DENVER — Jon Gray stymied San Diego Padres hitters for his first career complete game shutout and broke the Colorado Rockies single-game strikeout record. Oh, and the home team won 8-0.
The Rockies offense exploded out of the gate scoring four runs with two outs in the opening frame. Arenado crushed his 38th home run to the concourse near Helton’s Burger Shack, while Tom Murphy added a two-run shot of his own. Gray allowed a hit in the second inning, but the Padres failed to score keeping the score at 4-0. His four strikeout second-inning is the fourth time a Rockies pitcher has done such since Bruce Ruffin. At one point during the game, Gray struck out six Padres batters in a row.
Murphy and the rest of the Rockies offense struggled to score during a-no-out-bases loaded opportunity leaving a threat neutralized. Gray continued to mow down the Padres hitters striking out two in the fourth inning. The Rockies prolonged at-bats against Edwin Jackson driving his pitch count up. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Charlie Blackmon extended the Rockies advantage to 5-0 with a clutch triple down in the count.
Jackson’s night was done when Murphy supplied his first ever two-home-run game in his young big league career driving home Arenado and David Dahl. Murphy’s second blast traveled well over 400 feet. Both Arenado and Dahl singled to open up the hitting later to be driven home by Murphy and the Rockies extended the lead to 8-0, as they continued to pummel Padres pitching.
Prior to tonight’s evening affair with the Padres, Gray’s last start was at Petco Park, home of the Padres. He struggled mightily in San Diego; however, tonight, Gray dominated hitters with first-pitch strikes and limited his three-ball counts to a minimum. He emphasized why he is the future ace of this staff tonight against an offense lately who has seen its fair share of success versus quality pitching. Gray stands alone in the record books as he shattered the single-game strikeout record, recently held by Daryl Kile.
Of all the pitching performances in Rockies’ history, there may not be a better outing than Jon Gray’s start against the Padres. Gray had a level of intent with every pitch making hitters uncomfortable with a devastating slider and overpowering fastball to any part of the zone.
BSN Denver informed Gray that he had also broken the record for strikeouts at Coors Field, previously held by Randy Johnson. “That’s awesome,” he said. “I used to play as that dude in video games.”
And in a true homage, Jon Gray put up some video game numbers tonight.
A bit lost in the shuffle is the fact that this win means the Rockies have beaten a sub .500 team for the first time since mid-to-late July against the Atlanta Braves. The win came with plenty of history to glance at, but this could go a long way toward getting the proverbial monkey off the Rockies’ back.
The final game of the series takes place tomorrow afternoon at Coors Field. First pitch is at 2:10 MST. Chad Bettis (who is no stranger to complete game shutouts at Coors) takes on Jarred Cosart.