Just how bad did the Colorado Rockies need a game like the one they put together on Monday night? The smiles on the faces of Nolan Arenado and Jon Gray said it all.
Jon Gray limited the Los Angeles Dodgers to one run over eight masterful innings and Nolan Arenado, David Dahl and the Colorado Rockies offense showed up in force as Colorado started a six-game homestand with a 9-1 victory.
In a season where the Colorado offense and pitching have rarely appeared together on the same night, Monday was a breath of fresh air throughout the Colorado lineup, dugout and even those purple-clad fans who made up some of the 43,574 folks in attendance at 20th and Blake.
Gray not only dominated but got the offense to back him up, thanks in part to a five-run fifth-inning explosion keyed by Arenado’s two-run single. Arenado’s expression of happiness said it all as he, for the moment, broke free from what has been a long slump.
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Arenado’s 2-for-4 performance marked his first multi-hit game since July 13, a span of 15 games. That was the second-longest streak of his career with having multiple hits in a contest, with the last dating back to July of 2013.
Gray, meanwhile, pitched a season-high eight innings. It was the third time in his career he had gone at least eight innings. His scattering of three hits allowed him to earn his 10th win of the season. With the victory, he became the first Rockies pitcher in franchise history to record four consecutive 10-win campaigns.
And he did it in his first start since having to leave a road game in Washington after just four innings with a right calf contusion suffered on a comebacker. After giving up five runs in six innings on April 6 at Coors Field against the Dodgers, Gray had already bounced back with a solid effort (6.2 innings, seven hits, two earned runs) against L.A. on June 29. However, the Gray Wolf was hungry for more and this date was circled on his calendar.
"“First game back at home against the Dodgers is important,” Gray told Rox Pile and other media members after the game. “I really needed to rematch these guys. I wanted to come in here and give our team a chance to win. Really fight hard.“We responded great, man, tonight. We did. That was the Rockies tonight. I felt like we really came alive there and I want to see more of that.”"
How confident was Gray on Monday night? The smile said it all.
At 50-57, the Rockies need much more of what they saw on Monday night. More stellar pitching that saves the bullpen from having to pitch too much. More timely hitting from up and down the lineup (Dahl is on a seven-game hitting streak with his 432-foot blast in the eighth inning and Ian Desmond went 3-for-3). More of what made the Rockies a playoff team over the last two seasons.
And more smiles as well. The Rockies had been looking for something positive on both sides of the plate for quite some time. On Monday night, it finally happened.