DENVER -- On a night that Alex Rios was removed from a game because of a lack of hustle, his replacement couldn’t make the game-saving play in time.
Rios had already dropped a fly ball earlier in the game for an error so when Ozzie Guillen didn’t like the way he ran out he own fly ball in the seventh inning, the manager went with Brent Lillibridge in center field.
“I don’t like the way [Rios ran] the bases,” Guillen said. “And that’s message for everyone out there. They don’t run the bases, they don’t want to play or tired or hurt, that reputation comes with me and I have a great reputation in this [expletive] game to do it that way.”
The cruel irony was that while playing deep in the 13th inning the largest center field in the major leagues in order to prevent an extra-base hit, Lillibridge was trapped in no-man’s land and the Rockies won 3-2 on a fluky play.
Troy Tulowitzki was running from first base with two outs and a full count when Ty Wigginton blooped a ball into center field off Will Ohman. When Lillibridge finally got to the ball, Tulowitzki was reaching third base. Tulowitzki never stopped running and scored the game winner when Lillibridge’s throw home was wide.
“We’re playing no doubles in one of the biggest ballparks in this league,” Lillibridge said. “Once it stops I have to make sure. I can’t go in on a bare-hand sprint and miss the ball. I’m not going to make a mistake there. I’m going to make sure I get it.
“That’s a good call by the third-base coach there because he knew I had to break down and grab the ball. He knew where we were playing and stuff. He was aggressive about it. That’s just a weird, weird play. I’ve never seen it or have never been a part of.”
Afterward Guillen wasn’t upset with Lillibridge, but he was still furious with Rios.
“They don’t run the bases they’re out of the game,” Guillen said. “I don’t give a [expletive] if it’s [Paul] Konerko or Adam Dunn or anyone. If you don’t play the game right, you’re out of the game.”