April 6, Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ, Game 3: Colorado Rockies 4, Arizona Diamondbacks 3
Rockies shortstop Trevor Story made MLB history Wednesday afternoon, becoming the first player to homer in his first three games. He also became the first player with -- count 'em -- four blasts in the first series of his career. He wasted no time etching his name into the history books, smashing a line drive off the left-center field facade in the very first inning, giving the Rockies an early two-run lead.
Second baseman DJ LeMahieu -- known for his excellent glove work and singles hitting -- scorched his second home run of the season already and raised his batting average to .750 (at the time) in the third to put the Rockies up 3-0.
Starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood cruised through the first two innings in his return to the mound after missing nearly two full years with Tommy John. He induced a parade of groundballs in the third, but his own throwing error (that Story perhaps should have handled) led to two runs in an inning where the Diamondbacks didn't hit the ball out of the infield. And just like that, it was a one-run game. 3-2.
Chatwood settled in nicely and might have produced an immaculate line in his return if not for the error. Ultimately, he had to settle for the very good 6.1 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K line. He pitched to his profile, getting 12 ground ball outs to only two pop outs.
Ryan Raburn, inserted into the lineup precisely because he hammers left-handed pitching, gave the Rockies extra cushion -- which it would turn out they would very much need -- with a solo shot in the seventh. It was his first home run in the National League, 82nd of his career, and the Rockies took a 4-2 lead.
Jake McGee made his Rockies debut and surrendered a home run to Nick Ahmed but still secured the Save. It was a good day for former AL players in Rockies' uniforms. Final score: 4-3.
The game could have gotten away from the Rockies in the seventh. Chatwood was showing signs of fatigue and allowed two batters to reach before being pulled, having gotten only one out in the inning. Miguel Castro, part of the Troy Tulowitzki trade, came in and struck out Micah Owings in convincing fashion then expertly worked around Paul Goldschmidt with first base open. Boone Logan entered the game with the bases loaded and induced a weak ground ball to second, ending the threat.
Trevor Story, Ryan Raburn, Tyler Chatwood. A month ago, it wasn't a certainty that any of these three players would be on the Rockies Opening Day roster. They, along with DJ LeMahieu, won the baseball game today.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Trevor Story's history making blast came in the first inning and made sure the Rockies were always playing from in front, immediately putting the Diamondbacks on their heels. Since their only runs until the ninth inning came on after an error, the Diamondbacks never really felt like they were in this one after Story dropped everyone's jaws ... again.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
"It's just ridiculous. He's gonna be a lot of fun to play with the rest of the year." -DJ LeMahieu on Trevor Story.
The Rockies won their first series of 2016, and did so in explosive fashion, knocking 11 home runs against a very expensive pitching staff. Chase Field was a house of horrors for the Rox in 2015 and though it's still way early to be drawing conclusions, the Rockies showed a ton of confidence in this series. Many pundits expect the Diamondbacks to be factors and the Rockies to be afterthoughts, but the boys in purple outplayed the Snakes from top to bottom apart from one disastrous seventh inning in the second game.
The Rockies are off tomorrow (Thursday) and open their home season at Coors Field on Friday, April 8th. Jordan Lyles gets the start against the San Diego Padres.