DENVER -- Standout starting pitching works for the Rockies, eventually -- even when the opponent is the defending World Series champions. And Charlie Blackmon made sure.Jon Gray held the Astros to one hit in seven innings, but had to wait along with the Coors Field crowd of 40,948, until Blackmon's
DENVER -- Standout starting pitching works for the Rockies, eventually -- even when the opponent is the defending World Series champions. And Charlie Blackmon made sure.
Jon Gray held the Astros to one hit in seven innings, but had to wait along with the Coors Field crowd of 40,948, until Blackmon's walkoff homer off Collin McHugh with one out in the bottom of the ninth gave the Rockies a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night.
It was Blackmon whose 10th-inning error on Tuesday night, his first of the season, opened the door for a six-run rally and an 8-2 Astros victory. This time, Blackmon's 20th homer of the season -- and first career walk-off blast -- pulled the Rockies to 1 1/2 games behind the National League West-leading Dodgers and one game behind the second-place D-backs.
"That's the beauty of baseball," Blackmon said. "You can stink, which is OK. As long as you don't stink the next time and the next time. That's what makes baseball great. It's a long season, and we have a chance."
The Rockies had lost their previous two games, but have won 16 of their last 21. The two-game split with the Astros, who lead the American League West, came after five straight series wins over teams above .500.
In his second straight standout start since a brief demotion to Triple-A Albuquerque, Gray struck out six and walked two. The only run off him came on the only hit -- Jose Altuve's RBI double during a fourth inning in which the Rockies committed two errors.
"They definitely have a lot of dangerous hitters in there," Gray said. "I knew with this team, I just tried to be as down as much as I could and be unpredictable, use variance. We used the curveball a lot tonight, and it was a really good tool to get them off the fastball."
Gray's gem followed Tyler Anderson's 7 1/3-inning, two-run effort on Tuesday. Gray and Anderson allowed a total of two runs on four hits against the Astros, posting a combined 1.25 ERA over the two games.
"We thought this was going to be a good test for us, going up against a good team, but on the other hand, talking to [Astros manager] AJ [Hinch], they know our talent, too," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "They know our level. It was good to see Tyler and Jon respond against two All-Star pitchers in [Gerrit] Cole and [Charlie] Morton. It was good to see our bullpen in the back end do their job."
Carlos Gonzalez's 12th homer, a leadoff blast in the second, was the only run off Morton, who gave up four hits and fanned five in six innings.
The Rockies tied it on a crazy play. With the bases loaded in the seventh, Astros third baseman J.D. Davis caught Nolan Arenado's popup in the Astros' dugout. Raimel Tapia tagged up at third, then made it home as Davis threw to the plate.
On Tuesday, Tapia fouled off two bunts before striking out, and on Wednesday, he bunted into a fielder's choice to get Tom Murphy out at second. But his heads-up, game-tying play might have made up for the recent mishaps.
"I missed a bunt yesterday," Tapia said through an interpreter. "Today, I tried to bunt for a hit, and it didn't work out. But I was at first base and I said, 'Now that I'm at first base with one out, I need to go out there and make a big play to help the team out -- some way, somehow -- to help the team out."
Wade Davis (1-3), who allowed five runs in the 10th and took the loss on Tuesday, struck out a pair in a hitless ninth to earn the win.
This was the third time in franchise history that the Rockies held their opponent to one hit. All three times have been Interleague games. They limited the A's to one hit on June 20, 2006, then the White Sox on July 9, 2017.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
George Springer scowled as he took off his batting helmet to end the top of the fifth. No, he wasn't mad at the umpire for calling him out. He was mad -- stunned even -- that Rockies shortstop Trevor Story robbed him of a hit.
With his speed and signature spin move, Story grabbed the ball behind second base and launched it to first before Springer could get there.
As for Story's response to Springer's scowl? All he could do was flash a grin and shrug.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Tapia's dash home wasn't the only crazy play. In the top of the sixth, Alex Bregman hit a long ball to the left-field fence. Gerardo Parra made it to the wall, but a fan -- wearing Astros gear -- tipped the ball enough that Parra couldn't catch it. Rockies manager Bud Black challenged the call, and it was overturned. Bregman, who originally appeared to have a triple, was called out on fan interference. More >
Left-hander Kyle Freeland (8-6, 3.28 ERA) will face the A's and lefty Sean Manaea (9-6, 3.38) in the opener of a three-game series at Coors Field on Friday at 6:40 p.m. MT. Freeland is 5-2 with a 2.76 ERA in eight home starts this year.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.
Anne Rogers is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow her on Twitter at @anne__rogers.