DENVER -- Meltdowns on the mound, errors in the outfield, replacements up and down the roster -- not exactly the ingredients for good baseball.
Against the Philadelphia Phillies, it's a recipe for an ugly defeat."We're just totally out of sync," Jason Giambi said after Colorado blew two leads on the way to a 9-5 loss Monday night. "We [normally] play great defense, we move the runners along."Not on this night."If you give those guys more than 27 outs, they're going to beat you every single time," Giambi said.Carlos Ruiz had four hits, including a homer in the sixth inning and a tiebreaking single off Manny Corpas in the ninth, and Shane Victorino tripled twice, drew three walks and scored three runs.Ruiz's third single scored Ryan Howard from second. Howard was plunked by an 0-2 fastball from Corpas leading off the ninth and went to second one out later on a wild pitch by Corpas.Pinch-hitter Ross Gload then sent a 3-1 delivery from Corpas into the bullpen beyond the right-field wall for a three-run homer that made it 9-5 and sent the shivering crowd streaming to the exits.The four-run rally off Corpas (1-2) made a winner of Danys Baez (1-1), who threw a scoreless eighth. Jose Contreras got the final three outs.The ninth-inning meltdown, shaky defense and poor pitching ruined a breakout game for Giambi, who had three hits, three RBIs and narrowly missed homering twice.Giambi made the most of a rare start at first base, driving in three runs with two singles and a sacrifice fly before doubling off the wall in the ninth.He entered just 2 for 22, but Rockies manager Jim Tracy noted that most of those at-bats came sporadically and against some of the game's top closers. In an impassioned defense of his backup first baseman before the game, Tracy said he had faith in the 38-year-old veteran."Knowing the reputation and the résumé of the player, he's one swing away from being hotter than hell," Tracy declared.That swing came in the first inning when Giambi, batting cleanup, lined a pitch from right-hander Kyle Kendrick into right field for an RBI single."Hopefully this will kind of jump-start me a little bit," said Giambi, who added a sacrifice fly in the third and a broken-bat bloop single off lefty J.C. Romero in the seventh that erased a 5-4 deficit.David Herndon then came in and rescued the Phillies with the help of second baseman Chase Utley, who snared Melvin Mora's grounder up the middle to save a run and start an inning-ending double play."That's how Utley plays," his manager, Charlie Manuel, said. "Utley is a hard player. He will make big plays at the right time."And Ruiz is starting to collect big, timely hits -- he said he's simply learned to chill out in stressful situations."The last couple of years I was fighting myself. This year Charlie got me to relax and you see what has happened," Ruiz said.Tracy had to juggle his lineup with shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (quadriceps) hurt, outfielder Carlos Gonzalez out of the country to attend a funeral and slumping slugger Todd Helton getting the night off.Rockies left-hander Greg Smith induced a potential double-play grounder from Howard in the fifth. But Mora, playing second base with Clint Barmes at shortstop, dropped the flip from Barmes after getting the force.Jayson Werth followed with a double down the left-field line and Howard scored an unearned run from first when Seth Smith let the ball scoot under his glove for an error, putting the Phillies ahead 3-2.Brad Hawpe also made an error in right, and Matt Daley's wild pitch sent Victorino sprinting home to put the Phillies ahead 5-4 in the sixth.
Injured Colorado closer Huston Street threw a bullpen session. LHP Jeff Francis will have his second rehab start at Double-A Tulsa on Tuesday night.