We all remember those mid-'90s days at Mile High Stadium/Coors Field, when there was always a chance that balls would start flying out of the yard in unprecedented numbers. Shockingly, none of the records for combined home runs by two teams in a single game are held by the Rockies + somebody else. Still, there was something to that whole thin air/dry air/mountain-freshness-infused air notion that kept it from ever being just a myth. Fly balls travel a little further in Denver. And a little faster.
This game between the Rockies and Cubs was certainly a home run derby. The Rockies won 14-13, with a combined six home runs between the two teams. The Rox got things going after 4 scoreless innings, with back-to-back lead-off homers by Joe Girardi and Jerald Clark in the 5th. Charlie Hayes hit a 2-run bomb in the 6th, scoring Dante Bichette. The Cubs scored the first non-homer RBI when Mark Grace drove in Jose Vizcaino with a single. Grace contributed a 2-run single in the 7th, as did Willie Wilson, putting the Cubs up 5-4.
The Rockies answered that with a 6-run 8th inning. Poor Dan Plesac allowed those runs to cross the plate, though 2 were charged to Heathcliff Slocumb, who didn't record an out. Plesac intentionally walked Vinny Castilla and Eric Young to load the bases with 2 outs. Jim Tatum came to the plate, pinch-hitting for Alex Cole, worked a 10-pitch at-bat, and hit a grand slam.
The Cubbies weren't about to go quietly, though. Scott Frederickson, who had worked a scoreless 8th, came to the mound to try to finish things off and gave up back-to-back singles. Gary Wayne was called upon to get Mark Grace out, and he did. Then Darren Holmes came in to close it out. He walked Ryne Sandberg, then gave up an RBI groundout, an RBI double, and a 3-run home run to Sammy Sosa. Tied.
Things fell apart for Chicago in the 11th. Clark hit a 2-run double with 2 outs. Then Jose Vizcaino tried to go out on a short fly ball from Castilla and fudged the catch so bad that both Clark and Hayes (from 3rd) scored. Poor Chuck McElroy. Yeah, he allowed a few baserunners. But this loss can't really be blamed on him. If those unearned runs don't score, the Cubs win 13-12. Way to go Vizcaino.
The Cubs scored three more runs in that inning on, among other things, another homer from Sosa. But it wasn't enough for them to pull out the win.
And remember that thing I said about home run derbies at Coors? This one was played at the Friendly Confines folks. So there you have it.