Colorado Rockies morning after: José Iglesias stays hot as Rox nab second straight series
By Duane DaPron
With the off-season departure of All-Star shortstop Trevor Story, Colorado Rockies fans wondered how—and if—anyone could fill the void left offensively and defensively by Story.
Not to worry.
Jose Iglesias has proven to be a more than adequate replacement with Story now in Boston.
On the heels of having driven in a career-high six runs on Wednesday night, José Iglesias plated two more—including the-go-ahead run with a sixth-inning double—as Colorado staved off San Diego 8-5 on Thursday afternoon to clinch a series victory against the Padres at Coors Field.
The victory by the Rox (41-49), their third straight after a series-opening loss to San Diego (50-41) on Monday night, gives Colorado six wins in its last eight games and follows a series victory (3 games to 1) on the road against Arizona.
Randal Grichuk, like Iglesias an off-season roster addition, chipped in three RBIs with a pair of run-producing doubles while recently named All-Star C.J. Cron had two hits and knocked in a run and Yonathan Daza tallied a pair of hits in the nine-hit Colorado attack.
Nine also represented the number of walks drawn by Rox hitters—a season high and the most since September 2019—against five San Diego hurlers, including six base on balls issued by Padres starter Blake Snell in just 3.2 innings. Leadoff hitter Connor Joe netted three walks for the Rox.
Iglesias, whose six RBIs on Wednesday night allowed him to join Story and Troy Tulowitzki as the third shortstop in franchise history to achieve the feat, drew a bases-loaded walk off Snell on Thursday to produce a run and give Colorado a 4-2 lead in the fourth inning (Kris Bryant would follow with another bases-loaded walk to up the cushion to 5-2).
After San Diego rallied to knot the score at 5-5 with three runs of its own in the fifth, Iglesias came up big again during a decisive three-run sixth inning for the Rockies.
After Joe drew a one-out, four-pitch walk then stole second base, Iglesias brought him home with a double to left field off Padres reliever Nabil Crismatt (5-2), who had surrendered a game-tying, two-out, three-run homer to the Rockies shortstop in the sixth inning Wednesday night in a game that Colorado rallied for a 10-6 victory.
Iglesias, who is now hitting .304 this season, has been on a tear recently at the plate. In his last six games, he is batting .458 (11 for 24) with three doubles, one homer and 10 RBIs.
His run-scoring double in the series opener with the Padres Monday night, was his 1,000th career hit. He is the 19th Cuban-born player in the Majors to accomplish that distinction.
Defensively, entering Thursday’s contest, Iglesias had made only seven errors this season in 280 chances over 633.0 innings for a nifty .975 fielding percentage. Against San Diego on Thursday, with runners on first and second bases in the top of the second inning, he snared a line drive and stepped on second to complete an unassisted double play to keep the game scoreless at the time.
Grichuk, who has shown signs recently of coming out of a hitting funk after breaking an 0-for-14 drought with a home run Tuesday night, put the finishing touches on Colorado’s three-run sixth inning with an RBI double to right field to give the home team a three-run advantage. The outfielder collected a two-run double down the right field line to give the Rockies an early 2-0 advantage in the second inning.
After Grichuk’s second RBI hit, Colorado’s bullpen made the three-run margin stand as Jhoulys Chacin (4-2), Jake Bird and Carlos Estevez teamed up to toss five scoreless innings in relief of starting lefthander Kyle Freeland. Estevez notched his first save of 2022 and first since Oct. 1, 2021, against Arizona.
Here are 3 things to like following the series win against the Padres:
1. Off and running
Colorado had a pair of stolen bases Thursday afternoon (Joe and Garrett Hampson) and the team now has nine steals in July. Entering this month, the Rockies had just 14 stolen baes in the 2022 campaign.
2. Conquering the West
The series finale with San Diego ended a span of 17 consecutive contests against National League West foes. The Rox went 10-7 in those games and are now 21-18 against their four West opponents this season while going 20-31 against all other opponents.
3. Catch and throw
After an errorless game in the field Thursday, the Rockies have committed just two fielding miscues in their last 21 games, the fewest in the Majors over that period. The squad had a 12-game errorless streak snapped on Friday—the second-longest in franchise history. Entering action Thursday, Colorado’s .997 fielding percentage in the last 20 games was tops in the Majors.
The Rockies continue their current homestand on Friday night with the opener of a three-game weekend series with Pittsburgh.
German Marquez (5-7, 5.66 earned run average) is scheduled to get the starting nod on the mound for the Rox while Jose Quintana is the listed starter for the Pirates. Game time is 6:40 p.m. (Mountain time) for the national broadcast of the game on Apple TV+.