Dahl learns quickly, extends streak with homer

Dahl learns quickly, extends streak with homer

DENVER -- Rockies rookie David Dahl had never seen Dodgers righty Kenta Maeda before Thursday night. But, as has been the case throughout his 10 games since being called to the Majors, he knew what to do when his pitch showed.

In the fourth inning, Dahl flailed at a curveball -- the pitch that had given Dahl trouble during a first-inning strikeout. But Maeda offered a fastball on the next pitch, and Dahl swatted it for a two-run homer that was the Rockies' only scoring during a 4-2 loss.

The homer, Dahl's third since being promoted from Triple-A Albuquerque on July 25, gave him a 10-game hit streak to start his Major League career. It's the second-longest career-opening hit streak in club history to Juan Pierre's 16-gamer in 2000 and the longest in the Majors since the Pirates' Gregory Polanco went 11 games in 2014.

Dahl fan discusses homer

The streak's place in rookie lore is notable, but the approach that led to the homer is what's special about Dahl, 22, the Rockies' first-round pick in 2012 out of Oak Mountain High School in Birmingham, Ala.

In his first at-bat, Dahl froze on a curveball that brought the count to 3-2. But Dahl struck out when he grazed a high, 90.9 mph fastball into catcher Yasmani Grandal's mitt.

"His offspeed is really good, but he also can sneak that fastball by you," said Dahl, who didn't even have a Spring Training at-bat against Maeda, a rookie who had pitched previously in Japan. "I was just trying to stay in the middle of the field with whatever he threw. I wasn't really sitting on a certain pitch.

"But in the back of my mind I thought he was going to go up there again."

No surprise that Dahl is a quick study. He hit .314 in 92 combined games at Double-A Hartford and Albuquerque. He hit in all but one of his 16 Triple-A contests. Once he had the information on Maeda, he applied it.

"He hit that ball a long way, big part of the field," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He's got sneaky power and he certainly showed it there."

Dahl will have a chance to match Polanco's streak Friday night. From there, the last player to begin with a 12-game streak was the Twins' Glenn Williams, who hit in 13 straight in 2005. Williams, an Australian, was at the end of a long career spent mostly in the Minors. Those were his only 13 MLB games.

The MLB career-opening streak record is 17 games by the Reds' Chuck Aleno in 1941.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.