DENVER - The crowd rose to their feet whether they were wearing purple or red to pay respect to Matt Holliday, a pillar of both the Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals.
But the man they call "Bid Daddy" wasn't stepping into the box thinking about a past that is more than worthy of celebration. He stepped in ready to show what he can still do.
In a game that had been a pitcher's duel of the highest order to that point, Holliday, after taking an ugly hack on a slider that bounced five feet in front of home plate, got ahold of a hanger and absolutely demolished it, launching a home run deep into the Denver night air.
It was Holliday's first home run for the Rockies in 3,635 days but his 129th overall for the club.
A slight hiccup from the bullpen meant it would not stand as the game-winner, but it was certainly the most memorable moment of the Rockies 9-1 win. It was a moment of old-school LoDo magic.
The other big offensive hero? Perfect for those who love irony. The man Holliday was traded for all those years ago, Carlos Gonzalez, had a three-hit night, including the one that blew the game open late.
Starter German Marquez was absolutely spectacular. He allowed just three singles, walked one batter, and never allowed a Cardinal baserunner to reach second all while striking out nine over seven innings.
It was arguably his best start of the season and came at a big moment in a contest between two teams who may find themselves battling it out for a Wild Card spot come season's end.
Striking out four batters in a row to end the fourth and begin the fifth.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, the Rockies still hadn't recorded a hit. But Carlos Gonzalez changed that with a hard grounder right back up the middle for a solid single. Nolan Arenado fell into a full count but drew a walk before Trevor Story did the same but on four pitches, loading the bases for David Dahl. But Dahl hit a grounder to second for an easy putout and the Rockies missed their first chance of the game.
Dahl got a chance for redemption in the sixth after the Rockies were gifted a baserunner on a ball that Harrison Bader appeared to lose in the lights, ending up as a double for Gonzalez. He moved up to third on a Story groundout but Dahl got just underneath a fastball, flying out to straightaway left.
But in the seventh, Holliday did his thing to finally break the scoreless tie.
The Cardinals finally got some offense brewing as soon as Marquez came out of the game. Colorado's best reliever, Adam Ottavino, hung a 2-2 slider just a bit too much to Bader and paid for it with a double into the right-center field gap. Greg Garcia followed with a bunt down the third base line that may have been intended to be a sacrifice but was placed perfectly.
Arenado made a nice play on the barehanded pickup but his throw brought DJ LeMahieu just off the bag at first (the call standing but not confirmed) after a review putting runners at the corners with nobody out.
Otto came back with a huge strikeout of Jedd Gyorko, bringing MVP-candidate Matt Carpenter to the plate in a big spot. During their battle, on a pitch that ran the count full, Garcia swiped second to take the traditional double play out of order. On the next pitch, he threw a slider in the dirt that got caught awkwardly underneath Wolters behind the plate.
Bader sprinted for home as the ball leaked just far enough away from the plate and scored the tying run.
Still in trouble with runners at first and third and one out, Ottavino escaped what could have been a far worse inning by getting Yadier Molina to pop out to second and striking out Jose Martinez on a filthy slider.
After a long, grind-it-out inning that could have been much worse for the home team, it took just three pitches in the bottom of the eighth for Colorado to re-take the lead.
LeMahieu offered at the second pitch he saw, pulling one through the left side for a single. And CarGo like the first pitch, slicing it hard into the opposite-field gap, scoring DJ all the way from first on his second consecutive double. Arenado watied until the third pitch of his at-bat to pull one passed the third baseman for a double of his own, plating Gonzalez and giving the Rockies a 3-1 lead.
But it wasn't over, not even close.
After a groundout from Story, Dahl finally got a big of revenge for those at-bats earlier, ripping a single up the middle to score Arenado. Ryan McMahon followed with a hard single through the right side and the Rockies got another bit of redemption when Wolters pulled a double down the left-field line, scoring Dahl and moving McMahon to third. You could tell he needed that after the defensive miscue.
Pinch-hitter Ian Desmond kept it going by bouncing a double by a pulled-in infield, scoring both McMahon and Wolters and coming around when Blackmon hammered a line drive into the pull gap for the Rockies fifth double and eighth hit in the inning.
It still wasn't over.
LeMahieu singled, for the second time in the inning, to score Blackmon. Things got really ugly when Carpenter mishandled a ball that should have turned into an inning-ending double play off the bat of Gonzalez, and everyone was safe.
Arenado singled up the middle in the next at-bat but Stu Cole held LeMahieu at third meaning no further runs were scored and Story and Dahl made the final two outs of the inning.
When the dust had settled, the Rockies had plated eight runs in the inning and held a 9-1 lead.
Seunghwan Oh pitched a top of the ninth that was mostly a formality and struck out a pair in front of a flyout to left to end it.
Colorado improves to 71-58 and remains one game back of first place in the NL West.
German Marquez: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K
Adam Ottavino: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
Seunghwan Oh: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
Matt Holliday: 1-for-1, 1 R, 1 RBI (HR: 1)
Carlos Gonzalez: 3-for-5, 1 R, 1 RBI
DJ LeMahieu: 2-for-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB
Charlie Blackmon: 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 RBI
Ryan McMahon: 1-for-4, 1 R
Tony Wolters: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 RBI
The final game of the series between these two teams is set for Sunday afternoon at Coors Field. Tyler Anderson looks to improve upon the positive signs from his last outing and will take on lefty Austin Gomber. The southpaw on the hill means a likely start for Matt Holliday. First pitch at 1:10 Mountain Time.