DENVER (AP) — Connor Joe hailed this homer as one of the top highlights of his burgeoning career at this moment.
It is easy to understand why.
Diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2020 with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, he underwent surgery and treatment before signing with the Colorado Rockies later that season. He’s been a fan favorite – and even more so since his arrival at Coors Field.
Joe scored two runs, including a go-forward singles homer in the eighth inning, and a close Daniel Byrd dismissed the team in the ninth to help the Rockies beat the Dodgers 3–2.
“It was awesome,” Joe said of his big moment, with Kris Bryant congratulating him in the dugout with a hug after his homer. “Early week. Playing the Dodgers. Just the excitement of being at Coors. It’s great in front of fans.”
Joe parked a cutter from the reliever Blake Trainan (0-1) into the seats in the left center. The Rockies first baseman also had an RBI single in the sixth.
Their big night split the Rockies in the opening two games. They have a chance on Sunday to win a home series against the Dodgers for the first time since August 2018.
“He will be remembered,” said Rockies manager Bud Black. “Sure. He was a good one.”
That was not the 1-2 pitch that Trainen wanted to make.
“Baseball sucks sometimes,” Trainen said. “Everything was going great, apparently with Conor, I dropped one in the middle.
“Tomorrow is a new day and I’ll try to make up my mind the next time my name is called.”
Ryan McMahon also came in first when his single scored for Bryant, whose slide on the plate forced the ball out of the glove of catcher Austin Barnes.
It was a shaky night for reliever Alex Colom in his Rockies debut. Mookie Bates delivered a run-scoring single from Colom and tied it for 2 in eighth place. Jose Iglesias made a tricky over-the-shoulder-catch in the shallows left on Bates’ blooper, but it bounced off his glove and allowed Gavin Lux to score.
Freddie Freeman nearly followed up with a homer, only to find his deep shot on the center-field wall by Sam Hilliard.
Colom gave way to Carlos Estevez (1-0), who retired with loaded bases to end the threat to Max Munci. The Byrd fans out Justin Turner, Edwin Rios, and Cody Bellinger to earn the savings.
The German marquez showed his All-Star form on a scintillating night as he scorched three hits in seven strong innings. His only mistake was a four-seam fastball that Barnes lined up for a homer in the third.
Marquez, who worked hard, took no runs and scored five.
“Everything was good,” Marquez said. “Everything was under control.”
Dodgers starter Tony Gonsolin allowed one run in three innings before giving way to former Rockies pitcher Tyler Anderson.
“He was great. He was fantastic,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Anderson, who went in four innings. “He gave us a chance to win.”
Turner caught the night for Los Angeles at third base when he reached the railing of the Dodgers dugout to catch a foul ball from Charlie Blackmon.
Dodgers shortstop Tree Turner had an infield single in the eighth to extend her hitting streak to 21 games last season. His streak through the regular season began on 12 September.
No. 17 returns
The Rockies brought back retired first baseman Todd Helton to serve as special assistant to general manager Bill Schmidt. Helton spent 17 seasons with the organization and is the franchise leader in games played, runs, hits, doubles, homers and RBIs.
Helton his number 17 was retired by the team on 17 August 2014.
“I’m glad Todd is jumping back,” Black said. “I think it’s good for Todd to join our organization again.”
Dodgers: LHP Julio Uriás started on Sunday after a 20-win season in 2021. He became the fourth Mexican-born pitcher to post a 20-win campaign, joining Esteban Loiza, Fernando Valenzuela and Teddy Higuera.
Rockies: RHP Antonio Senzatella played six or more innings in 16 of his last 21. He signed a five-year contract in October.
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