Rockies' big bats back Gray's gem in win over Padres
By Carlos Collazo and Thomas Harding
SAN DIEGO -- Nolan Arenado finished a triple shy of the cycle Sunday night, and chased Padres spot-starter Luis Perdomo in the fifth with his 18th home run of the season, leading Colorado to a 10-3 win at Petco Park.
Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez, who hit his 12th and 13th homers of the season, backed up Jon Gray's excellent start as the Rockies ended their losing skid at four games. The 24-year-old righty began the game with five consecutive strikeouts -- the first pitcher in the Majors this season to do so -- and held San Diego to two runs over seven innings while racking up a career-high 12 strikeouts.
Wil Myers tried to keep his team in the mix early, doubling home Jon Jay in the fourth and hitting his 10th home run of the season in the sixth, but those were the only runs San Diego would manage until Brett Wallace's solo home run in the bottom of the ninth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Back on track: In the fourth, Gray gave up a run on two hits and a walk, and his pitch count elevated to 51. Gray also had to do some running in the top of the fifth, when he singled and scored from first on Trevor Story's double. But Gray caught his breath in the bottom of the fifth, and fanned the Padres' Nos. 7, 8 and 9 hitters, en route to his third straight win.
"He's picked us up the last few times out -- we needed a win badly, and he's stepped up and given us outings like you saw tonight," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said of Gray. More >
Home, sweet home: Myers has been scorching hot at the plate throughout this homestand, and he continued that with a 2-for-4 day at the plate. He's now hitting .455 (10-for-22) with three homers since getting back to Petco Park on Wednesday.
"When he puts himself in a good hitting position, I think the sky's the limit for him," Padres manager Andy Green said. "That's kind of what he fought for a good portion of the year. He was kind of fighting himself to some degree. Now he's cleared the inner half, and it makes it a lot easier to hit that side of the plate. That gives him a really good chance to not just be a good hitter, but a great hitter."
No waste this time:Charlie Blackmon opened the game with a single, but was erased on Story's double-play grounder. Often, such at-bats are a momentum killer. This time, however, Arenado doubled, then scored on Gonzalez's 12th homer of the season.Gonzalez has eight homers in his last 10 games.
"It's fun when I get a pitch to hit and I drive the ball -- it's what I work for," Gonzalez said.
Give him a Hand: Padres reliever Brad Hand knew he was going to get more work out of the bullpen with Perdomo starting Sunday, and he responded by throwing 2 2/3 innings and allowing just one earned run. He entered the game in the fifth inning after Arenado's homer and ended it by getting back-to-back strikeouts of Gonzalez and Mark Reynolds.
Green talked about the difficulties of managing a game on a bullpen day and said he should have had Hand ready to go before leadoff hitter Blackmon came to the plate:
"I should have had Hand ready after Gray singled. I think right there for Blackmon is when Brad Hand could have come into the game had I made a better decision in that moment." More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Gray's 12 strikeouts were the most in club history for a pitcher who threw fewer than 100 pitches. Gray, a rookie, already has three of the nine occasions that a Rockies pitcher has fanned 10 or more with fewer than 100 pitches.
On a bullpen day, the Padres were without their primary reliever Sunday, as Fernando Rodney took a plane to the Dominican Republic to attend his son's graduation. Rodney likely wouldn't have factored into Sunday's game anyway, and will return for Monday's series opener against Atlanta.
WHAT'S NEXT Rockies: Righty Tyler Chatwood will try to overcome a rough last start, when he yielded five runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Reds at home, when he faces the Dodgers in the opener of a three-game set at Dodger Stadium on Monday at 8:10 p.m. MT.
Padres: The Padres welcome the Braves to Petco Park Monday for the first game of a three-game series, where Christian Friedrich will match up against Atlanta's Williams Perez. In Friedrich's last start, he held the Mariners to three earned runs over five innings. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. PT.