Rockies take 2-0 NLCS lead after Taveras' walk wins it in 11th

" Summary: Colorado held a 2-1 lead entering the bottom of the 9th, but Arizona tied the game when Chris Young scored on a throwing error. After a scoreless 10th, Arizona reliever Jose Valverde walked Willy Taveras with the bases loaded for the winning run.

" Goat: Valverde threw 1 2/3 innings, but they were hardly memorable. Valverde opened the 11th by giving up a single to Ryan Spilborghs. Brad Hawpe walked with one out and Jamey Carroll walked with two outs before Taveras was walked to score the winning run.

" Repeating history?: The Rockies are the second National League team in history to open the postseason with five straight wins. They joined the 1976 Reds, who were 7-0 in the postseason (3-0 in the NLCS, 4-0 in the World Series).

" Usually closed after 9: The Rockies were 74-1 in the regular season when leading entering the 9th inning.

" Quotable: "We expect to win every game. To come out of here with two wins is pretty much what we expected." -- Spilborghs

-- ESPN.com news services

Rockies 3, Diamondbacks 2 (11 innings)

PHOENIX (AP) -- This crazy run for Colorado just goes on and on.
Now, Willy Taveras has joined the fun.

Taveras strolled to first base with the decisive RBI after
sprinting toward the gap for a diving catch, and the Rockies kept
on racing toward the World Series.

Jose Valverde walked Taveras on four pitches with the bases
loaded in the 11th inning, and Colorado beat the Arizona
Diamondbacks 3-2 Friday night for a 2-0 lead in the NL championship

"We realize there's more work to be done," Todd Helton said.
"Denver is going to be a crazy place this weekend."

After their 19th victory in 20 games, the seemingly unstoppable
Rockies headed home to Denver, where the series resumes Sunday
night with Josh Fogg pitching against Arizona's Livan Hernandez.

Two wins at Coors Field would give Colorado the first pennant of
its 15-season history.

"We're playing with a lot of momentum," manager Clint Hurdle

The Rockies recovered after blowing a ninth-inning lead with
help from Taveras, playing his second game since missing 24 with a
leg injury.

Leading off the 11th, pinch-hitter Ryan Spilborghs reached on an
infield single. Brad Hawpe walked with one out and Jamey Carroll
walked with two outs against Valverde, pitching more than an inning
for just the second time this season.

"Until he gives up a run, it's his game," Diamondbacks manager
Bob Melvin said.

But Valverde couldn't find the plate against Taveras, either.

"I felt so good. I'm not tired. My arm felt good," said
Valverde, who threw 42 pitches. "That's my first time throwing
that many pitches."

The wild-card Rockies, who swept Philadelphia in the division
series, joined the 1976 Cincinnati Reds as the only NL teams to win
their first five games in a postseason.

"We expect to win every game," Spilborghs said. "To come out
of here with two wins is pretty much what we expected."

The Diamondbacks tried almost everything to come back, sending
sweet-swinging pitcher Micah Owings to the plate as a pinch-hitter
in the 11th.

Owings had 12 hits in his prior 21 at-bats, with three homers
and 10 RBIs. But he flied to center for the second out and Ryan Speier fanned Chris Young to complete a perfect inning for his
first major league save in a game that lasted 4 hours, 26 minutes.

"We've come back from some difficult circumstances this year,"
Melvin said. "It's two games. A team has to win four before it's

Colorado was ahead 2-1 in the ninth when closer Manny Corpas hit
Young on a 1-2 pitch with one out, then Young took third on Stephen
Drew's single to center.

Eric Byrnes hit a bouncer to second baseman Kazuo Matsui. With no
chance to get the speedy Young at home, Matsui tried for an
improbable double play.

His backhand flip to second was high for an error, and
slick-fielding shortstop Troy Tulowitzki came off the bag to grab

Drew, however, didn't realize he was called safe by umpire Tom
Hallion and wandered off second base. Tulowitzki, who had started
to argue, soon noticed. He ran toward Drew and threw to third
baseman Carroll, who applied the tag.

"From my standpoint, it looked like he touched it," Drew said.
"When I looked back, there was no call. I thought I was out.
That's it."

It was a costly mistake by Drew, in his first full season in the
majors. Tony Clark grounded out, ending the inning.

"He just assumed he was out. He took his eye off the umpire and
was coming off the field," Melvin said. "He didn't see where
Tulowitzki was."

It was Corpas' second blown save since becoming Colorado's
closer in midseason. The first was Sept. 21 at San Diego. He saved
all three playoff victories over Philadelphia.

Left off the first-round roster, the speedy Taveras put the
Rockies ahead 2-1 in the fifth when he scored on Helton's sacrifice

Taveras drew a leadoff walk on four pitches from Doug Davis,
advanced on Matsui's single and raced to third on Matt Holliday's
fly to left field, barely beating Byrnes' throw.

With the Rockies clinging to that one-run lead in the seventh,
Taveras' speed was a huge factor again. The Diamondbacks had a
runner on first with two outs when Clark hit a drive to
right-center off LaTroy Hawkins.

Taveras raced into the gap and laid out with a fully extended
dive to make an outstanding grab.

"I don't know how many other guys in the league can make that
play," Hurdle said.

The Rockies won their previous seven games wearing black
jerseys, but they had to settle for gray with pinstripes in this
one. The Diamondbacks broke out the black, something they had
reserved for home Saturday night games in the regular season.

The styles of the starting pitchers could hardly have been more
different. Colorado rookie Ubaldo Jimenez regularly hit 99 mph on
the Chase Field radar gun. Davis uses a stop-and-go motion and an
array of breaking pitches.

Davis, who had four hits in 58 at-bats all season, doubled
leading off the third for his first extra-base hit since 2005. He
scored when Young singled up the middle on a 98 mph pitch to tie it
at 1.

After Mark Reynolds' error on Helton's grounder to third in the
second inning, Davis struck out consecutive batters before Hawpe
singled and Yorvit Torrealba hit a bloop single that put the
Rockies in front.

In yet another demonstration of the way things are going for
Colorado, Torrealba's opposite-field hit landed on the right-field

Missed opportunities abounded for Arizona.

The Diamondbacks loaded the bases in the fifth, but Reynolds
struck out. Clark led off the second with a double that Taveras had
in his glove as he ran toward the 407-foot sign in center before
the ball popped loose. Still, Arizona failed to score.

The Rockies are up 2-0 despite a .211 batting average and 22
strikeouts. They have won 10 straight road games.

"We're fundamentally sound, we pitch better, we find ways to
win," Hurdle said.

Game notes
It was the second extra-inning victory in the Rockies' 19-1
run. ... The big screen at Chase Field shows a clip of the season's
highlights, and the ballpark echoes with boos every time Barry
Bonds is shown hitting his record-breaking home run. ... Arizona
reliever Tony Pena struck out the side in the seventh, giving him
six consecutive strikeouts in the series. ... Valverde walked three
in a game for the first time since April 24, 2004.