By Jordan Bastian and William Kosileski
CLEVELAND -- The Indians do not see Charlie Blackmon often, but they have probably seen enough. On Wednesday afternoon, the Rockies' dynamic leadoff man delivered a game-deciding home run, helping Colorado to a 3-2 win over the Tribe in 12 innings at Progressive Field.
Blackmon -- who homered off Tribe ace Corey Kluber on Tuesday night and who will wear the nickname "Chuck Nazty" on the back of his jersey for Players Weekend -- came through with his two-out solo shot against Indians reliever Zach McAllister. The blast was Blackmon's 27th shot of the season and pushed the Rockies to their 21st come-from-behind win of the year. It followed some ninth-inning heroics from Jonathan Lucroy, whose RBI double off closer Cody Allen pulled the game into a 2-2 tie that necessitated extra innings.
"[Blackmon] gives you a good at-bat each and every time, regardless of the score," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "I think he has that innate ability in the most crucial of situations to get that extreme focus. He never gives up an at-bat, regardless of the score or what's going on. It's cold, it's hot, it's rainy, it's windy -- he gives you a good one. That was a great swing."
The Rockies moved into the top Wild Card spot in the National League with the D-backs' loss to the Dodgers. Cleveland leads the American League Central by four games over the Royals.
Francisco Lindor's two-run homer in the third -- the 19th blast of the season for the shortstop, aka Mr. Smile -- accounted for the only breakthrough against Rockies righty Antonio Senzatela. The starter gave Colorado five solid frames in his first start since July 24, ending with five strikeouts and three walks in a no-decision.
"Senzatela hung in there, man," Black said. "He wobbled a couple of times but got through it. I really liked the first-and-third, no outs and didn't give up a point. I thought today he and [Lucroy] did a nice job of working in the curveball and the slider both."
Tribe right-hander Trevor Bauer also walked away with a no-decision after limiting the Rockies to one run -- courtesy of a homer from No. 9-hitter Alexi Amarista in the third -- over seven-plus innings. The right-hander struck out nine, walked none and now has spun a 1.23 ERA in his past three starts (22 innings) for Cleveland.
"It's nice. It'd be a lot nicer if we won," Bauer said of his recent success. "I'm glad to be contributing to our chances to win, that's for sure."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Lucroy's silencer: With Carlos Gonzalez on first and one down in the ninth, Lucroy stepped to the plate against Allen. The Progressive Field crowd rained a chorus of boos toward the Rockies' catcher, who vetoed a trade that would have sent him to Cleveland last year. However, Lucroy silenced the crowd by delivering a game-tying RBI double to the gap in right-center. Indians center fielder Bradley Zimmer was unable to cut the ball off cleanly, allowing Gonzalez to score all the way from first with a headfirst slide into home.
Indians manager Terry Francona noted that Zimmer's last-ditch attempt to corral the ball helped the Rockies to the run.
"He's probably trying to make sure it doesn't get by him," Francona said. "Now, Austin [Jackson] was right behind him. It's easy when the play's over to go back and walk him through it and say, 'Don't do that.' When the game's going fast, his thinking was, 'I'm going to keep this in front of me.' Well, he ended up sliding and knocking it away from him, which is probably the last thing you want to see happen."
McGee escapes jam in return: For the first time since July 25, Rockies reliever Jake McGee entered a Major League game. It wasn't an ideal situation for the left-hander, as he inherited two runners with two down in the bottom of the eighth inning. With the Indians then leading, 2-1, McGee's first pitch hit Zimmer, loading the bases for pinch-hitter Brandon Guyer. His first pitch to Guyer missed high and away for a ball. But McGee got Guyer to hit a slow grounder to short on his second pitch -- a four seamer on the outside corner -- where Trevor Story flipped to DJ LeMahieu for the inning-ending force at second.
"Can't go without saying something about Jon and the way he handled the pitching staff. Guys he hasn't really caught, per se, and he handled a bunch of them. He handled them superbly and in a very tight game on the road against a very good team. Hats off to Jon in a lot of areas." -- Black, on Lucroy's presence behind the plate
"The past couple of days, we've probably left at least 19-20 runners on base. That's something we have to get better at. I have to get better at it. I probably left at least five. I'm working as hard as I can to try to help my team. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to come through for them. We'll play the game right, continue to grind through at-bats, and hopefully we'll come out with a lot more wins." -- Lindor
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Tyler Chatwood worked a scoreless 12th inning to close out the ballgame and pick up only his second career save. The right-hander's first save came on April 11, 2012, when he went three innings in a 17-8 victory over the Giants.
"It was pretty cool to see Charlie hit a homer, and then I was trying to go in and not mess it up," Chatwood said. "[I] just tried to keep us winning." More >
WHAT'S NEXT Rockies: After an off-day on Thursday, the Rockies will head to Miami to open a three-game set with the Marlins, beginning with Friday's 5:10 p.m. MT tilt at Marlins Park. Right-hander Jon Gray (4-2, 4.94 ERA) will take the mound for Colorado in the series opener. He went seven innings and allowed one run on six hits with four strikeouts against the Phillies on Saturday.
Indians: Cleveland embarks on an 11-day, 11-game road trip through Tampa Bay, Boston, Minnesota and Kansas City, beginning Thursday. For the opener of a four-game set with the Rays, Danny Salazar (4-5, 4.32 ERA) will take the ball for the Tribe in a 7:10 p.m. ET tilt at Tropicana Field. Salazar has a 1.35 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 20 innings in three starts since coming off the disabled list.