After a slow start on a frigid night in downtown Denver, the Colorado Rockies rediscovered their offense on Tuesday night, using two later-inning long balls to help record a 6-2 decision over the visiting Houston Astros.
You can say “Coors Field” all you want when you read about a pair of homers boosting the Rockies to a win, but a 431-foot home run from catcher Dom Nunez in the seventh and a 381-foot homer off the bat of C.J. Cron one inning later had enough power to do damage at any altitude.
Let’s take a look at three numbers that stood out from the Colorado Rockies win over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
For the second time this season, Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jon Gray celebrated a career milestone on the mound.
On Tuesday night, as the fourth frame wound down, Gray had hurled his 700th inning in a Rockies uniform. He became the eighth pitcher to throw at least 700 innings for Colorado, along with Aaron Cook, Jorge De La Rosa, Jeff Francis, Jason Jennings, Ubaldo Jimenez, Pedro Astacio, and Jamey Wright.
The number seems to be lucky for Gray this season as the 700-inning mark matches the 700th career strikeout Gray collected on April 8. The right-hander became the fifth pitcher in franchise history to record at least 700 strikeouts in his career (joining De La Rosa, Jimenez, Astacio, and Francis).
Gray not only reached a milestone on Tuesday, but also continued his strong 2021 campaign. Gray’s 104-pitch outing was his most of the season and marked the third time in four starts that he had allowed just one run. Against Houston, Gray scattered three hits over 6.2 innings and worked around four walks with a pair of double plays and keeping the ball on the ground, with Houston batters registering 11 ground outs to just two fly outs.
How about one other historical note on Gray’s outing? On Tuesday, he became the first Rockies pitcher in franchise history to allow three or fewer hits in at least 6.2 innings pitched in consecutive starts at Coors Field within the same season.
That’s the number of home runs hit this season by Nunez, who is showing that Colorado can actually produce some power behind the plate. Additionally, Nunez can do it with some flair.
How big is the power for Nunez through 17 games for Colorado? In 2020, Rockies catchers combined to hit just two home runs in 60 games. In 2019, that number was eight (including two from Nunez) in 162 games. Sure, there is still plenty of work for Nunez to do at the plate, but there are some encouraging signs (including a 102 OPS+ heading into Tuesday’s contest) as well for the 26-year-old catcher.
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Here’s something else about the number four and Nunez this season: Four of his six hits on the season are home runs.
Five is the number of RBI that Cron collected on Tuesday with a three-run homer and two-run double, all coming in the sixth inning and later. Cron had just three RBI all season heading into the game, and Tuesday’s homer was his first of the season. It was also his first home run since August 8, 2020, after his 2020 campaign with Detroit was shortened by injury.
Tuesday marked the first time Cron had had five RBI in a game since July 2, 2016, when he was a member of the Los Angeles Angels, and fifth time in his career.
On the season, Cron is now 5-for-12 (.417) with runners in scoring position.