year-old outfielder has only two career home runs, but his speed can fly him around the bases. In the second inning, his line drive down the right-field line rattled around the corner long enough for him to sprint into a stand-up triple. And his ground-rule double to left field in the third inning only capped his run.
With a cycle on the line to lead off the eighth, Tapia struck out. He returned to the Rockies’ dugout hearing applause from the first-base side of the Coors Field crowd of 49,131.
“Stand-up triple, stand-up double, stand-up homer,” Black said.
Blackmon’s homer in the fourth landed just about the time Major League Baseball announced the Colorado center fielder would compete in the Home Run Derby next week in Miami. His 18th home run this season, one behind Mark Reynolds’ team lead and the most among NL center fielders, gave the Rockies a 3-0 lead.
But Black’s explanation for his club’s losing skid served as a map for finally ending it. As the Rockies collected 10 hits Monday, they finally found a starting pitcher to throw some length.
Hoffman, a 24-year-old rookie, weathered back-to-back home runs from Scooter Gennett and Joey Votto in the sixth that tied the game 3-3 before settling in for seven. He retired the final six batters he faced.
Hoffman gave up just four hits and three walks over 90 pitches, improving to 5-1 after his call-up from the minors in early May.
“To the critical eye, I still want Jeff to hit his spots,” Black said. “But he knows the importance of keeping the ball down. What I do like: Overall, he threw strikes. I’m not going to flip my nose up at that one.”
And the Rockies finally set up a bullpen with the two arms who most ably survived a week of blown leads and rough outings. Lefty Jake McGee faced just three batters in the eight after a routine double play to second baseman DJ LeMahieu. And all-star Greg Holland struck out Adam Duvall and Eugenio Suarez in a 1-2-3 ninth against the heart of the Reds’ lineup for his baseball-best 27th save, a club record for most saves before the all-star break.
The Rockies played so well through 11 weeks to open the season, they inflated a cushion in the
Charlie Blackmon made a specific and conscious decision to hit home runs. This is similar to deciding to run fast. It’s not something that is just done.
But the Rockies’ center fielder and leadoff hitter spiked his longball numbers last year, finishing with 29 homers in his third full season in the majors, a 61 percent jump over his first two full seasons. Sunday, Blackmon was selected for his second All-Star Game appearance.
Around the time he lined a solo home run to the right-field mezzanine off Reds right-hander Luis Castillo in the fourth inning Monday night at Coors Field, Blackmon was announced as a participant in next week’s Home Run Derby in Miami, according to Major League Baseball. NL, a lead so deep that a week of frustration and ugliness still did not dent their hope. They remain well ahead in a wild-card playoff race, despite trailing two teams in their own division. And they are 8-2 in their past 10 home games.
“I’ve already seen it,” Blackmon said. “I’ve seen the offense be good, I’ve seen the pitching be good. I’ve seen the bullpen be really good. It’s there. If you can do it once, you can do it again. We just have to be consistent. We just have to get it all going at the same time.”
“I just try to learn as much as I can from the experience I’ve gained and implement it into my game going forward,” he said before Monday’s game. “Pick up a little bit as I go and try to be a little better than I was the day before.”
Blackmon’s 18 homers this season rank 14th in the National League, but he by far paces the NL’s center fielders. He is one behind Mark Reynolds‘ team lead and three ahead of Nolan Arenado.
“Day to day, I keep it pretty simple,” Blackmon said. “But if I’m taking care of the day-to-day stuff, when you look back at bigger periods of time, you’ll see progress.”
Blackmon will compete in the Home Run Derby against the Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton and Justin Bour, the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger, the Twins’ Miguel Sano, the Yankees’ Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez and the Royals’ Mike Moustakas.