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Rockies beat Padres 3-1 behind Jeff Hoffman’s excellent start

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The Rockies re-take sole possession of first place in the NL West after the win.

The Rockies beat the Padres 3-1 in San Diego Sunday afternoon.

Jeff Hoffman was outstanding in his start today in place of the recently DL’d Tyler Anderson. Hoffman demonstrated that sweet combination of command and stuff, striking out eight batters in seven innings without walking anyone. In all, Hoffman gave up just three hits. The only blemish was a fifth inning home run off the bat of Hunter Renfroe, who is quite the strong human being.

The Rockies got their scoring going in the fourth inning, DJ LeMahieu led off with an extremely LeMahieu-esque single to right field. Reynolds moved him to third base with a double. The Rockies looked poised to score, but Gerardo Parra squibbed a ball out in front of home plate, and Jarred Cosart easily tossed LeMahieu out, who ill-advisedly ran on weak contact to the pitcher.

But the Rockies scored anyhow. The play at the plate left runners on the corners. Ian Desmond earned a walk, and Trevor Story then worked an eight pitch at bat that ended with a single up the middle that drove in two runs. Wolters followed that up with a single to make it 3-0.

Cosart returned for the fifth inning, but he wasn’t able to record another out. Charlie Blackmon led off with a single. Cosart then walked LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado to load the bases with nobody out. In this case, however, the Rockies weren’t able to get a runner home. Mark Reynolds lined out to shortstop for the first out, and Parra grounded into a double play to end the inning.

The Padres got a run in the bottom of the fifth, courtesy of the aforementioned strong human being Renfroe, whose home run nearly landed atop the Western Metal Supply building in left. It was easily the hardest hit ball off of Hoffman the entire day. Franchy Cordero followed the homer with a single, but Hoffman, in turn, followed that with a strikeout, a fly out, and a strikeout to end the threat. The Rockies led 3-1 after five innings.

The Rockies had another bases loaded opportunity in the eighth inning, and it ended the same way as the last situation. Parra was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, after which Desmond lined out. But then Trevor Story doubled to put runners on second and third. Wolters worked a walk, and Pat Valaika, pinch hitting for Jeff Hoffman with the game close and an opportunity present, came up with the bases full and one out. He struck out, and then Blackmon struck out as well to keep it a 3-1 game.

Jake McGee, the Rockies’ setup reliever who has a 1.59 ERA and has struck out about 34 percent of the batters he’s faced, pitched a clean eighth inning. Greg Holland, the Rockies’ closer who has a 1.25 ERA and has struck out about 38 percent of the batters he’s faced, tossed a clean ninth inning to save the game.

The Rockies improved to 36-23 on the season, and they are once again in sole possession of first place in the NL West. The team is off tomorrow. They’ll travel back to Denver for a quick two-game home stand against Cleveland starting on Tuesday.