Colorado Rockies Thrash Reds, Set Records To Even Series
After dropping an embarrassing series opener to the Cincinnati Reds at Coors Field Monday night, the Colorado Rockies came back with an offensive vengeance Tuesday.
The old saying “Don’t get mad. Get even” is the best way I know how to summarize the Rockies-Reds game tonight. After being humiliated by one of the worst teams in baseball on Monday, the Rockies had something to prove. They could have hung their heads and limped their way through the rest of the series, but instead they came out and gave the Reds a whooping they won’t soon forget. Let’s take a look at how they did it.
Chuck Nazty is fun to watch no matter the situation, but tonight he accomplished something no Colorado Rockies player ever has: leading off two consecutive games with a home run. That’s impressive for a guy who isn’t necessarily known for his power hitting. Even more impressive was the grand slam he hit later in the game, tying his career high for RBI (5) and the Rockies’ franchise record for home runs in a single game (7). It was also the most homers they’ve ever hit at home. And it was one of the most exciting dingers I’ve ever witnessed in person, because it felt so unlikely and yet so inevitable at the same time. Baseball is fun, guys.
Not to be outdone by his predecessor in the lineup, LeMahieu nearly hit for the cycle tonight. He hit a double in the first, a home run in the second, a single in the fouth, and a double in the sixth that would have been a triple if Jay Bruce hadn’t kept it from rolling further into right field than it did. LeMahieu later had one more shot at the cycle but walked instead. You couldn’t have asked for more from him than he gave. His four hits and three extra-base hits were both personal bests.
Arenado saw Blackmon’s two homers and said, “I can do that too.” He now has 16 round-trippers on the year, tied with Chicago’s Todd Frazier. He also made a defensive play in the sixth that mostly went overlooked because he made it look so easy, but he essentially had to backhand the ball with his glove in order to throw out our old friend Jordan Pacheco.
There’s never been a home run party that CarGo didn’t want to be a part of, so naturally he joined in on this one. His homer came in the second, and he also collected two more hits and another RBI. He’s now hit homers in four straight games and five of his last six contests.
The only man in the starting lineup without a hit, Story was replaced by Tony Wolters (go figure, huh?) in the eighth. But I think we can forgive Story for having a tough game since it turns out he wasn’t really needed.
As if LeMahieu’s near-cycle wasn’t enough, Parra came along and fell a triple short of his own. He doubled in the first, homered in the third, and singled in the fifth before grounding into a double play to end the sixth. His final at-bat was a sacrifice fly to tack on another RBI.
Descalso earned his start tonight with his 4-RBI game on Monday. Despite a defensive miscue, he still contributed at the plate, driving in a run during the Rockies five-run first inning. He would score in that inning too.
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Perhaps Wolters’ most noteworthy feat in this game was his switch from catcher to shortstop. Kind of a random move given Descalso’s ability to play short and Mark Reynolds sitting on the bench, but this struck me as the kind of situation where you put a position player on the mound: The game is in the bag either for or against you, and there’s no reason to get too particular about who plays where. Wolters didn’t really get noticed in this game for his offense since he didn’t hit a home run, but he did have his first career three-hit game.
I’d be remiss not to mention the quiet, solid performance by our starting pitcher.
Gray’s outing really isn’t what won this game … that was the 17 runs the Rockies scored. But how encouraging to see Gray handle the Reds’ lineup, especially after what it did to all the Rockies’ pitchers yesterday? Gray did give up a pair of solo homers toward the end of his outing. Otherwise, he was nearly flawless.
His most challenging moment came in the third when he beaned opposing pitcher John Moscot with no outs and a runner on 1st. This clearly shook up Gray, understandably so, and he lost the strike zone for a while. After walking the next two batters (if you’re keeping score at home, that means he walked in a run), he settled down and got two strikeouts and a groundout from the middle of the order to end the inning. That’s just filthy. He could easily have gone completely off the rails there and allowed that lineup to mash, but he didn’t. A step forward in maturity for Jon Gray.
Next: Jose Reyes Set to Return, Reports to Triple-A
What a fun game! The four-game series continues tomorrow night.