DENVER (AP) -The Colorado Rockies rely on catcher Yorvit Torrealba's calming influence and easygoing manner behind the plate.
If he contributes at the plate as well, that's just fine, too.
Torrealba hit a two-out, three-run homer in the sixth inning to break open the game as the Rockies beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-1 in Game 3 of the NL championship series on Sunday night to move within a game of sweeping the series.
After homering off Arizona starter and good friend Livan Hernandez in the sixth inning, Torrealba's exuberance was on display. He pumped his fist in the air as he rounded first base and was mobbed by teammates near the dugout.
The crowd cheered loudly for Torrealba and didn't quiet down until he popped his head out of the dugout for a curtain call. Torrealba's homer was his first of the postseason.
``I was so happy,'' he said. ``I was thinking, 'Is this real?'''
It was.
And with his homer, Torrealba adds his name to the growing list of unlikely heroes to contribute to the Rockies' success.
Torrealba also had a clutch home run against San Diego's Jake Peavy to help the Rockies beat the Padres in the 163rd game to reach postseason play.
``It sure seems like in the big games he's able to step up and perform,'' outfielder Matt Holliday said.
Torrealba also had a double Sunday night and is 8-for-21 so far in the postseason. He may be the least-known name in the Rockies' lineup, but he's leading the team in playoff hits.
Not that Colorado's pitchers care about how he hits.
``We as a pitching staff love that guy,'' reliever Matt Herges said. ``He's a thinker. He could go 0-for-20 behind the plate and it wouldn't even matter.''
Torrealba realizes his primary role is to settle down the pitching staff in times of crisis.
And he's good at it. He'll jog out and say a comforting word to a pitcher on the mound or just simply motion to a pitcher that he is dipping his shoulder too much.
His Rockies have a 1.77 ERA through six postseason games.
``He's on the same page with all of us,'' reliever Ryan Speier said. ``You just trust whatever he calls. He's great back there.''
Josh Fogg said Torrealba is always quick with a joke or a witty remark.
``He'll come out and tell you that you made a bad pitch and you got lucky,'' said Fogg, who went six innings, giving up seven hits, to earn the win Sunday night. ``You love having him back there. You just take his ribbing when he gives it to you.''
Torrealba's homer came at the expense of Hernandez, his good friend from their days together in San Francisco.
Hernandez knew better than to throw an inside fastball.
``It was the last pitch I wanted to throw,'' Hernandez said.
But Hernandez was out of options. He threw everything he could think of to Torrealba during the at-bat, including a slow curve that registered 60 mph on the radar gun. Torrealba patiently waited for a pitch he could hit and then drove a 3-2 fastball into the left-field bleachers.
``It was kind of crazy,'' Torrealba said. ``He left it down the middle and I just reacted to it.''
Torrealba, who usually bats eighth in the order, hit .255 in the regular season with eight homers and 47 RBIs.
Yet no matter what he does at the plate, he'll be known more for what he does behind it.
``I've had a lot of wonderful catchers, but Torre ranks up there,'' Herges said. ``He's such a calming influence. I love to see him back there.''

Top MLB Public Bets

MLB Top Stories

Thumbnail Bautista re-signs, Blue Jays 30/1 Jose Bautista is heading back to Toronto on a one-year deal. What are the current odds of the Blue Jays to win the World Series?
Thumbnail Jays, Bautista could be close to deal Could the Blue Jays be nearing a new deal with slugger Jose Bautista?
Thumbnail Red Sox favored to win AL Pennant The Boston Red Sox are favored to win the 2017 American League Pennant, while the defending champs have the next-best odds.
Thumbnail Updated 2017 NL Pennant Odds The Chicago Cubs remain favored to win the 2017 National League Pennant at 9/5, but which team is listed second?
Thumbnail Cubs remain World Series Favorites The Cubs remain favored to win the 2017 World Series while the Red Sox have the next-best odds according to oddsmakers.
Advertisement

MLB Team Pages