LeMahieu homers, Gray stifles Padres in Rockies’ 4-2 win
SAN DIEGO (AP) — There were two pitches the Rockies’ Jon Gray wished he had back against the Padres. But with Colorado breaking out of its offensive malaise, it didn’t matter.
D.J. LeMahieu homered and Gray pitched six solid innings as the Rockies beat San Diego 4-2 to snap the Padres’ season-high four-game winning streak Saturday night.
The Rockies broke a 21-inning scoreless string with a three-run fourth when they strung together four straight hits, the biggest one being LeMahieu’s 13th homer.
“We played a clean game,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “And we did some good things.”
Gray (11-7) allowed two runs and seven hits as the Rockies won for the 10th time in his last 11 starts. The right-hander hung two pitches that Hunter Renfroe hit for homers but otherwise he kept the Padres at bay while walking one with a strikeout.
He had a lively fastball against the Padres while his slider didn’t display the required bite.
“I feel we had a really good command of (the fastball) downstairs,” Gray said. “When the spin isn’t really working that great, I felt like I knew what I was doing tonight. I was locating fastball where they need to be and we were getting outs.”
Adam Ottavino and Scott Oberg worked an inning each and Wade Davis pitched the ninth for his 37th save, thanks to a nice play by LeMahieu on Austin Hedges‘ grounder headed toward the outfield.
It was LeMahieu’s defensive work, more so than his homer, which Black highlighted.
“His home run got us off the schneid, but how about that play in the ninth?” Black asked. “The complete game that certain guys play that help you win, sometimes is undervalued. When you win games it takes a lot of little things to happen. It’s not just about statistics, it’s just not about analytics. It’s about playing the game the proper way to win the game that night and D.J. does a lot of those things.”
Robbie Erlin (3-5) lasted 5 1/3 innings, charged with four runs, seven hits and one walk. The left-hander struck out seven in absorbing his second straight loss.
“He was solid,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “(But) you’re not going to hold a team that’s god a really good offense scoreless day after day after day.”
After Phil Matton came on with two runners aboard in the sixth, the Rockies extended their lead to 4-2. Ian Desmond greeted Matton with a broken-bat flare to center, which brought in Trevor Story after he opened the inning with a single. Matton avoided further trouble when Tony Wolters hit into a double play.
Renfroe, who led the National League with 27 RBIs in August, extended his career-high, nine-game hitting streak with a homer in the second to push the Padres ahead 1-0. Gray tried to sneak a 84 changeup past Renfroe and he went deep for the third time since Aug. 23.
The Rockies finally scored against the Padres in the fourth after being blanked over the first 19 innings of the series. LeMahieu homered to tie the score at 1-1, and it was also Colorado’s first extra-base hit in 28 innings.
Nolan Arendado then ended an 0-for-19 hitless rut, which tied a career-high, with the first of his two singles and that was followed by Story’s run-scoring double. The Rockies extended their cushion to 3-1 when Matt Holliday chased in Story with a single.
Renfroe struck again in the fourth with his second home run and 19th on the year which sliced the Padres’ deficit to 3-2.
“I had my two-strike approach and I was just trying to see the ball and put the barrel on it,” Renfroe said.
The Rockies, who had four batters with two hits, won for the second time in six games.
IT’S BEETLES, NOT BEATLES
Less than a month from the Eagles appearing in a concert at Petco Park, the venue had a visit from the beetles. The Padres gave out straw beach hats as a promotional item but inside many of the lids were grain beetles. Some hats were confiscated and the giveaway was abruptly cancelled, with patrons receiving vouchers to be used at a later date.
Rockies: LHP Kyle Freeland (12-7, 2.90), who was 3-1 in August, makes his eighth appearance and sixth start against the Padres. He’s gone 1-2 with a 3.94 ERA in those outings, which includes an 0-1 mark at Petco Park. Freeland has split his 10 road decisions this year in 15 starts.
Padres: RHP Jacob Nix (2-2, 4.05) will make his fifth career start and his second against the Rockies. In his last time out against the Mariners he threw 8 1/3 innings of one-run ball with no walks. Batters are hitting but .077 off his changeup.