Colorado Rockies: C.J. Cron does it again with key homer
By Duane DaPron
C.J. Cron didn’t need 500 feet of real estate to drive in some critical runs for the Colorado Rockies on Saturday night. In fact, he didn’t even need 460.
Cron smashed a pitch from Arizona pitcher Madison Bumgarner 457 feet into the chilly Rocky Mountain air for a go-ahead three-run home run as part of a four-run sixth inning in Colorado’s eventual 4-1 victory against the D-backs before a crowd of 27,871 at Coors Field.
The Colorado Rockies have won four in a row after Cron’s homer on Saturday
The come-from-behind victory extended the Colorado Rockies’ current winning streak to four games—just one less than their season high—and ensured a series victory against their National League West rival before Sunday’s series finale.
With Colorado (60-79) trailing 1-0 and Randal Grichuk and Yonathan Daza aboard with nobody out, Cron took advantage of a mistake from the veteran Arizona left-hander to register his 28th homer of the season and fourth in the past seven games.
“I didn’t expect to get that pitch,” Cron said of the 2-2 delivery from Bumgarner that ended up in the left centerfield seats. “I was just trying to get the runners in from second and third (bases). I kind of take pride in getting runners in when I can. I don’t think he (Bumgarner) wanted the pitch right there. Fortunately, he did and I put some wood on it.”
The homer was his second tape-measure blast in two nights, marking the 26th time in his career (10th as a Rockie and sixth time in 2022) that Cron has slugged homers in back-to-back games.
In the Rockies’ 13-10 victory in the series opener Friday night, the first baseman/designated hitter clubbed a mammoth 504-foot shot to left field. The roundtripper was the longest by a Colorado player as measured in Statcast history (since 2015) and matched the longest swatted in Coors Field history, equaling the 504-foot homer of Giancarlo Stanton (then with Miami) on Aug. 6, 2016. It was also the longest in the Majors this season.
Cron’s recent spurt of home runs comes after a period in which he had only three homers in the first 36 games of the second half of the season.
“Obviously, I wish I hadn’t slumped for a month and a half; that kind of sucks,” he said. “Just bad hitting, I guess. I don’t know. I feel a little bit more comfortable. I would still like to drive the ball a little bit more consistently. I think the homers are there but, after that, there isn’t much else. Hopefully, I can get back on track and finish strong.”
After Cron’s homer Saturday night gave the Rox a 3-1 lead, Colorado continued to put pressure on Bumgarner (6-14). Brendan Rodgers lined a double to center field before moving to third on another double by rookie Michael Toglia. Fellow rookie Sean Bouchard then lined a sacrifice fly to center field to drive in Rodgers to complete the four-run explosion.
The three-run cushion would prove to be enough as Justin Lawrence (3-1), Carlos Estevez and Daniel Bard combined for 3.2 innings of hitless relief to secure the win.
Lawrence came on in relief of starter Jose Ureña in the sixth inning with runners on first and second bases and one out. The right-hander got cleanup hitter Christian Walker to bounce into a 5-4-3 double play to end the D-Backs threat.
Bard navigated the final inning for his 29th save (in 32 opportunities) this season tying him for the seventh-most saves in the Majors and fourth-most in the NL. Ureña went the first 5.1 innings on the mound for the Rox and limited Arizona (65-73) to just five hits—all singles—and one run. He issued two walks and fanned five.
Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black was pleased with his right-hander’s performance.
“The changeup was effective early in the game,” he said about one of Ureña’s key secondary pitches. “The fastball was off the plate. He really couldn’t control his fastball the first couple of innings but, after that, he sort of reeled it in. But I was very pleased with the secondaries.“
Urena, who tossed only 81 pitches on the evening and survived a nasty third-inning collision with Geraldo Perdomo while making a putout at first base on a grounder to the right side by the Arizona hitter, agreed with his manager’s assessment of the use of his secondary pitches.
“We’re going to secure some again, every time we need it,” he said.
Grichuk, Bouchard and another rookie, Elehuris Montero each had two hits in Colorado’s total of nine hits.
The teams complete their three-game series at 1:10 p.m. (Mountain time) Sunday with Ryan Feltner (2-7, 5.85 ERA) scheduled to start on the hill for the Rox while Arizona is slated to go with Zac Gallen (11-2, 2.42 ERA). Gallen has thrown 41.1 straight scoreless innings, which is already the eighth-longest streak in the live-ball era (since 1901).
The Rockies are part of the streak as when he faced them at Coors Field on August 13 (five starts ago), he threw seven shutout innings in a 6-0 win.