The ill-timed slump cut so deeply it even divided the players. They weren't sure how to view this spiral. Troy Tulowitzki spoke of unclenching the fist saying they should play like the ugly guy in the fight — with nothing to lose. Grizzled and bearded Todd Helton labeled it a must-win game. Then again he will be 40 next month and doesn't have a lot of games left.

In a season-shaping homestand the Rockies reached a defining moment in the seventh inning Wednesday night at Coors Field.

White-knuckling a two-run lead with bases loaded Wilton Lopez retired hulking Mike Stanton on a broken-bat groundball preserving a face-saving 2-1 victory over the Miami Marlins.

"It was definitely something for 'Lopie' to build on. He had good numbers against Stanton" Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "We needed to win tonight."

It's a temporary reprieve but it was better than the alternative of trying to articulate their lack of hitting and restrictive 100-pitch count.

The Rockies scored first on Nolan Arenado's line-drive single off the Marlins' latest fire-breathing young pitcher Jacob Turner. DJ LeMahieu plated Yorvit Torrealba with a fifth-inning sacrifice fly leaving the pitching staff to ration out hits or get saddled with another loss.

Jorge De La Rosa was brilliant allowing zero runs for the sixth time in 21 starts. However he wasn't as efficient as he would have liked. The rip cord was pulled at 96 pitches seven shy of his season high because he reinjured his left thumb while bunting. The Rockies have rigidly stuck to their plan of limiting their starters to about 100 pitches but Weiss said De La Rosa might have gone out for the seventh inning if not for the thumb issue.

"It was definitely possible he would stay in the game" Weiss said. "But the thumb solidified it. It has not carried over from start to start so hopefully he'll be OK."

Reliever Edgmer Escalona who has been inconsistent since a strong first two months entered. Dealing with an elbow issue he owned a 15.00 ERA in June and a 6.14 this month. He promptly allowed two hits and plunked a batter setting the stage for manager Walt Weiss to play the role of his mentor Tony La Russa.

Escalona struck out Adeiny Hechavarria on a full-count fastball. Left-hander Josh Outman replaced him fanning left-handed rookie Christian Yelich. That left Lopez with his confrontation of the season with Weiss wisely keeping Outman away from Stanton after Tuesday.

Stanton conjures up memories of Mike Piazza at Coors Field. Stanton is part health hazard part wrecking ball. In batting practice Monday he hit a home run off the Coca-Cola sign just to the left of the scoreboard. Outman jammed him Tuesday and Stanton still hit his seventh home run in nine games in Denver. Against that backdrop Lopez jogged to the mound.

He lost trust and his role earlier this year. But with closer Rafael Betancourt sidelined after an appendectomy everyone has moved up a rung. So it was Lopez's turn as the inning's third pitcher to attempt to record the third out. He missed with a fastball adding accompanying drama.

Then looking like the groundball pitcher acquired over the winter for Alex White Lopez threw a heavy sinker that ran in on Stanton's hands. He muscled a chopper to sure-handed Arenado who stepped on third base.