Denver — The Colorado Rockies absolutely demolished the Cincinnati Reds at Coors Field on Tuesday night, smashing a team-record-tying seven home runs, and breaking a franchise record with 14 extra base hits, on their way to a 17-4 victory.
Coming off of a tough loss on Monday against the woeful Reds, the Rockies came out of the gate with intent to do harm, and they followed through in spades. Charlie Blackmon got things started with a lead-off home run, his second in as many days and his fifth of the year. Blackmon has been on a tear lately, reaching base now in 27 consecutive games.
Two batters later, Nolan Arenado hit his 15th home run of the season, momentarily tying Yoenis Cespedes for the lead in the National League. Arenado broke the tie and moved into sole possession of the NL lead in dingers with a two-run jack in the sixth. He finished with 5 RBI, which was actually one short of the team lead for the evening. Blackmon also homered twice in the game, the second a grand slam highlighting a six-run seventh inning for the Rockies.
DJ LeMahieu went 4-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and four runs scored out of the two spot. Carlos Gonzalez went 3-for-5 with a double, two RBI and … of course … a home run. The Rockies first four hitters — Blackmon, LeMahieu, Arenado, and CarGo — combined to go 11-for-19 with six home runs 13 RBI. Gerardo Parra also hit his fourth of the year.
Rookie Jon Gray did his job on the mound, giving the Rockies six solid innings despite not having his best stuff. Gray said after the game that he just didn’t have a feel for anything, even in the bullpen pre-game. He knew he had to battle and that is what he did, insisting on keeping the ball in the zone. The Reds were able to get a pair of home runs (Joey Votto and Jay Bruce) off Gray in the sixth but the flamethrower knew that can happen and recognized a Coors Field truth afterward: “I just didn’t want to walk them,” he said.
That is the right mindset with a seven-run lead and nobody on base. Gray was frustrated with himself earlier in the game when his command got even more scattered after hitting his counterpart Jon Moscot on a bunt attempt that could almost have been ruled a strike. “I hope he’s OK, but that’s my plate,” Gray said after the game. His confidence grows in leaps and bounds. Having that kind of attitude when you don’t have your best stuff is how you succeed at the highest levels.
“He is getting better every day, every start,” said catcher Tony Wolters who also got into the game a shortstop late and has the quietest three-hit night ever. “All of our pitchers are growing in confidence and they should probably be even more confident.”
It was a surreal night at the park. It seemed like it would never end and then suddenly it was over, like the howl of a locomotive. “We hit seven home runs tonight?” Blackmon asked post-game with legitimate surprise. “That’s a lot.” It is, indeed Charlie. It is, indeed.
The Rockies had been through some tough luck and some even tougher competition lately and an explosion like this was probably inevitable. It will be interesting to see if they follow it up with a massive let-down like in years past or if they can manage to keep the pedal to the metal and drive the Reds out of town.
Game 3 of the 4 game series against Cincinnati gets going at 6:40 MST Wednesday night. Tyler Chatwood looks to keep things going against John Lamb.