DENVER – Huston Street sat by himself in the dugout, staring stone-faced onto the field. There was nothing more he could do but watch the season end.
The Colorado Rockies’ closer squandered a two-run lead in the ninth inning and took his second consecutive loss when the Philadelphia Phillies rallied for a 5-4 victory Monday to advance to the NL championship series.
Street gave up Ryan Howard’s tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the ninth inning of Colorado’s 6-5 loss Sunday night. He was even worse in Game 4 – and now the Rockies have no chance to recover.
“You’re numb,” Street said. “It’s not even reality. It’s almost as if you lose focus and you’re just there.”
Reliable all season, Street came in with a 4-2 cushion Monday. By the time he took a seat on the bench, Colorado was trailing by one.
Street gave up a two-run double to Howard and the go-ahead single to Jayson Werth, all with two outs. After allowing Werth’s single, Street was pulled from the game and trudged off the mound, a stunned look on his face.
“You don’t hurt for yourself,” he said. “You hurt for your teammates, for the opportunity that we lost. For me, I can handle the losing.”
Soon after arriving inside the clubhouse, Street watched video of his pitch sequence to Howard. He wanted to see if he made a mistake or if Howard simply hit a quality pitch.
“Was it a good pitch to Howard? No, it wasn’t my best pitch,” Street said. “It wasn’t painted on the knees at the black. But it was down and it was out. He’s a good hitter. Sometimes you get beat.”
While Street struggled on the mound, cleanup hitter Troy Tulowitzki couldn’t come through with the game resting on his bat.
Tulowitzki flied out to end Game 3. Given another opportunity Monday, he fanned on a pitch from Brad Lidge that fooled him.
“It was a good pitch,” Tulowitzki said. “Tonight, I didn’t have an answer for those pitches.”
The pitch on Sunday, though, was a different story.
“That I’d like to have back,” he said.
Street had been nearly flawless all season, converting 35 of 37 save chances. But he missed the final month with soreness in his biceps tendon.
Was that a factor?
“Not one bit. I couldn’t have felt better coming into the post-season,” Street said.
On his way out of the clubhouse, Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd stopped by and gave Street an embrace, followed by some words of encouragement.
“We wouldn’t have gotten here without you. You just keep that in mind,” O’Dowd said. “I’m really proud of you.”
Sure, Street was disappointed with his performance. But he wasn’t despondent.
“I take full responsibility for there not being a Game 5 and not keeping us alive,” he said. “You just have to deal with it. If you play the game long enough, you’re going to get beat.”
Street also struggled on Sunday, but that loss came with a caveat: A blown call helped the Phillies score the go-ahead run.
Following the game, plate umpire Jerry Meals acknowledged that Chase Utley’s infield single should have been ruled a foul ball. Instead, the missed call led to Howard’s sacrifice fly.
In Game 4, Street simply got hit hard.
“That group battles you over there. They have my respect,” Street said. “I wish we could’ve played them one more.”
Yet the series is over, with Street taking the loss in each of the final two games.
“I think it’s foolish to forget,” he said. “I think that it’s also foolish to keep it with you. If you spend any of your energy at this point feeling sorry for yourself, it’s wasted energy. … When you get beat, you get beat. That’s what happened tonight.”