No sooner did Jon Gray get into trouble in the first inning than he got out of it. It was a pattern he would emulate throughout the night.
Combining power pitching with sleight of hand Josh Allen Color Rush Jersey
, Gray struck out 12 in seven dominant innings, Nolan Arenado homered in Colorado’s six-run fourth, and the Rockies won their fourth in a row by beating the Miami Marlins 11-3 on Friday night.
After fanning the first batter he faced, Gray gave up a single to Brian Anderson and a double to J.T. Realmuto – but he came back to strand both.
”I think you saw in that first inning where two runners got on, Jon gets out of it with no problem,” Rockies catcher Tom Murphy said. ”That was huge for Jon. It kind of set the tone for him and made him realize nothing was going to stop him tonight.”
It was Gray’s 12th career 10-plus strikeout game and the fourth this season. He had at least two strikeouts in five of his innings, including striking out the side in the sixth. Gray (7-7) walked none and withstood a solo homer in the third by Derek Dietrich, who drove a 2-0 pitch the opposite way into the left-field bleachers.
”We attacked early with fastballs,” Gray said. ”We threw strikes early in the count and kind of forced swings. I think that was key.”
Gray also mixed in a devastating slider to keep the Marlins’ hitters guessing, changing his grip on occasion to vary the ball’s movement.
”Obviously, we didn’t get a whole lot going,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. ”A couple of the guys swung the bat OK. I thought we really got away from what we wanted to do tonight. A lot of chases.”
Arenado had three hits, including his team-leading 17th homer, a two-run drive. Murphy had two doubles among his three hits and two RBIs.
The Rockies have scored at least 10 runs in three of their four wins. Even Gray pitched in with a run-scoring sacrifice in the fourth in which he reached when a sliding Carlos Gonzalez beat the throw home from first baseman Justin Bour.
Wei-Yin Chen (2-4) matched Gray through three innings, but then ran into trouble in the fourth – some of it not of his own doing. Second baseman Starlin Castro bobbled the ball after getting a relay throw, allowing Ian Desmond to score from third with the first of the Rockies’ six runs in the inning. A wild pitch by Chen helped set up Noel Cuevas‘ score on D.J. LeMahieu’s sacrifice fly. Blackmon singled ahead of Arenado’s home run, which he sent deep into the left-field bleachers.
Chen allowed seven runs and nine hits in four innings.
Pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra, batting for Gray in the bottom of the seventh, doubled off the right-field wall to drive in a pair of runs. Murphy’s RBI double in the second pushed across the Rockies’ first run.
IF THE SHOE FITS
Gray opted to wear white cleats on Friday, the same type he wore when he pitched his career-best 16-strikeout complete game against the San Diego Padres on Sept. 17, 2016. ”The last time I was in white shoes, I had the best game of my life. I don’t know why I ever stopped wearing them,” Gray said with a laugh.
Marlins: RHP Jose Urena was placed on the 10-day disabled list because of a right shoulder impingement. RHP Nick Wittgren filled the roster vacancy when he was reinstated from the 10-day DL. Wittgren had been sidelined by a right middle finger contusion.
Rockies: RHP Scott Oberg (back strain) and LHP Mike Dunn (upper back strain), who are both on the 10-day DL, are slated to begin their respective rehab assignments. The two are scheduled to pitch an inning apiece Saturday for Triple-A Albuquerque at Fresno and then each work another inning Monday for high Class A Lancaster at Modesto.
Marlins: RHP Trevor Richards (1-4 Tremaine Edmunds Color Rush Jersey
, 5.45 ERA) has gone 1-2 with a 6.28 ERA since his recall for his second stint with Miami this season.
Rockies: LHP Tyler Anderson (4-2) will be looking to bounce back from a loss in his last outing, when he gave up three runs in a 12-2 loss earlier this week to the New York Mets.
Nationals manager Dave Martinez acknowledged he was looking for someone who could end the game with one swing in the ninth inning Friday night.
He chose the right guy.
Pinch-hitter Mark Reynolds led off the bottom of the ninth with a home run that lifted the Nationals past the Miami Marlins 3-2.
”Thought about pinch-hitting Michael (A. Taylor). He gets on, he can steal, but then what?” Martinez said. ”So I said, `Hey, we need somebody who can hit a home run right now and Mark is the perfect guy.”’
Kyle Barraclough (0-3) fell behind Reynolds in the count 3-0. Reynolds, who is 7 for his last 18 after struggling for most of June, fouled off a pitch. The Nationals slugger then sent a fastball into the visitors’ bullpen in left-center for his eighth home run.
”If I’m up there and it’s 0-2, I’m obviously not looking to turn on something,” he said. ”I knew 3-0 I was going to take a hack and then (he) pretty much threw the same pitch 3-1 and I kind of got my timing a little bit.”
Four Nationals relievers combined to allow only a hit and a walk over the final four innings. Sean Doolittle (3-2) pitched the ninth for the win as Washington defeated Miami for the 13th consecutive game dating to last season.
The Nationals loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth, but failed to score.
Unlike Thursday night when Washington overcame a 9-0 deficit for a 14-12 win, big hits were harder to come by as the teams stranded 17 baserunners.
Miami starter Dan Straily lasted six innings, allowing two runs on five hits.
Gio Gonzalez threw 114 pitches over five innings and gave up eight hits and four walks. He was bailed out by three double plays and struck out Justin Bour and Garrett Cooper with the bases loaded in the fifth after walking in the tying run.
”I thought our offense did a pretty good job with Gio,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. ”We just didn’t really capitalize. . Didn’t get anything in the fourth and one in the fifth with chances to do more damage and didn’t do anything right there. I thought that was kind of the turning point for us.”
The Nationals took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on RBI singles by Adam Eaton and Wilmer Difo.
It was Reynolds’ second career walk-off home run, and first since July 26, 2016, vs. Arizona as a member of the Colorado Rockies. It was Washington’s first walk-off home run of the season.
With two outs in the sixth and Eaton on second base, Difo hit a shot to right-center. Center fielder Cameron Maybin raced to his left and made a diving catch to preserve a 2-2 tie. ”Unreal,” Straily said. ”I saw my reaction and it was one of those things where I was upset at myself for giving up a double in the gap there and all the sudden he lays out and catches it.”
Marlins: Cooper (right wrist contusion) was activated from the 60-day disabled list. Miami optioned LHP Dillon Peters (2-2, 7.16 ERA) to Triple-A New Orleans to make room on the roster.
Nationals: Martinez said RHP Stephen Strasburg (right shoulder inflammation) ”looked real good” throwing a simulated game Friday and could possibly go out on a rehab assignment Tuesday. … C Matt Wieters (left hamstring strain) will likely play a rehab game at Double-A Harrisburg on Saturday. … RHP Joe Ross (elbow surgery) threw a simulated game Friday and hopes to rejoin the team in September. … Martinez said the team ”bleached” the clubhouse due to an illness that has affected a few players.
Marlins: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (2-5, 5.55) has a 9.85 ERA in seven road starts this season. Against Washington, he’s 1-5 with a 4.15 ERA over nine career appearances.
Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (10-5, 2.16) looks for his first win since June 5. He’s 8-3 with a 3.39 ERA in 15 starts versus the Marlins.