DENVER — The Colorado Rockies rallied for nine runs in the sixth and seventh innings to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 9-5 in Troy Tulowitzki’s homecoming.
Rockies’ starter Jon Gray was better than his final line of 7 IP, 5 H, 4 ER would suggest. More indicative of how good he was Monday night was his 8-to-0 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Devon Travis hit a solo home run in the first inning against Gray but the Rockies rookie fireballer bounced back by cruising easily through the next five innings.
With two outs in the sixth, Travis struck again, slicing a double down the right-field line and Josh Donaldson singled him in. Then Gray made his only real mistake of the game, failing to fully elevate a fastball to Edwin Encarnacion, leaving it about belt high and watching it fly over the centerfield fence. Gray was a pitch away from leaving the inning still at 1-0 but departed the field with his team down 4-0 instead.
But as quickly as the Blue Jays extended their lead, the Rockies got themselves back into the game. Charlie Blackmon led things off with a walk and Cristhian Adames followed with a bloop double, setting the stage for an historic moment. Carlos Gonzalez came to the plate tied with Tulowitzki in total home runs in Rockies history and with his team down four runs. He left the plate appearance one HR ahead of Tulo and with his team down just one run, smashing a no-doubt laser shot over the right-field fence, vintage CarGo style to make the score 4-3.
Then the seventh inning came and the Rockies took control of the game with a little help from a wild Drew Storen. After a groundball single from Brandon Barnes, Storen plunked both Blackmon and Adames bringing Nolan Arenado to the plate with the bases loaded and one out. It a piece of perfect irony, Arenado delivered in exactly the kind of situation that Tulo seemed to always fail during his tenure in Denver. Nolan lifted a single over the infield, scoring two and giving the Rockies the lead back in a clutch at-bat.
Gonzalez, who had gotten the Rockies back in the game just the inning before, kept things going with a single of his own, re-loading the bases. Mark Reynolds walked, Daniel Descalso singled in a pair and the man who started it all — Barnes — came pulled a double to left to bring the tally in the inning to six runs and put the Rockies ahead 9-4.
Encarnacion hit his 21st home run of the season in the ninth off of Jason Motte to make the game 9-5 — and also to tie Nolan Arenado in home runs — but that is all the Jays would get as the Rockies secured their third straight win at home.
The Rockies keep losing games where they make epic comebacks against good teams. They didn’t do that this time which has to be a boost in the confidence department. Gray battled, Arenado came through in the clutch … this is what Jeff Bridich invisions when he thinks of how good this team can be. Now it is up to them to deliver performances like this on a more regular basis.
Game 2 against the Blue Jays starts at 6:40 MST on Tuesday evening at Coors Field. J.A. Happ takes on Eddie Butler, who continues to search for his role on this team.