DENVER - Jon Gray has been called the ace of the Colorado Rockies staff by this site for months. As with any young starter he still had to deal with some struggles. Those ended tonight.
His marvelous performance against the Los Angeles Dodgers stalled them to zero runs at Coors Field. The bullpen held too. The Rockies shut down the Dodgers on this rainy late-summer eve 8-1.
The two-run home run from Nick Hundley in the fourth was all the Rockies needed tonight. Although they plated eight, the offense really took a backseat to pitching.
"Great job by Jonny once again," Rockies Manager Walt Weiss said. "I thought his slider was there. When he's got that pitch he's really tough and he misses a lot of bats. Did a great job getting through six. Pitch count got high and he went out there and put the sixth down and it was big."
His slide piece was certainly something to write home about, but so too was another of his breaking pitches.
"I like the fact that the curveball has become a weapon for him," Weiss told. "In spring training it was hit and miss and brand new. It creates some separation in velocity and changes eye levels, it's a good pitch, I thought he used that well tonight."
Add the slider and the curveball together and you can dominate a lineup that was built to destroy you in a park that gives many horrors.
"It's tough especially being right handed a lot of dangerous left-handed hitters in that lineup so you gotta be right if you're a righty," Weiss explained. "I thought Jonny was on his 'A' game."
The Rockies offense was on their game in the seventh as they batted around and brought across five. A key RBI double by DJ LeMahieu gave the Rockies a 5-0 lead and for all purposes the game was out of reach.
Perhaps the play of the game though, you'd have to rewind to the fifth innings. Centerfielder Charlie Blackmon made a sweet diving catch on the run coming in. Adrian Gonzalez' dying drive that was caught was hit with runners on first and second and only one out. That was huge in getting Gray though that inning.
His last two outings had been not-so-good. Tonight was about as good as it gets, dismissing a first place team with a lengthy lineup. His line, six innings, four hits, three walks, two hit batters, eight strike outs, no runs allowed. He threw 111 pitches in the game and he keeps proving he's fine going well over 100 pitches.
100 - With 63 wins it is now impossible for the Rockies to lose 100 games this season.
150 - With 8 strikeouts tonight, Gray now has 150 on the season, tied with Jhoulys Chacin for the 10th-most in a season in Rockies history.
1,000 - Gerado Parra smashed hit No. 1,000 of his career.
A duet of lefties have the mound tomorrow as LHP Tyler Anderson (4-5, 3.69) will face LHP Rich Hill (10-3, 2.09). It's game two of a ten game home stand and the second in the series of a three against the Dodgers.