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Rallying Rox win on Iannetta's walk-off shot

Rallying Rox win on Iannetta's walk-off shot

DENVER -- The scene on the scoreboard was similar to that of Tuesday night, but the aura surrounding it was very, very different.

Entering the eighth inning trailing by three runs, the mood at Coors Field remained optimistic and lively. Fans remained in their seats, prepared to battle a chilly Denver night and an impending Rockies loss, which loomed just outs away.

It's a good thing they stayed, too. Call them the Fighting Rockies, the Comeback Kids or whatever you like, but an 8-7 walk-off win against the Cardinals on Wednesday night emphasized a point the club has been making all week -- don't leave yet, because we're not finished.

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"No matter what's going on, guys are constantly trying not to give any at-bats away," Rockies shortstop Clint Barmes said. "Just because we're down early in a game or whatever, no matter what the deficit is, we're going to start chipping away."

For the second night in a row, the Rockies chipped away at a discouraging deficit and, for the third consecutive game, they stunned their opponent in walk-off fashion. Sunday, it was a 4-3, 15-inning win against the Giants and Tuesday night marked an epic nine-run rally in the ninth to shock the Cardinals, 12-9.

Wednesday was just more of the same.

With the score knotted at 7 in the bottom of the ninth, Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta entered the box as Cardinals reliever Evan MacLane faced his first Major League batter. Iannetta became someone the youngster won't soon forget.

The Rockies' No. 6 hitter hammered MacLane's 3-2 delivery into the left-field seats, trotted around the bases and was mobbed at home plate by his Rockies teammates, who have made a habit of celebrating at that spot lately.

Iannetta hit a three-run homer in the ninth on Tuesday to jump-start the rally. But, then again, it seems like everyone on the Rockies roster has played a role of some kind in a recent rally.

"That's when we get good as an offensive team, when I don't sit here and talk about a couple specific individuals that did special things offensively," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "There's four or five guys in there."

Reliever Huston Street, who pitched a perfect ninth, earned his first win of the year. His first out of the inning was former Rockies outfielder Matt Holliday, who tagged Rockies pitchers to the tune of two homers, four runs and two RBIs before Street popped him up to start the ninth.

"Matt's just one of those hitters you have to make your pitches on," Street said. "You've really got to execute. It's always important to get the first guy out in every inning, no matter who it is, but a guy like Matt, you've got to be aggressive but be careful at the same time."

Trailing 7-4 in the eighth, Rockies first baseman Brad Eldred doubled and third baseman Ian Stewart walked before outfielder Dexter Fowler hit a one out, three-run homer to right field off Cardinals reliever Jason Motte to complete the comeback and tie the game at 7.

The comeback got Rockies starter Aaron Cook off the hook for 10 hits and five runs allowed in five innings, which put him in line for his first loss of the year at Coors Field and put Colorado in a 5-0 hole.

Instead, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marked the first time in franchise history the Rockies came back from five-run deficits to win in consecutive games and the second time in club history the Rockies walked off in three straight contests.

"Yeah, it's tough," MacLane said. "But I'm up here and I've got to do my job. I've got to pitch. I've got to get these guys out."

The Rockies sure have made it difficult for St. Louis pitchers to get them out in the late innings of ballgames. It's now 13 runs scored in the eighth or ninth innings of the Rockies' two wins against the Cardinals.

Colorado's seventh win in its past 10 games, coupled with the Padres' second straight loss to the Nationals, moved Colorado to within three games of first-place San Diego, tied with the Dodgers in the National League West. After Thursday's series finale against St. Louis, the Padres come to Coors Field for the Rockies' last series before the All-Star break.

"You knew coming into this season we were going to have a good hitting team," Street said. "I think the strength of this team is starting to show up."

Joey Nowak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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