A look at how the Colorado Rockies went from playoff afterthoughts to NL champions and winners of 21 of 22 games in exactly one month:
Sept. 15 at Denver: Marlins 10, Rockies 2
The Rockies lose their second straight game to the sub-.500 Marlins to start a pivotal homestand. Inexperienced pitchers Ubaldo Jimenez and Juan Morillo combine to allow nine runs in 3 2-3 innings and the Rockies fall to 76-72. That puts them 4 1/2 games behind the San Diego Padres for the wild-card lead, 6 1/2 games back of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West.
Sept. 16 at Denver: Rockies 13, Marlins 0
ed to get some help.''
Sept. 17: Off day
The Padres beat the Pirates 3-0 to take a five-game lead in the wild-card race. Colorado has just 13 games left.
Sept. 18 at Denver: Rockies 3, Dodgers 1, and Rockies 9, Dodgers 8
Jeff Francis strikes out a career-high 10 in the opener of the doubleheader. In the nightcap, the Rockies are down to their last strike when Todd Helton hits a no-doubt, two-run homer off Dodgers closer Takashi Saito to give Colorado a stunning victory. After the sweep, the Rockies and Dodgers are both 4 1/2 games behind San Diego. ``I think our playoff chances went out today in Coors Field,'' Dodgers manager Grady Little says.
Sept. 19 at Denver: Rockies 6, Dodgers 5
Another night, another curtain call. Brad Hawpe hits a two-run homer in the eighth inning and the Rockies rally to beat the despairing Dodgers, passing them in the wild-card race. The Rockies still believe there's time to sneak into the postseason. ``Why not?'' Hawpe says. ``We're still within good striking distance.''
Sept. 20 at Denver: Rockies 9, Dodgers 4
Colorado finishes an improbable sweep of Los Angeles, getting home runs from Matt Holliday and Troy Tulowitzki. With San Diego winning its seventh straight, 6-3 over Pittsburgh, the Rockies remain 4 1/2 back in the wild-card race.
Sept. 21 at San Diego: Rockies 2, Padres 1, 14 innings
Brad Hawpe hits a two-out home run in the 14th and the Rockies outlast the Padres. Manny Corpas blows his first save chance since taking over as closer, giving up a solo homer to Adrian Gonzalez in the ninth that forces extra innings. Rookie pitcher Franklin Morales more than matches Cy Young Award favorite Jake Peavy, throwing six innings of one-hit ball for Colorado, which climbs within 3 1/2 games of San Diego.
Sept. 22 at San Diego: Rockies 6, Padres 2
Make that six in a row for the Rockies, who get four hits and two RBIs from Brad Hawpe and 4 2-3 innings of one-hit, scoreless relief from their bullpen to move to 2 1/2 games behind the Padres.
Sept. 23 at San Diego: Rockies 7, Padres 3
The wild-card race turns absolutely bizarre. Milton Bradley tears a knee ligament when Padres manager Bud Black spins him to the ground to keep him from going after first base umpire Mike Winters. Bradley claims Winters baited him, and Winters is later suspended for the rest of the season. Bradley is out for the year. The Rockies climb to 1 1/2 back with the win, which finishes off a sweep of the Padres.
Sept. 24: Off day
The Padres lose 9-4 in San Francisco, allowing the Rockies to climb within a game in the wild-card chase.
Sept. 25 at Los Angeles: Rockies 9, Dodgers 7
Rookie shortstop Troy Tulowitzki homers to drive in the tying and go-ahead runs, and the Rockies eliminate the Dodgers from postseason contention in front of their home fans. The Rockies remain a game behind the Padres.
Sept. 26 at Los Angeles: Rockies 2, Dodgers 0
Josh Fogg slays a dragon, outpitching Derek Lowe with 6 2-3 innings of five-hit ball, and the Rockies set a franchise record with their 10th straight win. Colorado remains tied with Philadelphia, one game behind San Diego in the wild-card race. The Rockies move within two games of NL West-leading Arizona with four to play. ``The goal we set coming out of spring training was to win the division,'' manager Clint Hurdle said. ``We've never turned our back on that.''
