DENVER -- Rockies starter Jon Gray's results haven't always matched how he feels in his first full season in the Majors.In Sunday's 8-5 loss to the D-backs, Gray was tagged with five runs on seven hits over seven innings with three strikeouts but felt like he was at his best
DENVER -- Rockies starter Jon Gray's results haven't always matched how he feels in his first full season in the Majors.
In Sunday's 8-5 loss to the D-backs, Gray was tagged with five runs on seven hits over seven innings with three strikeouts but felt like he was at his best -- save for one pitch that got away.
After giving up a first-inning sacrifice fly to Paul Goldschmidt, Gray collected the next 18 outs in a row. But in the seventh inning, he allowed three consecutive singles before Sócrates Brito took him deep for a three-run homer.
"Today was one of the better days I've actually followed the game plan and gotten the guys to do what I wanted them to," Gray said. "It was hit off-speed into the ground. Get ahead of guys. I followed the plan pretty well today, and got a lot of ground balls, more than usual. Punchouts were down, but so was [velocity]. I'm not worried about that. I'm glad I can go out there and just make pitches."
Gray induced nine ground balls -- resulting in 10 outs -- which is the most he's had in a start since July 22. He was able to stay successful by keeping the ball down, except for on the pitch that did him in.
Gray meant to pitch up to Brito, but the ball ended up lower in the zone than he wanted. Down and in to the left-hander, Brito deposited the ball 452 feet into the right-field bleachers.
"They got three with one swing -- the three-run homer," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "They got a quick strike from Brito, but I felt like Jonny was in complete control the entire game."
Gray's night ended after 88 pitches -- the third fewest he's had in any of his 25 starts this season -- when Tom Murphy hit a pinch-hit homer for him in the seventh. Although he felt like he had more in the tank -- Gray says he always feels like he can throw 20 innings -- he understood the move.
"I thought it was going to be one of those games where we have to make a decision in the ninth inning whether to go to your closer or leave Jonny in the game. That's how much he was cruising," Weiss said. "The runs they tacked on hurt because we always feel like we have a chance -- we still felt like we had a chance with the tying run at the plate. When you're down and you fight your way back and allow them to tack on a few more, it makes it tough."
Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver and covered the Rockies on Sunday.