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Desmond fired up by first home Rockies homer

MLB.com

DENVER -- Ian Desmond entered the 2017 season with a .379/.406/.611 slash line in 23 career games at Coors Field. But following a Spring Training injury that delayed his Rockies debut, Desmond started Friday night's 10-8 victory over the Giants slugging just .354 with three extra-base hits (all doubles) in 65 at-bats at Coors Field this season.

That changed for the better in the fifth inning Friday, when Desmond hit a three-run homer off Jeff Samardzija over the right-field wall to put the Rockies in front, 6-4. It was his first homer at Coors Field as a member of the home team -- he had three as a visitor -- and he punctuated it with fist pumps as he circled the bases.

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DENVER -- Ian Desmond entered the 2017 season with a .379/.406/.611 slash line in 23 career games at Coors Field. But following a Spring Training injury that delayed his Rockies debut, Desmond started Friday night's 10-8 victory over the Giants slugging just .354 with three extra-base hits (all doubles) in 65 at-bats at Coors Field this season.

That changed for the better in the fifth inning Friday, when Desmond hit a three-run homer off Jeff Samardzija over the right-field wall to put the Rockies in front, 6-4. It was his first homer at Coors Field as a member of the home team -- he had three as a visitor -- and he punctuated it with fist pumps as he circled the bases.

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"A lot [of emotion]," Desmond said of his home run trot. "But in the first inning, with runners on second and third, I punch out on a pitch that was probably 4 feet outside. And yesterday, I had another opportunity to drive in runs, didn't cash them in. ... To be able to deliver with two strikes and two outs off Samardzija there, we needed that, I think."

The Rockies signed Desmond to a five-year, $70 million contract last December, to play first base, a position he had never before played at any level. By the time he returned from his hand injury, Mark Reynolds had played his way into an everyday role at first base by slashing .298/.362/.606 with eight homers in April. That moved Desmond, who played first base Friday with Reynolds not starting, to left field to open his Rockies tenure.

Desmond got off to a slow start, but has been hitting well of late. Over his first 28 games, he had seven extra-base hits, including two homers. In 15 games this month, Desmond is hitting .304 with five extra-base hits, three of which have gone for home runs.

"No real [frustration]," Desmond said of his early struggles. "I put my trust in my process and my work. I worry about the things I can control. It's a 600-at-bat season. I'm not going to lose sleep over 30, 40, 100 at-bats."

The Rockies are hoping what they saw Friday night is a sign of things to come, particularly with Carlos Gonzalez mired in a 1-for-28 slump.

"That was a big swing of the bat," manager Bud Black said of Desmond's homer. "There's a fire in him that's great. It's a good thing for the Rockies."

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.

Colorado Rockies, Ian Desmond