It's getting to be that time of the spring where the offseason dust starts to shake off and ten guys in pinstripes start to play like a team again.
Rockies’ starters Tyler Matzek and Jon Gray combined for five scoreless innings in Colorado’s 5-2 win over the White Sox. After an ugly spring debut in Peoria, Matzek looked a lot like the rookie we came to know a year ago, giving up only one hit over his three frames of work -- a single from Engel Beltre in the top of the second.
Jon Gray’s afternoon began with a leadoff triple courtesy of last year’s AL Rookie of the Year, Jose Abreu. The line drive to center field was misread by a sliding Drew Stubbs, picked up at the wall by right fielder Charlie Blackmon. Gray and the gold-clad infield behind him managed to lock things up for the Sox, a couple of groundouts on either side of a LeMahieu laser throw to the plate ahead of Abreu. Another dominant inning followed, and Jon Gray’s bid for a scoreless spring lives to see another day.
In addition to poise and obvious top-of-the-line talent, it is worth noting that Gray's performance has a lot to do with how well he is handled by battery mate, Nick Hundley. Hundley is a true professional, and his young pitching staff has already seen the benefits.
Charlie Blackmon, who has been eased into gameplay, made his second appearance of the spring. He played five innings, going 1-3 with an infield hit to leadoff the game.
The Rockies were first on the board with a two-run fourth inning, Justin Morneau and Drew Stubbs notching an RBI a piece after a walk to Corey Dickerson and a Nolan Arenado single. Chicago would go on to tie the game in the top of the sixth, as lefty reliever Chris Rusin gave up a double and a pair of singles. Ryan Casteel, DJ LeMahieu and Matt McBride would tack three more runs onto the Rockies’ total in retaliation. LeMahieu went 2-3 with a run and an RBI.
Christian Friedrich took over in the top of the eighth, surrendering a hit and striking out one in his scoreless frame. Brooks Brown came in to close things down, working a perfect ninth inning in the Rockies’ victory.
The Rockies put things together on the mound and at the plate in solid win over the Chicago White Sox, improving to 5-4-2 in Cactus League play. The Rox will head to Goodyear tomorrow to take on the Reds.