Gray strikes out 12 in Rockies’ 11-3 win over Marlins

Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, left, applies a late tag on Colorado Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez who scores on a bunt put down by Jon Gray in the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 22, 2018, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER (AP) No sooner did Jon Gray get into trouble in the first inning than he got out of it. It was a pattern he would emulate throughout the night.

Combining power pitching with sleight of hand, Gray struck out 12 in seven dominant innings, Nolan Arenado homered in Colorado’s six-run fourth, and the Rockies won their fourth in a row by beating the Miami Marlins 11-3 on Friday night.

After fanning the first batter he faced, Gray gave up a single to Brian Anderson and a double to J.T. Realmuto – but he came back to strand both.

”I think you saw in that first inning where two runners got on, Jon gets out of it with no problem,” Rockies catcher Tom Murphy said. ”That was huge for Jon. It kind of set the tone for him and made him realize nothing was going to stop him tonight.”

It was Gray’s 12th career 10-plus strikeout game and the fourth this season. He had at least two strikeouts in five of his innings, including striking out the side in the sixth. Gray (7-7) walked none and withstood a solo homer in the third by Derek Dietrich, who drove a 2-0 pitch the opposite way into the left-field bleachers.

”We attacked early with fastballs,” Gray said. ”We threw strikes early in the count and kind of forced swings. I think that was key.”

Gray also mixed in a devastating slider to keep the Marlins’ hitters guessing, changing his grip on occasion to vary the ball’s movement.

”Obviously, we didn’t get a whole lot going,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. ”A couple of the guys swung the bat OK. I thought we really got away from what we wanted to do tonight. A lot of chases.”

Arenado had three hits, including his team-leading 17th homer, a two-run drive. Murphy had two doubles among his three hits and two RBIs.

The Rockies have scored at least 10 runs in three of their four wins. Even Gray pitched in with a run-scoring sacrifice in the fourth in which he reached when a sliding Carlos Gonzalez beat the throw home from first baseman Justin Bour.

Wei-Yin Chen (2-4) matched Gray through three innings, but then ran into trouble in the fourth – some of it not of his own doing. Second baseman Starlin Castro bobbled the ball after getting a relay throw, allowing Ian Desmond to score from third with the first of the Rockies’ six runs in the inning. A wild pitch by Chen helped set up Noel Cuevas‘ score on D.J. LeMahieu’s sacrifice fly. Blackmon singled ahead of Arenado’s home run, which he sent deep into the left-field bleachers.

Chen allowed seven runs and nine hits in four innings.

Pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra, batting for Gray in the bottom of the seventh, doubled off the right-field wall to drive in a pair of runs. Murphy’s RBI double in the second pushed across the Rockies’ first run.

IF THE SHOE FITS

Gray opted to wear white cleats on Friday, the same type he wore when he pitched his career-best 16-strikeout complete game against the San Diego Padres on Sept. 17, 2016. ”The last time I was in white shoes, I had the best game of my life. I don’t know why I ever stopped wearing them,” Gray said with a laugh.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Marlins: RHP Jose Urena was placed on the 10-day disabled list because of a right shoulder impingement. RHP Nick Wittgren filled the roster vacancy when he was reinstated from the 10-day DL. Wittgren had been sidelined by a right middle finger contusion.

Rockies: RHP Scott Oberg (back strain) and LHP Mike Dunn (upper back strain), who are both on the 10-day DL, are slated to begin their respective rehab assignments. The two are scheduled to pitch an inning apiece Saturday for Triple-A Albuquerque at Fresno and then each work another inning Monday for high Class A Lancaster at Modesto.

UP NEXT

Marlins: RHP Trevor Richards (1-4, 5.45 ERA) has gone 1-2 with a 6.28 ERA since his recall for his second stint with Miami this season.

Rockies: LHP Tyler Anderson (4-2) will be looking to bounce back from a loss in his last outing, when he gave up three runs in a 12-2 loss earlier this week to the New York Mets.

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