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Rox half-game out of WC with blowout win

Gray allows 1 run over 7 innings; Dahl homers and Parra gets 3 hits
September 24, 2018

DENVER -- In the first game of their final-week postseason push, the Rockies played the way they were put together in a 10-1 blowout win over the Phillies at Coors Field on Monday night.Colorado moved within a half-game of the Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card spot thanks

DENVER -- In the first game of their final-week postseason push, the Rockies played the way they were put together in a 10-1 blowout win over the Phillies at Coors Field on Monday night.
Colorado moved within a half-game of the Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card spot thanks to St. Louis' loss to the Brewers. The Rockies remain 1 1/2 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West, as Los Angeles beat the D-backs on Monday.
"We'll see what happens to other teams, but we've got a chance," said Gerardo Parra, who had three hits and two RBIs and is 12-for-30 over his last 13 appearances. "We believe it. We're strong. We're together."

An offense that pounded 13 hits, including a David Dahl two-run homer, and Trevor Story's two doubles in his return from missing a week with a right elbow injury, came together in support of right-hander Jon Gray (12-8), who struck out seven and held Philadelphia to one run on four hits over seven innings.
Story makes extra-base-hit history in return

Last Monday, the same game when Story's injury occurred, Gray -- pitching at a faster tempo from the windup -- gave up six runs in two-plus innings against the Dodgers. This time, the results were different.
"I know it wasn't perfect," Gray said. "I know I didn't tap into it completely, but it was more of myself tonight -- aggressive and attacking the zone."
The Rockies exceeded three runs just twice while going 4-5 on their recent road trip, but now they exploded for 10 runs in running their winning streak to four.
The Rockies broke the game open against Phillies starter Zach Eflin (11-8) in a patient five-run third inning that included four singles -- two of which were run-scoring hits to center field by Nolan Arenado and Parra -- and three walks. Eflin left after walking Ian Desmond to load the bases, and reliever Austin Davis then walked Tony Wolters and Gray, before a wild pitch brought in another run.

"The third inning, we had some really good at-bats and took some pitches borderline, took some pitches that were balls and we didn't chase," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "Through the lineup, our approach overall was solid."

Gray had not made it beyond four innings in any of his last three starts, which led to his last turn in the rotation being skipped. The Rockies couldn't afford another poor performance.
Setup man Adam Ottavino and closer Wade Davis were not available after appearing in all three games of a weekend sweep of the D-backs, and Black was expecting to start Chad Bettis -- who has been in the bullpen of late -- on Tuesday with a 35-50-pitch limit. Gray needed to give Colorado length, and he did.
In the first inning, Carlos Santana and Odubel Herrera reached on well-placed singles, and Gray couldn't turn a double play on a Rhys Hoskins ground ball because his throw to second base wasn't the best. After a two-out walk to Wilson Ramos, Gray's pitch count was rising quickly.
Wolters came to the mound, less for strategy than for inspiration -- "'Come on, Jon, you got this. … Just a little bit of adversity,'" Wolters recalled.
Gray said, "It fired me up a little bit, and we got back after it."
Gray then struck out Aaron Altherr on three pitches -- the last an 89.2 mph slider -- to end the frame with no runs allowed but 29 pitches thrown.

However, Gray threw just 13 pitches in the second inning, helping himself with a pickoff of Roman Quinn after a two-out walk. Quinn was originally called safe, but the call was reversed on a replay review. After that, Gray's efficiency continued.
"The pitch count went down and down each inning," Black said.

Charlie Blackmon extended his hit streak -- already a career high -- to 16 games with a third-inning single. His hitting was a bright spot when the team was struggling on the road.

"Down the stretch, playoffs, big games to get there, you just need quality at-bats. I think you see good teams that win, it's not always relying on the homer. We're having quality at-bats right now, and hopefully that can continue." -- Arenado, on the Rockies' offense

Dahl's homer -- the Rockies' first since Blackmon's last Tuesday off the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw -- was an opposite-field shot that kept carrying. The distance of the fly ball and the presence of the left-field wall surprised Altherr. The latter was painful.
Altherr ran into the wall without bracing himself and went down on the warning track in heap. He left the game with a right big toe sprain and a right knee contusion. Altherr showed concussion symptoms and received testing for that.

"I didn't really see it," Dahl said. "I looked down to hit first base, then I looked up and saw him on the ground and didn't know where the ball was. I thought he caught it. I was looking around to see what was going on.
"But you never want to see that happen to anybody, an injury like that. It's rough. He was playing hard. It was unfortunate."
Bettis (5-2, 5.18 ERA) will make his first start since Aug. 12, when he went 6 1/3 innings against the Dodgers but didn't receive the decision in a 4-2 victory. Bettis' time in the rotation was marred by a recurring right middle finger blister. Now, after six relief appearances over the last month -- during which he registered a 2.16 ERA -- Bettis is available for 35-50 pitches, with Black using bullpen matchups behind him. The Phillies will start righty Vince Velasquez (9-11, 4.59), who is 2-0 with a 3.95 ERA in five career starts against the Rockies.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.