Longest walk-off HR of Statcast era puts Rox back in win column- Uncover Daily News

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DENVER — When it rains, it pours.

That was true figuratively for the Rockies before their thrilling 5-4 walk-off victory over the Padres at Coors Field on Sunday afternoon, when they found out franchise stalwart Charlie Blackmon has a right hand fracture, adding to an already lengthy injury list.

And it was true literally toward the end of the game, when the skies opened and rain began to pour before a deluge soaked the ballpark upon Ryan McMahon’s dramatic game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth. Then, after a rain delay of an hour and 25 minutes, Nolan Jones crushed a 472-foot homer to right-center field to win it.

It was MLB’s longest walk-off home run since Statcast tracking began in 2015.

Suddenly, with so many veterans sidelined, the Rockies’ youth movement had been accelerated.

“There’s some symmetry there, right?” manager Bud Black said. “You don’t like to see the injured list of your team look like this. That’s not how you draw it up. You like to have young players come in when you want them to come in. But now it’s out of necessity.”

Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. And in the Rockies’ case, it may lead to the franchise learning much more quickly what its future holds. As Black noted, it’s not ideal — development demands timely promotion to the Majors and careful cultivation when there.

But the promotion of one player Sunday morning couldn’t have been timed better. Infielder Coco Montes, 26, got the call to the big leagues following a strong season at Triple-A Albuquerque in which he posted a .960 OPS with 12 home runs in 59 games.

A few hours later, Montes found himself at the plate representing the tying run against veteran reliever Luis García in the eighth inning, his club six outs from losing a seventh straight contest.

“He threw me a first-pitch slider and I chased it,” Montes said. “And I kind of sat on it again, thinking he’d go back to it, and he left me a good pitch to hit.”

Montes belted it into the left-field seats for a game-tying two-run homer.

“What Coco did today was awesome,” said McMahon, whose own heroics would come shortly thereafter. “The kid’s a ballplayer, man. You guys are going to really enjoy watching him play.”

McMahon isn’t a “kid,” in the traditional baseball vernacular, but he’s no old man, either. And he continued his excellent stretch at the plate since May 25, doing so with the dramatic flair usually found in the movies.

As a steady rain began morphing into a downpour, the gloomy weather seemed it would serve as a metaphor for the Rockies’ current condition amid an 11th loss in 13 games. And matters weren’t helped by McMahon falling into an 0-2 hole leading off the ninth against lefty reliever Tom Cosgrove, who hadn’t allowed a run over his first 14 MLB appearances.

“I’m not going to lie — I didn’t see the ball very well those first couple pitches,” he said. “I saw it good the third time.”

McMahon belted the third straight slider from Cosgrove for his sixth homer in 16 games. As it soared through the raindrops on its way to hitting the upper deck in right field, the intensity of the storm soared with it.

As soon as McMahon’s game-tying drive settled into the seats, the contest went into a delay.

When play resumed, Padres reliever Brent Honeywell got the first two outs before Jones stepped to the plate. The 25-year-old outfielder/first baseman had already impressed during the homestand, launching a 483-foot homer earlier in the week and stealing a base in four consecutive games.

But, as with McMahon, none of that mattered in this moment. And Jones made the most of it, demolishing a Honeywell changeup nearly as far as his earlier clout to clinch the most electric Rockies victory of 2023.

With veteran stars like Blackmon, Kris Bryant and C.J. Cron sidelined for a team in search of its next chapter, the poetic “symmetry,” as Black called it, was not lost on Jones.

“It’s really freakin’ fun,” Jones said. “The past couple of days not having gone the way we wanted … it’s huge.”

As for Blackmon, the face of the franchise for more than a decade and one of the most beloved players in Rockies history, having to miss the next four to six weeks will be difficult. But at least he gets to watch what the future might look like for his ballclub while he sits.

“It’s really fun to see,” Blackmon said. “On paper, we don’t really have anything close to Plan A right now. But I’d say our Plan B is looking good.”

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