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Timely hits in short supply for Rockies

Timely hits in short supply for Rockies

DENVER -- Getting hits didn't prove terribly difficult for the Rockies on Sunday, though getting them when it mattered most -- with runners in scoring position and in critical spots -- proved elusive and exasperated a team now on the brink of elimination.

The Rockies had 10 hits and scored five runs in Game 3 of the NLDS, though they fell, 6-5, to the Phillies, who took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series that continues with Game 4 on Monday at 4:07 p.m. MT at Coors Field.

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The Rockies were just 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and failed to capitalize on several prime scoring opportunities during the game, both against Phillies starting pitcher J.A. Happ and a stable of relievers.

No more was this evident than in the seventh inning with Phillies holding a 5-4 lead. The first two batters of the inning -- Carlos Gonzalez, who had three more hits Sunday, and Dexter Fowler -- reached base with successive hits off reliever Scott Eyre.

In fact, it was on Fowler's bunt single where Eyre twisted his ankle. The reliever had to leave the game as Phillies manager Charlie Manuel went to Ryan Madson, who has been used alternatively as a closer and a late-inning option.

With runners on the corners and no outs, Madson battled Todd Helton in a seven-pitch at-bat that resulted in Helton chasing a 96-mph fastball up in the strike zone for the first out of the inning.

"That was a huge out," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "Especially you had first and third, nobody out."

Madson eventually allowed the game-tying run on a Troy Tulowitzki sacrifice fly, but averted further damage when he got Yorvit Torrealba looking at a called third strike to end the inning and the threat.

WHERE'S THE PUNCH?
The Rockies are hitting .255 in this series, but .200 as a team if you take away the monster series Carlos Gonzalez is having. Clutch hittng has been a problem.
Key stat Game 1 Game 2 Game 3
LOB 4 7 8
RISP 2-7 1-7 2-9
K's 5 10 6
Runs 1 5 5

The Rockies scored a run in the first inning, though three of the first four hitters they sent to the plate against Happ reached base on singles.

Then finally, in the ninth inning against Phillies closer Brad Lidge, Tulowitzki flied out to left fielder Ben Francisco to end the game with two runners on after Gonzalez and Helton walked earlier in the inning.

"We just didn't have enough," Tulowitzki said.

The Rockies are 5-for-23 with runners in scoring position in the series, and they have been out-hit by the Phillies (.313 to .255). If you take away the monster series Gonzalez is having (.615), Colorado is hitting .200 as a team in through the first three games of the NLDS.

Division Series
Gm. 1PHI 5, COL 1WrapVideo
Gm. 2COL 5, PHI 4WrapVideo
Gm. 3PHI 6, COL 5WrapVideo
Gm. 4PHI 5, COL 4WrapVideo

"I feel you've got to play the same and approach every at-bat the same," Fowler said. "You've got to take advantage of every opportunity you get."

If nothing else, the Rockies will have to have a short memory, as they'll face Cliff Lee in Game 4 on Monday. Lee took a shutout into the ninth inning of a Phillies Game 1 victory before allowing a run.

"Everyone should remember how he pitched them. Hopefully he's not as on as he was the last time," Garrett Atkins said. "It's not easy, but I like our chances."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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