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Even without Trevor Story, Rockies rookies providing a big lift

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The Rockies’ star shortstop is not the lone young face making an impact in 2016.

Los Angeles Dodgers v Colorado Rockies Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

DENVER — On the day they learned that shortstop Trevor Story was likely out for the season, another pair of Colorado Rockies rookies played significant parts in a 7-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Pitcher Jon Gray and outfielder David Dahl both contributed to the victory that was the Rockies’ 10th in 12 games and brought the team back to .500 at 53-53.

Gray pitched five shutout innings, allowing just two hits and two walks and dropping his ERA for the season to 3.77.

“The last couple times out I’ve seen him throw his change up,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “The change up has become another weapon for him.”

Gray only lasted the five innings because his pitch count escalated to 96 after the fifth, a fact for which Gray credited the Dodgers hitters.

“Yeah, they did a good job with that, when it got to two strikes it was tough to put them away,” Gray said.

Most impressive for Gray is that much of his success has come at home. In his last seven starts at Coors Field Gray has allowed just 12 earned runs on 29 hits in 45 1/3 innings, walking nine and striking out 49, giving him an ERA of 2.38 and a WHIP of 0.84 in that stretch.

Making his Coors Field debut on Tuesday was 22-year-old outfielder David Dahl, who was at the park for the first time since a visit after the Rockies selected him 10th overall in the 2012 draft.

Dahl went 1-for-4 with a single in the sixth that extended his hitting streak to the first eight games of his big league career, but perhaps his biggest contribution came in his first two trips to the plate in which he saw 18 pitches, playing a big part in driving up the pitch count of Dodgers starter Brandon McCarthy, who was pulled after Mark Reynolds and Daniel Descalso to start the fourth inning.

“He’s shown a very good approach,” Weiss said. “He made a great first impression, he gives you a very good at bat.”

Gray and Dahl, along with Story, pitchers Tyler Anderson and Carlos Estevez, catcher Tony Wolters and infielder Cristhian Adames make up a rookie class that has helped push the Rockies to the .500 mark in August for the first time since 2010 and to within 3.5 games of Miami for the second Wild Card spot.

Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez, who extended his hitting streak to 14 on Tuesday by going 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and four RBI, has been in the position of the current crop of rookies; though he wasn’t technically a rookie on the 2009 Rockies club that set a franchise record with 92 wins and made the playoffs, he was a midseason call-up who only had about 300 plate appearances worth of prior big league experience. Gonzalez said he is telling the younger players on the team to just enjoy the ride as they fight for a postseason berth.

“This is what we play for,” Gonzalez said. “Right now we’re just having a good time, trying to win games and take it step by step, game by game and at the end of the day, when the season’s over you want to be up there, you want to win that spot. That’s what I always tell the kids, just enjoy it, it’s the best part of the game.”

Winning games is one thing the Rockies have done quite a bit of lately, as the win Tuesday was their 10th in the last 12 games and their 13th in 18 games since the All-Star Break, they will look to continue the winning ways Wednesday night against the Dodgers with Anderson on the mound against fellow rookie Brock Stewart, who will be making just his second career start.