Colorado Rockies Use Gray, Long Ball for Win
By Kevin Henry
After being whacked around by the Boston Red Sox and their powerful offense in the first two games of a three-game set at Fenway Park, the Colorado Rockies were finally able to flex their own offensive muscles on Thursday night.
Carlos Gonzalez, Trevor Story and Dustin Garneau all hit homers during a two-inning offensive barrage and Jon Gray had a much-needed quality outing from a Colorado starter as the Rockies wrapped up their nine-game road trip with an 8-2 decision in Boston.
Gray was spectacular down the stretch in his 95-pitch performance that spanned 7.1 innings. After the Red Sox jumped out to a 2-0 lead at the end of the first inning on a homer by the ageless David Ortiz, Gray settled in and delivered one of his best outings of the season, scattering five hits and striking out six.
Not only was the 7.1 innings a career-high for Gray, it was also the longest a Rockies starter had gone in an interleague game since Aaron Cook hurled against the Angels in 2010.
With his slider working, Gray kept the Red Sox offense off balance, something Colorado pitchers had been unable to do the previous two nights as Boston rolled up 18 runs.
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While Gray was handcuffing Major League Baseball’s most explosive team, the Colorado offense finally solved Clay Buchholz in a big way. The right-hander needed just 29 pitches to get through the first three innings, but things shifted dramatically in the fourth.
Charlie Blackmon opened the inning with a single and Gonzalez proved he was back to being a hitting machine by using what looked like a golf swing to send a 2-1 pitch into the Colorado bullpen and tie the game at 2-2.
The Colorado Rockies took control of the game in the top of the fifth, opening the inning with four straight hits. A single by Gerardo Parra set up Trevor Story to send a blast over the Green Monster to give the Rockies a 4-2 edge. Before Red Sox fans could stop shaking their heads over Story’s long blast, Daniel Descalso singled and Dustin Garneau belted a 1-1 pitch off the light tower by Fenway’s iconic wall for his first homer of the season and a 6-2 Colorado advantage.
In all, Colorado pieced together 12 hits on the night, with Gonzalez, Blackmon, Parra, Descalso, and Garneau each collecting two hits. Colorado’s 6-9 hitters in the lineup (Parra, Story, Descalso, and Garneau) finished 7-for-16 with four RBI.
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Colorado (22-24) finished its nine-game road trip with a 3-6 record. The Rockies return home on Friday night and hop back into National League West play with a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants.