The Colorado Rockies ran riot on the Miami Marlins in this evening's game at Coors Field, jumping out to an early lead and crushing their hapless opponents thanks to some solid pitching and red-hot bats. Chris Rusin had himself another fantastic outing for the Rockies, allowing just two runs through seven innings. He whiffed eight of the 30 batters he faced and walked just two en route to his second win in as many starts.
Dee Gordon looked to have got things going with a well-hit ball on the first pitch of the game, but Carlos Gonzalez and DJ LeMahieu combined well to cut him down as he tried for three. Martin Prado lined out in the subsequent at-bat and Giancarlo Stanton went down swinging to give Rusin his first K of the game.
The Rockies got themselves on the board early when Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu, who singled in their respective at-bats, were driven in by Nolan Arenado's stand-up triple. David Phelps struck out CarGo to get the first out of the inning, but Wilin Rosario drove in Arenado with a single up the middle. Phelps wouldn't get a break, as Michael McKenry drove a 1-2 pitch to right for triple to give the Rockies a 4-0 lead.
The Marlins got one back in the second. With two outs and Christian Yelich on first, Chris Rusin allowed two straight singles to Jeff Mathis and Adeiny Hechavarria, the latter of which plated Yelich to cut the deficit to three. Rusin escaped the inning with a four-pitch strikeout of David Phelps.
Martin Prado tripled in the third inning between strikeouts of Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton, but Rusin forced Baker to ground out to end the inning. Rosario hit his third home run of the season in the bottom of the inning to reestablish the team's four-run lead.
Rusin allowed the Marlins a second run in the fourth inning — the last they'd score off of him — when a Jeff Mathis ground out plated Marcell Ozuna to make the score 5-2. The Rockies, however, tacked on five more in the bottom of the inning and ended David Phelps' night early. Rusin got himself aboard with a one-out single and advanced to second when Charlie Blackmon hit a ball softly into right. DJ LeMahieu singled in the next at-bat, advancing Blackmon and plating Rusin. Phelps got Nolan Arenado out for the second of the inning, but CarGo drove the first pitch of the at-bat he saw over the right-center field wall for his fifth of the year, giving the Rockies a 9-2 lead. Andre Rienzo, who came in to replace the struggling Phelps, was promptly taken deep by Rosario who gave the Rockies a 10-2 lead with his second home run of the night.
The scoring would cease on either side for the next few innings. Chris Rusin picked up two more Ks in the fifth, sending both Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton down swinging in what was the latter's third strikeout of the night. A fielding error by Daniel Descalso — his fifth of the year — with one out loaded the bases in the sixth, but Rusin worked himself out of the inning to preserve the Rockies' 10-2 lead.
Bryan Morris replaced Rienzo in the bottom of the sixth, but was removed due to an injury and Kendry Flores was brought in to replace him. Michael McKenry singled to advance CarGo to third, but Flores got Descalso to pop out with men on the corners to end the inning. Rusin retired all three batters he faced in the seventh, including his fourth strikeout of Giancarlo Stanton. Dude hits monster home runs? No problem for Chris Rusin, who showed the confidence to go at him all night.
Tommy Kanhle was brought in to pitch the eighth and got three ground outs around a single to Yelich. He was replaced by Rafael Betancourt in the ninth, who most recently had allowed four earned runs in just two-thirds of an inning against the Dodgers. Hechavarria tripled on an 0-2 pitch to start the ninth inning and scored off of a ground out ball from pinch-hitter Ichiro. Stanton picked up his lone hit of the night when he doubled with two outs to advance Dee Gordon to third. Jeff Baker then singled to plate both runners, cutting the Rockies' lead to five. Marcell Ozuna singled in the next at-bat, but Betancourt got Yelich to ground out end the inning.
A few things stand out from this game.
Chris Rusin had himself a fine evening, highlighted by four swinging strikeouts of Giancarlo Stanton. Rusin improved to 2-0 after pitching seven solid innings in which he allowed just two runs on seven hits and two walks. Through 18.2 innings, Rusin now has an ERA of just 1.45. He's walked just seven compared to the 15 he has struck out and has looked great so far. I'm not really expecting him to continue to play at this level, but his performances thus far have been super encouraging and it looks like the Rockies might have found themselves a very solid pitcher. Rusin, by the way, is the first MLB-level pitcher to strikeout Stanton four times in a game. If you didn't see the Tweet on the Purple Row account about Rusin and Bettis, I'll include it here.
A number of Rockies had themselves fine nights at the plate, as evidenced by the 10 runs scored. Charlie Blackmon performed admirably as the table-setter, going 3-for-4 in addition to drawing a walk en route to scoring twice. LeMahieu picked up his fifth double of the year, scored twice, drove in a run, and was 3-for-5 overall. CarGo had another encouraging night at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a three-run home run and a walk. Wilin Rosario went yard twice in a nice display, and Michael McKenry went 2-for-5 with a triple. In all, the Rockies collected a season-high 17 hits.
Descalso picked up his fifth error of the season in relatively limited playing time and while it doesn't matter too much in a game like this, it's something to think about moving forward. Not that either are great fielders themselves or fantastic hitters, but I'd probably rather see both Ynoa and Culberson ahead of him. Although, I've gotta give him credit for a pretty sweet play tonight.
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