcall.com

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