Jon Gray Dazzles But Colorado Bats Sputter in Loss
In the finest performance of his professional career, Jon Gray was once again the recipient of some unfortunate circumstances. This time, it was the inability of the Colorado Rockies to score when the opportunities presented themselves.
Gray struck out a career-high 11 batters and retired 16 consecutive Padres at one point but still couldn’t earn his first Major League win as the Rockies opened their three-game series in San Diego with a frustrating 2-1 loss.
Now winless in his 12 starts for the Rockies, Gray allowed the first four batters of the game to reach base and that would be enough for the San Diego offense. Jon Jay and Wil Myers opened the game with singles and Matt Kemp continued to torture the Rockies by doubling down the left field line to bring both runners home to give the Padres a quick 2-0 lead.
Following Kemp’s smash, Brett Wallace drew a walk but Gray settled down to strike out Alexei Ramirez and Derek Norris and get Jemile Weeks to fly out to right to end the frame.
“It’s something I’ve dealt with a lot lately,” said Gray about his first-inning problems as he has now given up five runs in three first-inning appearances. “I was just looking forward to the next guy. The only thing I could do was to get the next couple of guys out. I felt pretty good from then on out. I made a few corrections with my delivery.”
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Those corrections would spell the end of San Diego’s offense as Gray’s slider and fastball was dominant. He would strike out the side in the fifth on his way to his new career high in whiffs. In all, Gray threw 89 pitches, with 59 going for strikes.
“Jonny was outstanding,” said Colorado manager Walt Weiss. “Even in the runs they got in the first inning were well-placed hits. I thought he threw the ball extremely well. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t get him a win but if he pitches like that, he’s going to get a lot of wins.”
While Jon Gray was dominating the Padres, Colorado’s offense was getting its opportunities against James Shields. However, double plays ended the first and second innings and a poorly timed steal attempt of third base by DJ LeMahieu with two outs in the fifth inning but an end to another chance.
Colorado finally broke through in the fourth inning as Carlos Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado opened the frame with singles before Gerardo Parra grounded into yet another Rockies double play. CarGo moved to third on the play and Nick Hundley brought him home with a double to right-center to slice the San Diego lead to 2-1.
Colorado had its best chance to take the lead against Shields in the sixth when Parra and Hundley singled with two outs but Ben Paulsen’s deep fly to center field was caught on the warning track by Jay.
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“I’m disappointed in us offensively tonight,” Weiss said. “We didn’t do a very good job of in-game adjustments offensively and Shields isn’t going to give in. I felt like we could’ve done a much better job of adjusting to him in game.”
Colorado (12-13) will look to bounce back in the second game of the three-game series on Tuesday night with Eddie Butler making his first start of the campaign.