For four innings on Friday night, it seemed like the Rockies would never score again. Jordan Lyles, of all people, hadn’t allowed so much as a baserunner through the first twelve batters he faced. Then the bats finally woke up to the tune of three home runs in a 4-1 victory that preserved a 1 1⁄2 game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Wild Card. Jon Gray pitched well and earned his ninth victory of the season.
In the bottom of the fifth, Nolan Arenado finally broke the 24-inning scoreless drought (and broke up Lyles’s perfect game) with an opposite field solo home run (his 35th of the season). Two batters later Ian Desmond hit just his sixth home run of the season. It was his fourth at PETCO park.
The Padres got a run back in the bottom of the inning when Jordan Lyles singled home a run. Gray gave up some hard contact that inning but limited the damage. He pitched a clean sixth and finished his night allowing one run on five hits with eight strikeouts and two walks. He threw 100 pitches; 62 for strikes. His gamescore was 69.
Trevor Story led off the top of the seventh with his 22nd homer of the year. He also surpassed last year’s total with his 73rd RBI. Ian Desmond singled and came around to score on a Lucroy base hit, and the Rockies had a 4-1 lead. All four runs were charged to Jordan Lyles, who exited the game after facing Desmond.
Chris Rusin entered the game in the seventh inning and got a quick out before allowing a double and a single that put runners on the corners and brought the tying run to the plate in the form of rookie Christian Villanueva. Pat Neshek came on and got Villanueva to foul out and struck out Manuel Margot to preserve the lead.
The Rockies threatened to add to their lead in the eighth but Cory Spangenberg made a diving catch to rob Gerardo Parra of extra bases and saved at least one, possibly two, runs.
Jake McGee pitched a scoreless eighth for the Rockies and Greg Holland got back on track with a 1-2-3 ninth to seal Colorado’s first win in six days.
The series continues tomorrow night when Chad Bettis takes on another old friend, Jhoulys Chacin, at 6:40 MDT.