DENVER -- National League Final Vote candidate Trevor Story launched his 20th and 21st home runs to tie the NL rookie record before the All-Star break, and his four RBIs led the Rockies to an 11-2 victory over the Phillies at Coors Field on Thursday night.
Dave Kingman (1972) and Albert Pujols (2001) also hit 21 before the All-Star break as rookies. Story has three more games against the Phillies to eclipse that number.
"It's good to see him swinging the bat," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He really hit those two balls tonight. He had a great at-bat with the walk. He's done that a few times here recently. Unbelievable first half. What a way to start the career."
The Rockies jumped on the board early, scoring in four of Phillies starter Adam Morgan's five frames. Nolan Arenado hit an RBI double in the first and Mark Reynolds homered to lead off the second before Story hit a three-run homer in the third and a solo shot in the fifth. Colorado added five more in the seventh off Edubray Ramos on singles by DJ LeMahieu and Brandon Barnes and a three-run double by Reynolds.
Rockies starter Chad Bettis had his best start and second quality start since May 17. He held the Phillies to two runs on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings with five strikeouts and one walk. Ryan Howard homered off him to right-center in the second and drove in Maikel Franco two innings later on a single to left.
"I think all-around it was a great team win," Bettis said. "Honestly, I think we got our offense back and for the most part did our job as a pitching staff. I think I could've been a little bit better in the sense of executing a couple pitches to Howard, but that's part of baseball."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Heating up at the right time: Before launching two home runs and driving in four runs, Story went through a rough patch on the road trip, going 0-for-12 coming off a reaggravated right middle finger bruise. His hitless stretch went back 17 plate appearances following being hit in the hand June 28. As of Thursday at 2 p.m. MT, he was third in the NL Final Vote standings.
"I really don't like to blame certain things," Story said. "I was good enough to play, so I gave it my best. A little bit. I wasn't 100 percent, but I felt good. Every day it's getting better. That's good news for me." More >
Morgan struggles in spot start: Morgan hardly had an easy assignment, rejoining the rotation at Coors as the team skipped Aaron Nola's turn to give him a mental break. Morgan allowed nine hits, six runs and three homers in five innings. He has allowed 16 homers in 66 1/3 innings. His 2.17 home runs per nine inning rate is second in baseball among pitchers with at least 60 innings, behind only Kansas City's Chris Young (3.90 homers per nine innings). The Phillies optioned him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after the game.
"Lately, it hasn't been fun," Morgan said. "I've been putting a lot of pressure on myself. And this break coming up, I feel like will be good. And also going down there and being able to work on things and not feel so much pressure ... like I said, it can only go up from here." More >
Blackmon showing off his wheels:Charlie Blackmon has attempted to steal just 13 bases after attempting 94 in the previous two seasons. But with a stolen base in the seventh, he nabbed his third in base in four attempts in the past week, a major uptick in attempts compared to earlier in the season.
"He has a real good feel for running and for stealing bases. He works really hard at it," Weiss said. "They're paying a lot closer attention to him. It's tough to steal bases when the pitcher [goes] 1.1, 1.2 [seconds] to the plate. You can't outrun that. He's being smarter about picking his spots, and he does a great job on the bases."
Get him to the plate, boys: Howard had one of his finest moments at Coors, hitting a two-out double to score two runs in the ninth inning in Game 4 of the 2009 NL Division Series. The hit tied the game as the Phillies took the lead one batter later. Howard homered in the second inning Thursday for his 369th career homer, moving him into 78th place on the all-time list with Ralph Kiner and Todd Helton.
"[I'm] trying to pick some spots for 'Otto,' just to get him back in the mix and get his feet underneath him and get some innings out there. We've had a couple opportunities. He faced a hitter in San Francisco, and we got a whole inning here. We start to give him a little more each time. It's good to be able to work him back in there. It's awesome seeing his name on the lineup card." -- Weiss, on Adam Ottavino, who pitched his first full inning since undergoing Tommy John surgery
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Story is the first shortstop and 10th player in history to hit at least 21 home runs through his first 78 career games. Jose Abreu (2014) was the last one before Story, while Ryan Braun (2007) and Pujols (2001) are the other two active players.
WHAT'S NEXT Phillies: Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez (7-2, 3.34 ERA) pitches the second game of a four-game series Friday at 8:40 p.m. ET against the Rockies at Coors Field. Velasquez spent much of June on the DL with a strained right biceps, but he already has more wins this season than any Phillies pitcher in 2015.
Rockies: Rookie Jon Gray will get the call for the Rockies at 6:40 p.m. MT on Friday against the Phillies. He has allowed 10 home runs in his past eight starts after limiting opponents to two in his first six outings. However, his ERA has dropped from 6.75 to 4.81 during that stretch.