SAN DIEGO - Sparked by the heart of the Rockies lineup in the fourth inning, Jon Gray’s steady six-innings of work, and three scoreless frames by the bullpen, Colorado snapped a two-game skid and entered their biggest month of their season with a 4-2 victory over the Padres.
With only two runs scored in two games this series against the last place Padres, the offense needed to come alive as several players were in the midst of an offensive slump.
The bats came alive in the fourth when DJ LeMahieu broke an 0-for-20 slump with his thirteenth home run of the season, a solo blast.
Nolan Arenado followed by erasing his own 0-for-19 slump with a single to center field. Arenado came around to score on Trevor Story’s double, his eighty-sixth run batted in. His 68th extra base hit ties the club record for most by a shortstop with Troy Tulowitzki in 2011.
Matt Holliday joined the hit parade with an RBI single to give the Rockies a 3-1 lead.
In the sixth, Story singled to center on an 0-2 slider and Holliday singled to right on the first pitch, marking his sixth straight plate appearance reaching base safely.
Gonzalez struck out for the third straight at bat before Padres manager Andy Green lifted left-handed starter Robbie Erlin in favor of the right-handed Phil Maton to face the struggling Ian Desmond, who entered the game mired in an 0-15 slump.
Desmond flared a broken bat single into center field to score Story from second base and lift the Rockies to a 4-2 lead.
Jon Gray was without his best stuff, striking out only one, but he was effective the third time through the lineup and earned his eleventh victory of the season, the most in his three seasons with Colorado.
Gray was punished by Hunter Renfroe, who single-handedly kept the Padres in the game during his first two at bats with two solo homers to center field off Jon Gray, his eighteenth and nineteenth of the season.
In the second, after Renfroe’s first blast, Franmil Reyes and Freddy Galvis singled to put on two runners with one out. Gray struck out the opposing pitcher and got lead off hitter Travis Jankowski to pop out to Story.
It was a similar scene in the sixth when Eric Hosmer and Austin Hedges were on first and second with two outs, bringing Galvis to the plate. It took just two pitches to get the veteran shortstop to ground out, ending the threat and Gray’s night.
Padres starter Robbie Erlin was potent through three innings, striking out four and not surrendering a hit. He finished the game with seven strikeouts, but was credited with giving up all four Rockies runs.
Before the game, the Rockies called-up Pat Valaika, Noel Cuevas Tom Murphy, Yency Almonte, and Harrison Musgrave thanks to the September 1st roster expansion.
Bud Black played around with the added bench players during the eighth inning. After Holliday walked, Gerardo Parra was called upon to pinch run. David Dahl was the pinch hitter for Tony Wolters when Desmond’s infield single loaded the bases.
With the pitcher’s spot in the lineup due up to start the next inning, Black performed a double-switch: Chris Iannetta replaced Wolters on the field, but was slotted in the nine spot in the lineup and the incoming Adam Ottavino was placed in the eighth spot.
Even after those three players were used off the bench, Black still had five more hitters at his disposal.
The Rockies moved to 10-8 against the Padres this season and 35-20 since June 28th, second best in the National League.
Jon Gray: 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 88-56 (pitches-strikes)