for this game

Torrealba, Rockies build commanding NLCS lead

Oct 15, 2007 - 5:33 AM DENVER (Ticker) -- It looked like another long night in the National League Championship Series until Yorvit Torrealba sent a bomb through the rain drops.

Torrealba broke up a pitchers duel with a three-run blast in the sixth inning to lead the Colorado Rockies to a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game Three of the NLCS.

Josh Fogg tossed six strong innings to notch his second win of the postseason for the Rockies, who have won 20 of their last 21 games overall and have built up a three games to none lead in the best-of-seven NLCS.

"I felt good early on," Fogg said. "I was fortunate to make ground balls whenever I needed them. It was a little tougher than usual."

"He competes so very well," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "He'll pitch both sides of the plate. His stuff didn't light up the radar gun but he can make pitches and get good hitters out and win big games." Colorado, which won Game Two, 3-2, in 11 innings, will host Game Four here on Monday.

With the game locked up at 1-1 in the sixth and runners on first and second, Torrealba battled Diamondbacks starter Livan Hernandez through six pitches before lifting the seventh offering from the former playoff hero deep into the stands in left-center field to give Colorado a 4-1 advantage.

"I was basically staying with my plan, see the ball," Torrealba said. "Most of the time that's what he do against me. Really surprised me that he tried to sneak a fastball inside, then down the middle. I hit it good."

"I made a good pitch," Hernandez said. "He got it and it went out. He had worked the count very well."

Torrealba raised his fist in the air and held it there nearly his entire way around the bases as the hometown crowd momentarily forgot about the rain and the 40-degree temperatures and roared in approval.

The red-hot Rockies have done much of their postseason damage thus far away from home as the National League's wild card participant, and the Coors Field crowd let their team know they were behind them all night.

With the rain falling throughout, the unsung heros of the contest were the members of the grounds crew, who sprinkled the infield with a drying agent between innings and kept the field playable and the pitchers mound in working order.

Neither Hernandez nor Fogg had much trouble plying their craft in the adverse conditions through the first five innings.

Hernandez allowed a two-out, solo homer in the first to Matt Holliday, but worked out of trouble in the third inning after surrendering a leadoff double to Torrealba and walking Fogg to put runners at second and third.

Wily Taveras followed Fogg with a bunt which Hernandez fielded on the wet infield and fired to third to cut down the lead runner. The burly righthander, who entered Sunday's game with a 6-2 record and 3.75 ERA in 11 career postseason games, retired the next two hitters in the third and stranded runners in the fourth and fifth before getting burned in the sixth.

He was charged with four runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings while walking two and striking out four.

"I really thought he pitched great," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "In a game where we're not giving him any support and the conditions and so forth, I thought he did more than his job to keep us in the game."

"We've got to help him there," Diamondbacks first baseman Tony Clark said. "We need to do our jobs scoring runs. He did a great job keeping us in the game."

Fogg worked his way around the punchless Arizona attack, allowing one run in the fourth on Mark Reynold's solo blast. The Rockies' veteran righthander allowed at least one base runner in each of his six innings, but induced double plays to end the second and third and avoided the big hit throughout his outing.

"We've played good defense," Hurdle said. "To play good defense you've got to have pitchers. It helps when they work quick, keep the ball down. The pitching feeds the defense, the defense feeds the pitching."

"Double plays were obviously huge for me early in the game," Fogg said.

He yielded seven hits and one walk while striking out three. It was the second victory of the postseason for Fogg, who picked up a win in relief in Game Two of the NLDS against Philadelphia.

Fogg turned it over to a Colorado bullpen that has been lights-out during the playoff run, allowing less than a run a game. Jeremy Affeldt tossed a perfect seventh and Brian Fuentes turned in a scoreless eighth before closer Manny Corpas ended the game with a 1-2-3 ninth.

The Diamondbacks will now have to do something that has only been done once before in baseball history - come back from a three games to none deficit in a best-of-seven series. The Boston Red Sox accomplished the feat in 2004 en route to a World Series title.

But unlike the 2004 Red Sox, this Arizona team has shown no ability to score runs, totaling just four in the first three games of the NLCS.

"The amount of runs that we are putting up in three games are not going to win you very many," Melvin said. "We're going to have to score some runs tomorrow, give us a chance to win the game."

"Until that last out is made and they've won four games," Clark said. "I still believe we have an opportunity to win."

The Rockies will be going for a sweep and their first ever trip to the World Series.

"All our focus is on winning the game tomorrow," Hurdle said. "If we don't win the game tomorrow, all our focus will be on winning the next one. It's just the way we've gone about our business."