Rockies get se­ries win

GAME 1: ROCKIES 10, NA­TION­ALS 6 | GAME 2: NA­TION­ALS 3, ROCKIES 1 Free­land picks up 11th win as Colorado splits dou­ble­header

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Nick Groke

WASH­ING­TON» A stretch-run push to­ward Oc­to­ber found its legs Sun­day in the fifth in­ning of a Rockies dou­ble­header night­cap in The District. As fire­baller Jon Gray slipped in one side­ways turn through the or­der, his boss’ boss, across the coun­try in Colorado, traded for a big­name catcher.

“From our van­tage point, a cou­ple thou­sand miles away from Den­ver, to get this type of player will pick ev­ery­body up,” Colorado man­ager Bud Black said of a dead­line-beat­ing trade for Texas Rangers back­stop Jonathan Lu­croy, a two-time all­star.

The Rockies, though, al­ready de­clared their in­ten­tions. In a se­ri­esclinch­ing dou­ble­header split against the Na­tional League Eastlead­ing Na­tion­als, the Rockies punched back at a team that had trounced them ear­lier this sea­son. This was a Wash­ing­ton lineup that bounded through eight home runs in one game last week.

Gray struck out eight bat­ters and gave up just three runs on four hits, but the Na­tion­als de­feated the Rockies 3-1 on Sun­day night. In the af­ter­noon game, rookie south­paw Kyle Free­land (11-7) and a dy­namic top of the or­der pro­vided the fuel for Colorado’s 10-6 vic­tory.

“The big thing is win­ning a se­ries here and not at home,” first base­man Mark Reynolds said. “This past month, we strug­gled on the road a lit­tle bit. To get two out of three here is huge for our con­fi­dence. We had great start­ing pitch­ing this

whole se­ries. That’s what gets you to Oc­to­ber.”

Colorado (60-46) moved a half game be­hind the Ari­zona Diamondbacks for the Na­tional League’s top wild-card play­off berth. But the Rockies are nearer to the post­sea­son than not. The Na­tion­als (62-41) are just 3½ games bet­ter, and the Rockies are 5½ games ahead of the nextn­ear­est team be­hind them, the Mil­wau­kee Brewers.

“We won two out of three from a very good club,” Black said. “And I think they know we’re a good team too.”

In­clud­ing a 4-2 win Sat­ur­day night at Na­tion­als Park be­hind Venezue­lan rookie Ger­man Mar­quez, the Rockies posted their first road se­ries vic­tory since June 11, when Colorado took three of four from the Cubs in Chicago.

Gray, like Mar­quez on Sat­ur­day, pitched per­fectly through four in­nings, record­ing the first 16 outs on five strike­outs, six ground­outs and a fly­ball. An­thony Ren­don’s solid sin­gle to lead off the fifth marked Wash­ing­ton’s first baserun­ner. Adam Lind then blasted a two-run homer to left field, and Brian Good­win hit an op­po­site-field solo shot to left two bat­ters later.

“He pitched six no-hit in­nings. And in one in­ning, they got four hits against him,” Black said of Gray. “The fast­ball got out over the plate to both those fel­las.”

Each of the Na­tion­als’ four hits came in that fifth in­ning. Gray pitched two more in­nings with only one baserun­ner, a walk. But the Rockies man­aged only one run, on Ger­ardo Parra’s RBI sin­gle to right field in the fifth that scored Gray from sec­ond base.

“Ev­ery­thing was fine ex­cept for get­ting be­hind in that in­ning,” Gray said. “You can’t re­ally dance around with those guys. You have to come out fast.”

Colorado’s of­fense, though, was not ab­sent. In the matinee, Char­lie Black­mon hit four sin­gles and scored four runs, DJ LeMahieu fin­ished 3-for-5 with two run­scor­ing dou­bles and Nolan Are­nado reached base in five trips to the plate, with three hits, in­clud­ing a ca­reer high-ty­ing sixth triple.

“We know we can swing it,” Are­nado said.

And Free­land, in a piv­otal fourth in­ning, with two run­ners on base and just one out, struck out MVP can­di­date Bryce Harper, then forced Ryan Zim­mer­man to fly out to cen­ter field. Free­land gave up three earned runs on nine hits in just five in­nings, but sur­viv­ing the meat of the Na­tion­als’ or­der in the fourth cat­a­pulted the Rockies for­ward.

“That’s a good se­ries win on the road against a good team,” Black­mon said. “That’s what we need to be do­ing. We’ve had a pretty good team all year. I know it’s there. We have the abil­ity to play well.”

Mark Te­nally, The As­so­ci­ated Press

Right-han­der Jon Gray, pitch­ing Sun­day night in Wash­ing­ton, dropped to 3-2 when the Rockies lost 3-1 and split a dou­ble­header against the Na­tion­als. Gray posted eight strike­outs and is­sued only one walk in seven in­nings, but two of the four hits he al­lowed were home runs. His ERA is 5.52.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.