Kendrick Cruises, Arenado and Blackmon Homer, Colorado Rockies Win 6-4


May 22, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick (38) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies and Cincinnati Reds met for the rubber game of their three-game set Wednesday afternoon at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. 

4. 61. 6. 108. Final

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Kyle Kendrick cruised in a phenomenal start, and Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon each hit early home runs to push the Colorado Rockies to a big lead off Cincinnati Reds’ starter Mike Leake, as the Rox won 6-4 on Wednesday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.

The game got close – and scary, for the Rockies – in the eighth inning, but good relief work by Rafael Betancourt and John Axford sealed the victory for the Rockies.

The Rockies got started early, when in the top of the first inning, Nolan Arenado slugged a three-run home run (his tenth of the season) off Reds’ starter Mike Leake, scoring Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki.

The club could’ve gotten more that inning, had Charlie Blackmon not been thrown out stealing third base before Arenado’s at-bat, though Blackmon initially appeared safe despite the call.

Nevertheless, the Rockies took a quick 3-0 lead before Kyle Kendrick even took the mound, and at least in the bottom of the first, it looked like the Rockies were going to need all the runs they could get.

Todd Frazier homered off Kendrick to make it a 3-1 game, immediately causing concern for a pitcher who entered the game 1-6 with a 6.58 ERA, but to Kendrick’s credit, he settled down and was masterful after the solo shot.

The Rockies got two more runs in the second inning when Charlie Blackmon hit a two-run bomb off Leake to score DJ LeMahieu, taking advantage of weather conditions that had the ball carrying pretty well early in the game.

The Rockies would push another run across in the fifth inning, when Ben Paulsen singled to drive in Carlos Gonzalez, who got a pair of hits himself on the afternoon.

Leake would be done for the Reds after five innings, allowing the six runs on nine hits and two walks across 95 pitches.

Kendrick cruised until the 8th inning, when he finally got into some trouble and allowed a solo home run to Tucker Barnhart, followed by a bloop single by Billy Hamilton and a walk to Skip Schumaker. He finished the day tossing 7.1 innings, allowing just five hits and a walk, though he was charged with four runs of tough luck, pitching far better than his final line score.

With the score 6-2, and Joey Votto due up, Kendrick was pulled in favor of Boone Logan to face the Reds’ lefty slugger with two men on and one out in the inning.

Logan walked Votto to load the bases – and then stayed on to face righty Frazier and walked, him, too – to bring in a run and make it a 6-3 game. Then, Jay Bruce stepped up against Logan with the bases still loaded in a three-run game that suddenly seemed much closer than it had at any point earlier in the day.

Bruce hit a high pop up to shallow left field that dropped between Brandon Barnes and Arenado, and a run scored to make it a 6-4 game with the Reds gaining momentum.

Logan was relieved in favor of Rafael Betancourt, who induced two fly outs to keep a two-run cushion for the Rockies entering the ninth inning.

In the bottom of the ninth, John Axford came on for the Rockies to try to close things out, and had a perfect inning to seal the deal for Colorado.

Kendrick improved to 2-6 with the win, while Axford recorded his eighth save of the season. Leake fell to 2-4 with the loss.

More from Rox Pile

The Rockies will enjoy an off-day Thursday in Philadelphia after playing for nearly two weeks straight and dealing with multiple rain delays, to boot.

Then, the club will see three games this weekend with the Phillies at Citizen’s Bank Park.

That series begins Friday night, and as always, we’ll be here and on Twitter to cover it and everything else related to the Colorado Rockies as they continue their road trip.