That was one long baseball game, but it was worth every minute because the bats showed up, especially when runners were on base: Two homers, three doubles, and six two-out RBIs in three hours and 53 minutes. Ten different Rockies got as least one hit and seven different Rockies scored at least one run. The Rockies also took advantage of three fielding errors by the Angels. Austin Gomber threw six solid innings with the only damage coming from a Shohei Ohtani two-run homer. Since that’s happened 35 other times this season to other pitchers, Gomber shouldn’t feel too bad about that one.
This game was unusual for its Rockies slugfest, but it’s a near-miracle that it came on the road. It sure was fun to watch.
Big hits for young bats
Sam Hilliard continues to look like the version of himself that just smashes in Triple-A, except now he’s doing it in the MLB. Hilliard connected for a pitch-hit, three-run homer in the fourth inning on the way to a three-hit night.
Brendan Rodgers hit a solo homer for his second straight game with a jack.
Rodgers also scored three runs. Connor Joe went 3-for-5 with a double and three RBI and Raimel Tapia finished with two hits with a run scored and another driven in. Rio Ruiz also got a hit in his first at-bat as a Rockie when he connected for a pitch-hit single in the seventh. Ruiz, who the Rockies claimed off waivers in May, was called up earlier in the day from Triple-A Albuquerque when a roster spot was opened up after the Rockies released Matt Adams.
Early and often
The Rockies didn’t waste any time in establishing a lead by going up 2-0 in the first. This was mostly due to Tapia leading off with a single and then Colorado loaded the bases thanks for back-to-back errors by third baseman Jack Mayfield. Charlie Blackmon and C.J. Cron each drove in a run with fielder’s choice grounders. (Cron later left the game after a groin strain and Bud Black said after the game he was unsure of the severity of the injury.) The Rockies added to their lead with three runs in the third, four runs in the fourth, one run in the fifth, and two more in the sixth.
In the third, Rodgers homered and Ryan McMahon and Elias Díaz both added RBI singles. Trevor Story hit an RBI ground-rule double in the fourth before Hilliard hit his fourth homer of the season. In the fifth, Díaz and Joe hit back-to-back, ground-rule doubles to right field. In the sixth, the Rockies loaded the bases with no outs, but then Díaz hit into a double play to waste the scoring opportunity. Joe then made up for it with a two-run single.
Gomber continued his successful first year as a Rockie, advancing to 8-5 on the season. Gomber has pitched at least six innings in 10 of his 16 starts this year. On Tuesday, he only gave up two runs on five hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. One hit was responsible for both runs and it came from ShoTime, who leads the MLB with 36 homers.
Gomber recorded 14 swing and misses with a 31 percent whiff percentage. His slider was working well with his four-seam fastball and changeup, resulting in some clutch pitching. Gomber only had one 1-2-3 inning, which happened to come in the fourth. The most impressive pitching came in the inning before when Mayfield led off with a walk and David Fletcher added a single. With two runners on and no outs, Gomber rung up three straight batters: Ohtani on a slider, Phil Gosselin on a changeup, and Justin Upton on his four-seam fastball. Gomber’s efforts earned him the Rockies MVP chain after the game.
With the game in the bag, Black emptied the dugout to rest vets like Story and Blackmon. This gave Ruiz time at third base, Tapia a few innings in right, Rodgers some time at shortstop, and Joe split the night between first base and left field. The Angels followed suit in the ninth when veteran outfielder Adam Eaton came into pitch in the ninth. Rodgers and Hilliard both singled, but the Rockies weren’t able to add to their lead.
Justin Lawrence surrendered two singles and two walks, but only one run in 1/3 of an inning in replacing Gomber in the seventh. Tyler Kinley replaced Lawrence and pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings to get to the ninth, before journeyman Zac Rosscup entered the game with a 12-3 lead. Despite the thick cushion, Rosscup still managed to make it slightly stressful. He gave up a single, a walk, and hit a batter to load the bases. But in between there, he struck out Ohtani.
With the bases loaded, Rosscup sent Upton down swinging and then got Luis Regifo to ground out.
The Rockies and Angels will meet for the rubber match of the series on Wednesday night. Chi Chi González (3-6, 6.06 ERA) will face off against Andrew Heaney (6-7, 5,32 ERA).