PHOENIX, Arizona (Reuters) - The Colorado Rockies used a bases-loaded walk in the top of the 11th inning to take control of the National League Championship Series with a 3-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday.
Willy Taveras walked on four straight pitches by Arizona closer Jose Valverde to bring in Ryan Spilborghs as the Rockies moved 2-0 ahead in the best-of-seven series with their 19th win in 20 games.
Game Three is in Denver on Sunday.
“It’s a big win for us,” Taveras told reporters.
The Rockies, who have now won five straight postseason games, need only two wins on their homefield to make their first World Series.
“We are playing with a lot of momentum,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle told reporters. “We didn’t draw it up that way to win our first five (playoff games), but we will take it.”
Not even a change in uniforms could slow them.
They had won seven straight games, including the regular season, wearing black jerseys but Arizona decided to wear black tops on Friday, forcing the visitors to don their grey uniforms with pinstripes.
However, it did not stall their winning ways.
Spilborghs got on base with an infield hit and Valverde walked Brad Hawpe before getting the second out of the innings.
The closer then walked Jamey Carroll on a full-count pitch to load the bases, setting the stage for Taveras to watch four straight balls in notching the winning run.
Arizona manager Bob Melvin defended keeping Valverde in the game as long as he did.
“He’s our closer and he was going to stay in until he gave up a run,” Melvin told reporters.
Ryan Speier then retired the Diamondbacks in order in the bottom of the 11th.
Arizona, who stranded 11 runners on base, had tied the scores in the bottom of the ninth but a mental error by Stephen Drew may have cost them the game.
After Chris Young scored the tying run on Eric Byrnes’s fielder’s choice, Drew began walking off the field, thinking he had been called out at second.
Actually he had been safe on the play and the Rockies quickly tagged him out, snuffing out the potential winning run for the Diamondbacks.
Earlier, Todd Helton’s fifth-inning sacrifice fly scored Taveras to give the Rockies a 2-1 lead.
Helton also scored Colorado’s opening run, coming home on Yorvit Torrealba’s single in the second.
Arizona responded in the third, tying the scores on a Young single.
Taveras helped saved another potential Diamondbacks’s run with his diving catch of Tony Clark’s flyball in the seventh.
“I didn’t think he crushed it. It hung up and I was able to make a great catch,” Taveras said.