LOS ANGELES -- The phrase "day game after a night game" took on extra meaning Sunday at Dodger Stadium, where the Rockies and Dodgers got ready for an early afternoon game after an early morning game. Saturday night's five-hour and six-minute march through 14 innings -- the Rockies won 7-4 on Matt Holliday's RBI single and an insurance two-run single by Brad Hawpe -- gave off a ripple effect that resonated in the clubhouse as noon approached. Players shuffled between their lockers and the batting cage as manager Clint Hurdle's stratagem of skipping batting practice on Saturday could never have taken into account a post-midnight finish.More
"We're hitting in the cage because there are guys who want to get some swings," Hurdle said. "We want to win the last game of this road trip." Before Saturday's victory ordeal, Hurdle had reasoned that a 5-11 record in day games on the road was occasion for Sunday morning BP. So much for the best-laid plans; the bus didn't arrive until 11 a.m. PT. Maybe it was the euphoria of Wild Card fever and Saturday's win, but Ramon Ortiz came up with a Sunday-morning analogy that needs mentioning here. Recalling his 2002 World Series championship season in Anaheim, the newly acquired right-hander said, "When the Angels won, it was the same feeling as this team has right now." That's from a guy who arrived on Friday. When Hurdle was told of the comment, he said, "That's nice to hear. We've got to back it up." Hurdle also commented on the pluses of having Ortiz on board. "The people in Minnesota had good things to say about him despite his numbers. We're going to find him innings, now that he's not in the American League with the [designated hitter]. We're going to find him a way to get regular work." Hurdle also continued his praise for 21-year-old left-hander Franklin Morales' Major League debut performance Saturday -- 5 1/3 innings, allowing an earned run, striking out four and walking one thanks to a sizzling mid-90s fastball and solid offspeed stuff. Seeing Morales elevate his stock in the Rockies' system in the four years since he signed out of Venezuela at age 17, Hurdle said, "was one of the highlights of everything you do. The scout, the development people, every manager he's played for. To me, that's the biggest part of this game." Hurdle threw a bouquet in the direction of scout Rolando Fernandez, who signed Morales after watching him in a Venezuelan tournament and at the Rockies' academy there. "This guy's got a great eye for talent," Hurdle said, adding that Fernandez also brought Ubaldo Jimenez and Manny Corpas into the Colorado fold. "[Players Fernandez scouts] can see the opportunity is there," Hurdle said, "and that once you get signed, you're going to get a great chance." Man of the hour: Morales summed up his big night by saying, "All I did was concentrate 100 percent." Besides a heap of satisfaction and confidence, he came away with the lineup card and a game ball, and afterward put in a call to his mother and grandfather in Venezuela. As for the changeup that he had working Saturday, he said, "The last couple of games in [Triple-A] Colorado Springs [where he made only three starts after 17 starts at Double-A Tulsa], I used my changeup a lot." Morales said "hard work" was the key to his 179-strikeout season with Class A Modesto in 2006. He said last year felt good, but that Saturday night proved "you need more concentration on hitters here than in the Minor Leagues." Holliday cheer: Slumping left fielder Matt Holliday shrugged off the notion that his game-winning hit in the 14th inning was any sort of breakthrough. "I feel like I'm swinging the bat well," Holliday said. "I had what I thought was a double [in the fifth inning] and before that hit, a ball just foul that could have been a home run." The play in the fifth involved a leaping catch at the wall by Dodgers right fielder Matt Kemp. The ball initially squirted out of Kemp's glove, and he corralled it, but Holliday pulled into second when second-base umpire Mike Everitt ruled the ball had caromed off the wall between Kemp's touches. Dodgers manager Grady Little protested, and plate umpire Tim Welke reversed the double call. Hurdle steamed out of the Rockies' dugout and spent the next three or four minutes stomping around the infield grass to no avail. "I thought [Everitt] had made the right call," Holliday said. "They do their best." Up next: The Rockies open a seven-game homestand Monday night with the first of four games against the Pirates. Jimenez (2-2, 5.28 ERA) opposes Pittsburgh right-hander Matt Morris (7-8, 4.65) in a 7:05 MT start.
Ted Brock is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less