Gray Provides Bright Night for Rockies Against World Champion Astros
This was more than a two-game, mid-week series in late July.
For the Rockies, hosting the defending world champion Astros, was a litmus test of just how much of a factor they can be down the stretch.
The Rockies passed the test.
And they did it in a big way.
They shook off an 8-2, 10-inning loss in the opener with strong statements being made by both Jon Gray and Wade Davis in the 3-2 win on Wednesday, which Charlie Blackmon capped off with the first walk-off home run of his career.
They held an Astros team that ranks second in MLB with 525 runs scored to only two runs in the first nine innings on Tuesday and again on Wednesday. They didn’t back down against a team that ranks second in MLB with 67 wins, and has a best-in-baseball 2.99 team ERA.
“Two nights of entertaining baseball with two very good teams,” said manager Bud Black.
And by the end of the two nights, the Rockies had even picked up a game on the NL West-leading Dodgers, who now are just 1 1/2 games out of first place, and a game back of the second-place Diamondbacks.
And they did it against the Astros, a team they had beaten only once in nine previous games since the Astros moved to the American League.
Rockies - Astros Interleague Resume
|5/27/2013||L, 2-3 (12)||11.2||9||3||3|
|7/24/2018||L, 2-8 (10)||10||10||8||7|
Nothing was bigger than the effort of Gray, who may have had a no-decision, but was simply dominating for the second start in a row since he was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque earlier than the Rockies initially planned.
Gray allowed two runs, one of them unearned, while giving up just one hit and walking two batters in seven innings.
His two starts since being called back from Albuquerque have come against the top two teams in the AL West -- the Mariners and the Astros -- and have come at Coors Field. He has allowed a combined two earned runs on six hits in 14 1/3 innings, and the Rockies won both games.
What's more, on Wednesday, he dealt with adversity in the fourth inning and kept his focus.
With one out, Alex Bregman worked a full-count walk, and promptly scored on a double by Jose Altuve. First baseman Ian Desmond misplayed the ensuing ground ball from Yuli Gurriel, putting runners on first and third, and the Astros loaded the bases when Josh Reddick was awarded first base on catcher's interference. Gray got the second out on a ground ball by Marwin Gonzalez, which Desmond wasn't able to handle cleaning, allowing a second run to score, and keeping the bases loaded.
Gray didn't waiver. He got Kyle Tucker to ground out, limiting the Astros to the two runs, setting the stage for the Rockies to rally.
"They definitely have a good lineup and a lot of dangerous hitters," said Gray. "This is a team I wanted to work down in the zone and be unpredictable. I used my curveball a lot."
And it worked, against the second-highest scoring team in baseball.
Top Scoring Teams in MLB
|Boston Red Sox||551||967||220||18||140||0.459|
|New York Yankees||517||871||189||13||162||0.458|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||486||854||187||21||139||0.431|
After the strong seven innings from Gray, Adam Ottavino shut the Astros down in the ninth, and then Davis, the Rockies closer, worked a scoreless ninth, setting the stage for Blackmon's heroics in the bottom of the ninth, and showed no lingering problems from the 10th-implosion the night before.
The three Rockies pitchers combined to limit the Astros to one hit -- the Altuve double. It was the seventh game of one or fewer hits allowed by a team at Coors Field -- Hideo Nomo's no-hitter in 1996, and six one-hitters. It was the third Coors Field one-hitter by the Rockies staff.
Limiting the Offense
|Rockies||6/20/2006||A's||9||1||0||0||0||6||8||Jennings, Martin, Fuentes|
|Rockies||7/9/2017||White Sox||9||1||0||0||0||3||9||Freeland, Lyles|
|Rockies||7/25/2018||Astros||9||1||2||1||0||3||10||Gray, Ottavino, Davis|
What's more, it meant the Rockies have won six of their last seven series, and split the other one, going 16-5, including a win in a series finale at San Francisco to start the streak, and all 21 games have been against teams with winning records