Sept. 27 at Los Angeles: Rockies 10, Dodgers 4
This time, it's Garrett Atkins leading the way with four hits and one of three home runs for the Rockies. Colorado is two games behind Arizona, one behind San Diego and heading home to Coors Field to end the regular season after the best road trip in franchise history. Next up, the Diamondbacks.
Sept. 28 at Denver: Diamondbacks 4, Rockies 2
h a couple breaks.''
Sept. 29 at Denver: Rockies 11, Diamondbacks 1
It's almost over before the Rockies take the field, as the Padres are one strike from clinching a playoff spot when Milwaukee's Tony Gwynn Jr. hits a tying triple in the ninth off closer Trevor Hoffman. The Brewers beat the Padres in 11 innings. Then the Rockies roll, scoring 11 runs in the first five innings. Troy Tulowitzki hits a grand slam in the fifth to help keep Colorado alive with one game remaining.
Sept. 30 at Denver: Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 3
The Rockies get some help from the Brewers and make it count when batting champion Matt Holliday sparks a three-run rally in the eighth with a single and Manny Corpas withstands a two-run ninth. The win sets up a one-game tiebreaker for the wild card with San Diego at Coors Field. Momentum is nice, Holliday says, but it won't matter come Monday. ``I don't think anything will help us tomorrow other than going out and getting hits off Jake Peavy,'' he says.
Oct. 1 at Denver: Rockies 9, Padres 8, 13 innings
sacrifice fly to right by Jamey Carroll. Did Holliday actually touch home plate? It might never be clear, but the Rockies are going to the playoffs for the first time since 1995.
Oct. 3 at Philadelphia: Rockies 4, Phillies 2
No one is much talking about the Rockies after their win in Game 1 of the division series. Most of the talk is about Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard going a combined 0-for-11 with eight strikeouts. Matt Holliday homers and Jeff Francis strikes out eight batters in six innings. ``Who would've thought a good old-fashioned National League game would break out in this ballpark?'' manager Clint Hurdle says.
Oct. 4 at Philadelphia: Rockies 10, Phillies 5
Clint Hurdle decides to pinch hit for starter Franklin Morales in the fourth inning. Pinch-hitter Seth Smith squibs a single on the infield grass, and Kaz Matsui follows with a grand slam off Kyle Kendrick. ``We believe we're going to win every game,'' Hurdle says. ``We've been playing in the loser's bracket for a month.''
Oct. 6 at Denver: Rockies 2, Phillies 1
f Baker's two-out single in the eighth off J.C. Romero wins it.
Oct. 11 at Phoenix: Rockies 5, Diamondbacks 1
Brandon Webb tries to beat the Rockies for the second time during their otherwise unbeatable streak, but it's Jeff Francis who shines. Rowdy fans disrupt the game by throwing bottles on the field after Justin Upton is called out for interference after sliding hard into Kaz Matsui at second base, but nothing can stop the Rockies, who win for the 18th time in 19 games. Webb pitches well, but loses. ``It was just bloops over short and second,'' he says. ``It was tough luck. There's really nothing you can do.''
Oct. 12 at Phoenix: Rockies 3, Diamondbacks 2, 11 innings
Willy Taveras makes a diving catch in the seventh inning to preserve a lead, then walks with the bases loaded against closer Jose Valverde in the 11th to drive in the winning run. Manny Corpas recovers after blowing the lead in the ninth - and it could have been worse; Stephen Drew gets caught off second base when he doesn't realize he was called safe. He could have been the winning run.
Oct. 14 at Denver: Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 1
Catcher Yorvit Torrealba, often overlooked in the Rockies' starting lineup, hits a three-run homer off Livan Hernandez and Josh Fogg does the rest, pitching six strong innings in the cold rain to give Colorado a 3-0 lead in the series. ``One pitch, one bad pitch all night,'' laments Arizona catcher Miguel Montero.
Oct. 15 at Denver: Rockies 6, Diamondbacks 4
For the second time in Franklin Morales' two postseason starts, Clint Hurdle pinch hits for the pitcher in the fourth inning with Seth Smith. This time, Smith's blooper lands in short left for a two-run double. And again, Kaz Matsui follows with a run-scoring hit, this time a single. Matt Holliday provides the major blow with a three-run homer, and the Rockies advance to the World Series for the first time in their 15-season history.

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