MIAMI -- Nolan Arenado has had an outstanding rookie season, and the Rockies third baseman delivered the big plays both offensively and defensively Sunday that enabled Colorado to win its first road series in more than six weeks.
Arenado's RBI double in the sixth inning proved to be the game-winner as the Rockies ended their 10-game road trip on a positive note with a 4-3 win against the Marlins to take two games of the three-game series at Marlins Park. It's the first series win on the road for the Rockies since they took two of three, July 8-10 from the Padres.
Arenado also made a key defensive play when he started a bases-loaded double play in the fourth that kept the game tied.
"It's tough to give Nolan a day off, ever," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "We keep running him out there because he does stuff on defense to win us games. The double play was the ballgame, really, and he got the big hit on top of that. He was huge today."
Marlins manager Mike Redmond said that not scoring with the bases loaded and no outs "really killed us."
Arenado's heroics and a solid effort from the Rockies' bullpen made a winner of Jorge De La Rosa, who improved to 14-6 despite struggling some before exiting the game after five innings and 83 pitches. Weiss said after the game that De La Rosa had a thumb ligament issue that has bothered him off and on most of the season.
"He really labored today," Weiss said of the left-hander, who allowed five hits and three walks. "His thumb is as bad as it's been in a while. He wasn't himself. He fought to get through the innings he got through. He's dealt with hand issues all year, and he's 14-6."
Weiss also commended the Rockies' bullpen, which shut out the Marlins the final four innings. Rex Brothers came on in the ninth to record his 13th save, striking out two, including Giancarlo Stanton, the Marlins' big stick, to preserve the victory.
"Great job by the bullpen," Weiss said. "It was a tough win, but it's a really big win. It's nice to see our guys fight like this at the end of a road trip when we're going home. We could have mailed it in, not that you ever do that at this level, but I've seen our guys fight on days like this several times this year."
The Rockies grabbed a 3-0 lead in the top of the second thanks in part to defensive miscues by the Marlins. Michael Cuddyer led off the inning with a walk, followed by single by Arenado. Both advanced on a wild pitch and Ryan Wheeler delivered an RBI single to put the Rockies on the board first. A throwing error and a sacrifice fly by Jonathan Herrera, subbing for Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop, accounted for the other two Colorado runs.
The Marlins put a run on the board in the bottom of the second when Justin Ruggiano deposited his 15th home run of the season into the bullpen in right field.
Miami tied the game with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, but it could have been much worse for the Rockies if not for the clutch double play initiated by Arenado. Run-scoring singles by Logan Morrison and Ruggiano knotted the score with no outs and De La Rosa then issued his second walk of the inning to load the bases.
De La Rosa escaped further damage, however, when Arenado snagged a sharp grounder behind third, fired a strike to catcher Jordan Pacheco for the force at the plate and Pacheco threw out Koyie Hill at first for the double play. De La Rosa then struck out Marlins starter Jacob Turner for the third out.
"That double play was tough for Pacheco, too," Weiss said of the key defensive play of the game.
De La Rosa also stranded a Marlins runner at third in the fifth after he committed a fielding error the first batter he faced.
The Rockies regained the lead in the sixth when Cuddyer singled with two outs and scored on the double by Arenado to give Colorado a 4-3 lead that stood for the remainder of the game and sent the Rockies home with a series win.
"He's been clutch all year," Weiss said of Arenado. "He's had a lot of big hits, a lot of two-out RBIs that have won games. We knew he was a talented kid. He didn't break camp with us, but we knew it was only a matter of time and it only took about a month. Everything I heard about him from our staff in the Minor Leagues said that this guy's a money player."