Gray Arrives, but Rox Fail to Score
Jon Gray (0-1, 7.98) remains winless after 12 major league starts, but about 35 pitches into Monday night’s 2-1 loss to the San Diego Padres, Gray all of a sudden had the look, the one we saw Chad Bettis take on about 11 months ago, the look of a guy who’s got it figured out, a guy who’s at home on a major league mound and ready to deal some nasty stuff to major league hitters. The young Colorado Rockies’ right-hander has yet to find the moxie it takes to manage Coors Field, but last night at Petco Park in San Diego Gray found the groove, retiring 18 of the last 19 Padres he faced, including 16 in a row.
But in inning no. 1 Gray looked much the same as the guy who couldn’t make it through four last Wednesday, throwing 25 pitches and giving-up hits to the first 3 batters he faced, falling behind 2-0 before recording an out. The Rockies offense would be unable to overcome that modest deficit, held in check for 6 innings by James Shields (1-4, 3.23) and 3 Padres’ relievers. Jon Jay lined a single leading off the game, Wil Myers dropped a soft liner in front of Carlos Gonzalez to knock him to 3rd, and Rockies nemesis Matt Kemp doubled both runners home with a drive to left. Gray knuckled down after walking Brett Wallace by striking-out Alexei Ramirez and Derek Norris and coaxing a fly ball to Gonzalez out of Jemile Weeks.
Gray then proceeded to retire San Diego hitters in order in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th innings. He allowed another single to Kemp in the 6th before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the top of the 7th. Gray threw 89 pitches, 59 for strikes, and totalled-out at 4 hits, a walk and 11 strikeouts in the 6-inning appearance.
Colorado got a run back off Shields in the in the 4th when Gonzalez singled leading-off and Nolan Arenado moved him to 2nd on a lined safety to center. After Gerardo Parra grounded into a disputed double-play, Nick Hundley doubled to right and Gonzalez scored. But that would be it for the Rockies. Shields navigated his way around 9 hits and 2 walks, striking-out 5. He was followed by Ryan Buchter, who managed 4 outs, and Brandon Maurer, who retired 2, then Fernando Rodney closed-it-out with a 1-2-3 9th. Gonzalez Germen and Scott Oberg each pitched a scoreless inning for Colorado, Oberg escaping a jam created by consecutive singles that opened the 8th.
Game 2 of the 3-game set is tonight at Petco. Another young Rockie working on arriving in the MLB, Eddie Butler, gets the call against San Diego’s Andrew Cashner. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 MT.