DENVER (AP) -- Jamey Carroll lay on the outfield grass relieved and exhausted, the final out peeking from the top of his glove like a snow cone on a hot summer's night.
Carroll's backpedaling, game-saving grab of Humberto Cota's popup with the tying run racing to the plate capped Colorado's 5-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates that snapped a six-game losing streak.Carroll also tied a career-high with four hits, homered for just the second time in 707 at-bats and made an incredible grab of a popup by Jose Bautista that first baseman Todd Helton swatted to him on a dead run in the sixth inning."He was in the right place at the right time the whole game," Cota said.The 5-foot-9 Carroll said he was "just tall enough" and his mitt "just long enough" for his great catch in the ninth."We got way too much Jamey Carroll tonight," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. "He played a terrific ballgame offensively and defensively."The Pirates were excited as they watched Cota's ball heading over the head of Carroll, who froze at the crack of the bat and couldn't really jump anyway because of a bum right ankle.So, he backpedaled, almost tripping over himself as he stabbed his left arm into the air and robbed Cota of a game-tying hit."The way Jamey started back and the way the ball was hit I thought it was going to be just out of his reach," Tracy said. "He didn't have an opportunity to turn and I thought Cota had hit the ball well enough to get it over his head."He stayed on the grass for several seconds while his teammates swarmed him with congratulations."I just laid there for a second like, 'Wow! What a way to end the game,' " Carroll said. "It was kind of a crazy ending. Another half inch the other way, we'd still be out there."Jeff Francis (4-5) allowed just three hits in six innings. Pittsburgh's Jason Bay hit a solo drive for his 18th homer and Jose Hernandez added a two-run shot for his second, both in the fifth inning.The Rockies led off with hits in all six innings they faced left-hander Paul Maholm, but only one of those batters came around to score.The Rockies finally broke through in the sixth, scoring three runs to take a 4-3 lead. Yorvit Torrealba followed Clint Barmes' leadoff single with an RBI double for his first hit in a Colorado uniform. Torrealba came around to score the tying run when Francis laid down an excellent bunt for a single, and third baseman Freddy Sanchez picked up the dying roller and fired wide of first base for an error.Helton eventually singled in Francis, giving the Rockies their first lead of their homestand that began on Friday.Maholm (2-5) was charged with four earned runs and 11 hits in five-plus innings.The well-rested Rockies bullpen took over from there to secure Colorado's first win this month. Ramon Ramirez pitched the seventh, Jose Mesa the eighth and Brian Fuentes the ninth for his 12th save in 13 tries.Fuentes, who hasn't had a save since May 28, gave up a two-out RBI single to Jeromy Burnitz before Carroll secured the win with his second great play of the night."I just got off the phone with George W.," cracked Colorado manager Clint Hurdle after the Rockies won for just the third time in 14 games.The way things had been going, the Rockies wouldn't have been surprised to see the ball pop out of Carroll's glove, Barmes said."It was so nice to see the ball sitting in his glove when he hit the ground," Barmes said.A half-inning earlier, Carroll capped his fourth career four-hit game with his second homer of the year, a solo shot off Salomon Torres that made it 5-3. After going 663 at-bats without a home run before connecting last month, Carroll has now homered twice in his last 44 at-bats."I guess I'm just as surprised as you guys are," Carroll said. "Who knows, it may be another 600-and-something before I get another one."
The Rockies acquired Torrealba from Seattle in December. He was activated from the 15-day disabled list Friday after missing the first part of the year with a strained throwing shoulder. ... Carroll has four career homers since arriving in the big leagues in 2002.