Rockies beat Diamondbacks behind Jon Gray’s masterful performance

Jon Gray promised himself he was going to have fun this season.

He had a blast Thursday afternoon at Coors Field as the Rockies beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 7-3, to clinch the three-game series.

The right-hander took a no-hitter into the seventh inning but David Peralta led off with a triple to left-center. He later scored on Pavin Smith’s subsequent single to right to spoil the shutout. Nonetheless, Gray pitched a gem: 6 2/3 innings, one run allowed on two hits. He walked four and fanned five.

He received a lengthy standing ovation when he left the game.

Colorado’s otherwise clean victory got messy in the ninth when Arizona pounced on struggling right-handed reliever Carlos Estevez. Eduardo Escobar blasted a monster, 453-foot two-run homer to right, and Estevez then walked Stephen Vogt and pinch-hitter Wyatt Mathisen before manager Bud Black yanked him. Closer Daniel Brad came in to finish things off, striking out Josh Rojas and getting Tim Locastro to ground out to end the game.

Gray now has 704 career strikeouts, joining Jorge De La Rosa, Ubaldo Jimenez, Jeff Francis and Pedro Astacio as the only pitchers to notch 700 Ks in a Rockies uniform. He joined the club by striking out opposing starter Merrill Kelly in the third inning.

Gray’s fastball did not blaze Thursday, topping out at 94.5 mph, while averaging around 92. But he commanded his offspeed pitches and kept the visitors guessing. Through two starts, Gray is 1-0 with a nifty 1.54 ERA.

Colorado’s defense was excellent Thursday, and two plays, in particular, kept Gray’s no-hitter alive in the sixth inning. Third baseman Ryan McMahon barehanded a squibber by Locastro and threw him out by a half-step. After Gray struck out Josh VanMeter, Christian Walker looped a lazy flyball to right, but Charlie Blackmon sprinted in and caught it for the third out.

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The Rockies’ offense came alive Wednesday night in an 8-0 win over the D-Backs and didn’t slow down Thursday.

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Colorado ambushed Kelly in the first, banging out five consecutive hits: Singles by Garrett Hampson and Raimel Tapia; a run-scoring double off the left-field fence by Trevor Story; a two-run single by Blackmon that clanged off the out-of-town scoreboard in right; and a bloop single to center by Ryan McMahon.

Story, whose first-inning …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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