Not many people thought the Colorado Rockies were going to win tonight. I count myself among the non-believers. I woke up this morning to one of the gaudiest betting lines I’ve ever seen for a game between two contending teams. Clayton Kershaw was starting, and the scuffling Dodgers were going to get back on track against the nearly-as-cold Rockies. It didn’t turn out that way. The Dodgers’ ace was off his game tonight, and Jon Gray kept the suddenly anemic LA offense at bay over six strong innings. When it was all over, the Rockies had a convincing 9-1 victory and an improbable start to the most important road trip this franchise has seen in seven years.
Things couldn’t possibly have started any better for the Rockies. Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu started the game with singles before Nolan Arenado launched a three-run bomb into the Dodger bullpen on the first pitch he saw. It was the second time he’s homered off Kershaw this season.
The future hall-of-famer dealt with traffic in every inning he pitched, but he limited the damage to one run after the Arenado homer. Still, he was clearly not himself, as he frequently fell behind hitters and worked deep in counts. His night ended after just 3 2⁄3 innings and 86 pitches, and he was tagged with just his third loss of the season.
Jonathan Lucroy was involved in the next three Colorado runs. He hit a sacrifice fly in the third off Kershaw and he was at the plate in the top of the fifth when LA catcher Yasmani Grandal allowed a Brock Stewart pitch to get to the backstop. Trevor Story was on third and he scored on the passed ball. Lucroy singled later in the at-bat to score the sixth Rockies run.
Just like the first time they met this season, Jon Gray out-pitched Clayton Kershaw. It wasn’t a dominating performance, but he pitched a solid six innings at a time when the team absolutely needed him to. He dealt with some traffic and allowed hard doubles to Cody Bellinger and Yasiel Puig in the fourth, but he only allowed one run on four hits. He walked two and struck out three on 107 pitches, 68 of which were strikes.
Caros Gonzalez gave Rockies fans taco’s in the seventh inning with a solo homer to center field. The one thing that had been missing from his recent hot streak at the plate was the long ball, so it was nice to see him hit a towering fly ball that managed to cut through the marine layer and get out of Dodger Stadium.
The Rockies scored two more runs in the seventh by way of bases-loaded walks from LA pitcher Josh Ravin. With the score 9-1 many fans started to head for the exits. All they really missed was a diving Gerardo Parra catch that saved a run in the seventh.
Mike Dunn, Scott Oberg and Adam Ottavino combined to close out the most satisfying Rockies victory in months. They each allowed exactly one baserunner and no runs.
The road trip is off to a perfect beginning, but tomorrow will be another challenge for the Rockies when German Marquez takes on Yu Darvish at 8:10 MDT.