ROCK­IES 5, REDS 3 Rookie out­fielder con­trib­utes dou­ble, triple, home run

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Nick Groke

The num­ber of the­o­ries why the Rock­ies so of­ten strug­gle to win out­side the square state can only fit on a scroll, an un­wind­ing list of shots in the dark, from “hang­overs” to high-al­ti­tude spin rates to blood-oxy­gen levels and eye­sight ad­just­ments.

Their man­ager re­jected them all Mon­day as the Rock­ies re­turned home in a free-fall af­ter los­ing eight of their nine games across the Na­tional League West and 10 of their past 12.

“We just didn’t play well,” skip­per Bud Black said be­fore the Rock­ies kicked off a seven-game home­s­tand that will take them to the all-star break. “When you don’t pitch and don’t hit, that’s a bad combo.”

Coors Field, though, is a siren, a hit­ters’ par­adise of high­way-sized out­fields. And as the Rock­ies posted a 5-3 vic­tory over the Cincin­nati Reds, pro­pelled by rookie Raimel Tapia’s near-cy­cle per­for­mance and Char­lie Black­mon’s line-drive home run, their para­chute opened.

The Rock­ies fi­nally gained some ground on the idle Dodgers and Di­a­mond­backs, im­prov­ing to 6½ games back in the NL West race af­ter their di­vi­sion ri­vals buried them in rub­ble over the past week. Colorado’s lineup struck out in eight at-bats against Reds starter Luis Castillo, sure, but he was dinged for nine hits.

“Re­gard­less of how we played as of late, ev­ery­body is in a good spot,” Rock­ies right-han­der Jeff Hoff­man said. “Guys are do­ing their best, do­ing their jobs. A ma­jor­ity of time lately, it hasn’t worked. But we’re not chang­ing any­thing. We’re putting our foot on the gas and try­ing to be the team we are.”

Tapia’s home run to lead off the sixth in­ning, a soft shot to right field, gave the Rock­ies a 4-3 lead. The string bean 23-

Dustin Brad­ford, Getty Im­ages

Rock­ies rookie left fielder Raimel Tapia is con­grat­u­lated by short­stop Trevor Story af­ter hit­ting his sec­ond ca­reer home run, a solo shot off the Cincin­nati Reds’ Luis Castillo dur­ing the sixth in­ning Mon­day night at Coors Field to give Colorado a 4-3 lead. Tapia also dou­bled and tripled.

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