PHILADELPHIA -- It was fitting that Ian Desmond's two-run homer was the big hit in the Rockies' five-run fourth inning, which keyed a skid-stopping, 7-2 victory over the Phillies on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.Colorado had lost a season-high five straight games and nine of its previous 11 entering
PHILADELPHIA -- It was fitting that Ian Desmond's two-run homer was the big hit in the Rockies' five-run fourth inning, which keyed a skid-stopping, 7-2 victory over the Phillies on Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Colorado had lost a season-high five straight games and nine of its previous 11 entering Wednesday. But the Rockies won with 11 hits and seven innings of six-hit, one-run ball from lefty Tyler Anderson (4-1). Desmond's season is a prime example that slumps come and go throughout the Major League season.
Desmond's 1-for-4 night left his season average at .197. However, in his last 15 games, he is hitting a more palatable .285. Desmond's 12 homers are tied with Nolan Arenado for third on the team.
"Everyone in here has really good routines, processes that they go through to get ready for a game, and they believe in them," Desmond said. "That helps you get through the grind of those types of stretches."
The big fourth inning, which saw the Rockies score five runs before an out was recorded, was a festival of players who, like Desmond, have rebounded from slow starts.
After Arenado drew a walk against Phillies starter Nick Pivetta to open the frame, Carlos Gonzalez -- who entered with a .367 average over his previous 12 games -- put the big inning in motion with a bunt down the third-base line to beat Philadelphia's extreme shift. Trevor Story, who entered the game hitting .412 with a 1.214 OPS in his previous nine games, then doubled high off the right-field wall. Story has multiple hits in his last five games.
"How about the opposite-field approach, the two-strike approach?" Rockies manager Bud Black said of Story's first RBI double of the game. "Just controlling the effort, shortening his swing, and still his strength allows him to hit the ball hard."
Gerardo Parra, who is hitting .314 on the road, then singled in two runs through the Phillies' drawn-in infield.
"The last few games, sometimes we were putting too much pressure on ourselves at the plate -- just make contact," said Parra, who has hits in 17 of his last 24 road games and is hitting .291 for the season.
Finally, Desmond capped the inning with his 12th home run of the season, which gives him nine RBIs in his last seven starts.
"We bunched it together in the inning with five runs," Black said. "Desi, a big home run -- trying to move the runner, he got it in the air and hit a homer."
It all held because of Anderson, who has given up just three runs and walked just one over his last two starts, both on the road, covering 14 innings. The only run he allowed on Wednesday came on Jorge Alfaro's two-out opposite-field home run in the fifth. Anderson allowed more than one baserunner in an inning just once.
The Rockies southpaw also benefited from stylish defensive plays by Parra in left field, Gonzalez in right, and Arenado and Story on the left side of the infield.
"For our guys not to take advantage of [our defense] by throwing strikes, keeping the ball down, it's something that we talk about all the time with these fellows," Black said of his pitchers, who have struggled during the Rockies' recent swoon. "They're trying to throw strikes, but overall, the last couple of weeks, we haven't done that. Tonight, we did."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
It was a visual the left-handed-hitting Gonzalez has seen often the last several years -- one defender on the left side of the infield where the shortstop normally lines up, with the rest of the infield trying to cover the right side. It's a defense that invites a push bunt down the third-base line.
Gonzalez accepted that invitation on Wednesday night.
"We've been scuffling a little bit, and I know we had a 1-0 lead, then Nolan gets on with a walk -- the perfect situation to get things going," Gonzalez said. "I couldn't pick a more perfect time. After that, we scored a bunch of runs."
At face value, wouldn't all the time be a perfect time?
A number of bunt hits might pull Gonzalez's batting average higher, but as a guy capable of going on home run binges, Gonzalez believes he would not be doing anything other than padding his batting average by bunting often. Plus, teams are not going to quit shifting just because of a few bunt hits.
"It's basically for the team," Gonzalez said. "They're not going to play me straight-up the next at-bat, you know? They showed it after that bunt -- it didn't matter.
"I know what I need to do. I get paid to slug and drive guys in. I go to the plate or to the outfield not to play for myself, but play for the team, and I take what they give me."
Black said players like Gonzalez are encouraged to make the bunt part of their game, but those aren't mandated from the dugout.
"Only a hitter knows how he feels in the box, how good he feels against that pitcher, how he's seeing the ball," Black said. "If a guy is swinging the ball great and he feels good against a certain pitcher, we want him swinging for some damage."
German Marquez (4-6, 4.79 ERA) will face the Phillies and righty Vince Velasquez (4-7, 4.95) in the series finale Thursday at Citizens Bank Park at 11:05 a.m. MT. The Rockies right-hander enters with a 2.06 ERA in six road starts this season. Colorado is expected to activate right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino, who missed 14 games with a left oblique injury.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.