The Colorado Rockies took it to the San Diego Padres in dominating fashion on Saturday night. They took home a 16-0 win—their largest margin of victory since a 19-3 drubbing of the Houston Astros on September 25, 2011—and clinched their first winning season since 2010. Rockies’ starting pitcher Tyler Anderson took a no hitter into the sixth inning in his first start since June 25, and former Rockie Jordan Lyles was roughed up in his return to Coors Field as the home team saw their lead for the second Wild Card grow to 3 1⁄2 games.
In spite of the offensive explosion, the real story from tonight was the return of Anderson. Even though he was able to throw just 73 pitches due to a pitch count, the 27-year-old lefty made it through six scoreless innings. He allowed just two hits—both on ground balls in the sixth inning—walked a pair—both in the second inning—and struck out three. A strikeout-to-walk ratio of three-to-two isn’t particularly impressive, but where Anderson excelled was in contact management, inducing eight ground ball outs with only one fly ball out. Anderson should get a longer leash in his next outing—which currently lines up to once again be against the Padres—and could potentially be a huge addition to a rotation that has been struggling of late down the stretch and potentially into the postseason.
On the other side of things, it was a story Rockies fans are all too familiar with. Lyles lasted only four innings, allowing seven runs (all earned) on eight hits. He walked three, struck out only one, and saw his ERA explode to 7.35 on the season. At this point, his future as a Major League pitcher is seriously in doubt.
For the Rockies’ offense, it was a balanced attack led by Charlie Blackmon, Carlos Gonzalez, and Pat Valaika who combined to go 6-for-9 with a double, three home runs, and 10 RBI. It wasn’t just them, though. Every starting position player had at least one hit as the team clubbed 17 altogether. It was the fourth time this season they’ve had 17 or more hits. Unsurprisingly, they are 4-0 in such games.
In the sixth inning, DJ LeMahieu was hit by a Miguel Diaz pitch immediately following Blackmon’s three-run homer and took exception to it. There was a mill about between the mound and the first base dugout and Diaz was ejected. The optics of it weren’t good—it’s understandable to question the motive of Diaz right after allowing a home run that put his team down by 10 runs—but Diaz has struggled with command all season long and it may well have simply been a pitch that got away from him. These two are still slated to play each other five more times between now and the end of the season, so the after effects of this will be something to watch for going forward.
After Anderson, Kyle Freeland and Jeff Hoffman combined to throw three scoreless innings while allowing just a hit and a walk with five strikeouts to close out the game. It was just one outing for each, but it was a positive step forward nonetheless. Another plus for the Rockies would be getting Freeland and/or Hoffman back on track in time for the postseason.
With the win, the Rockies improve to 82-67 while the Padres dropped to 65-83. It clinches the first winning season for the Rockies since the 2010 season and puts them 3 1⁄2 games ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers with just 13 games to play. The Rockies will go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon as Rockies’ ace Jon Gray takes on former Rockies’ ace Jhoulys Chacin for the Padres. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 pm mountain time.