Colorado Rockies morning after: Jon Gray dazzles as Rox close gap

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 24: Jon Gray #55 of the Colorado Rockies walks off the field after a bases loaded strikeout to end the inning after the top of the first inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Coors Field on September 24, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 24: Jon Gray #55 of the Colorado Rockies walks off the field after a bases loaded strikeout to end the inning after the top of the first inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Coors Field on September 24, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

Take your pick of happy thoughts this morning, Colorado Rockies fans. Jon Gray pitched a tremendous game and the Rockies offense came through in a big way to open the homestand. Oh, and the Rockies are now just a half-game out of the National League Wild Card chase.

No, Gray was not overpowering on Monday night in terms of posting a huge amount of strikeouts as we have seen him do in the past. However, he did exactly what the Colorado Rockies needed him to do on short notice in a critical series opener against the Philadelphia Phillies.

After a first inning that threatened to take the energy right out of Coors Field, the Rockies right-hander settled in and paced the home team to a 10-1 decision over the Phillies before 30,336 fans in LoDo.

Colorado’s win, coupled with a loss by the St. Louis Cardinals at home to the Milwaukee Brewers, pulled the Rockies within a half-game of St. Louis for the second National League Wild Card spot.

Gray even helped himself at the plate, drawing a bases-loaded walk in the third inning as part of a five-run inning that was fueled by three consecutive walks and a wild pitch uncorked by reliever Austin Davis.

In his first start since being mauled by the Dodgers in Los Angeles and having his turn skipped in a three-game series in the desert against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Gray showed resolve and the fortitude to keep the Phillies from ever mounting a serious threat after the first inning.

More from Rox Pile

Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Philadelphia in the first but Gray came back to strike out Aaron Altherr on three pitches.

"“It was great. That was the best part of the game for me,” Gray said afterwards about getting out of the first inning unscathed. “Just getting out of there early. That’s what I have struggled with a lot, being in that type of situation and getting out. It feels good. That had a lot to do with the rest of the game too.”"

Yes, that first-inning escape would be a sign of things to come for Gray.

A two-out walk to Roman Quinn in the second was erased when Gray picked him off first. A leadoff single by Cesar Hernandez in the third was quickly wiped off by a double play, the start of six consecutive hitters retired by Gray.

Gray held a shutout until the seventh inning when Rhys Hoskins belted a 2-1 pitch over the left field fence. It was just the fourth hit of the night surrendered by Gray, and just the second after the completion of the opening inning.

He finished the night with seven strikeouts, including the final two batters he faced. Of his 105 pitches, 68 went for strikes. Consider that Gray needed 54 pitches to get through the first three innings. He needed just 51 to finish the final four.

On the offensive side, the five-run third put the Rockies on their way but a two-run homer by David Dahl in the fourth not only gave the fans their beloved taco’s but also put an exclamation mark on a solid offensive showing. Dahl’s homer was the first for the Rockies since Charlie Blackmon’s fifth-inning shot in Los Angeles on Tuesday night.

Also, Trevor Story continued his historic season by becoming just the fourth shortstop in National League history to have 80 extra-base hits in a season. With a pair of doubles, he joined MLB’s elite company with Jimmy Rollins, Hanley Ramirez and Ernie Banks.

He also said after the game he felt no effects from his first game back in the lineup since suffering an elbow injury in Los Angeles on September 17.

Next. Taking a look at the Rockies who didn't get a September call-up. dark

"“You never know how you’re going to be after a few days off for something like that,” Story told Rox Pile and other reporters after the game. “I just tried to keep it simple and get something over the middle of the plate I could hit and not try to do too much with it.”"

facebooktwitterreddit