DENVER -- Nolan Arenado was already an All-Star, but now he can stake claim to another accomplishment -- leading the Rockies to their best offensive game in five years.
Arenado slugged three home runs in an 18-4 rout of the Padres on Wednesday afternoon as the Rockies scored 18 runs for the first time since April 27, 2012. They won their fourth straight and earned their first sweep since June 18, while Arenado's five hits set a new career high. With the victory and and the D-backs' 4-3, 11-inning loss at Cincinnati, Colorado moved a half-game in front of Arizona for the top National League Wild Card position
The Rockies' offense was immediately off to the races, scoring three runs in the first and six runs through three. Three innings later, the Rockies had piled on 11 more.
Five Rockies starters finished Wednesday with at least three hits -- Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, Gerardo Parra, Trevor Story and Ryan Hanigan. The Rockies totaled 21 hits on the afternoon, their most since Sept. 17, 2014.
The offensive outburst had clearly been brewing, though. Over their last four games, the Rockies have scored 49 runs, an average of 12.25 runs per game. Additionally, the 36 runs scored vs. the Padres was their most in a series since August 2007.
"Our guys came out Sunday morning on a mission against [Steven Matz] and the Mets, and I think that's just been carrying over," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "[Ian Desmond] got a base hit in the first inning, and from there we've just been on a bash roll."
Padres starter Clayton Richard struggled from the start, and he wouldn't last through the fourth inning. He tied a pair of unwanted franchise records by surrendering 11 runs and 14 hits. The 18 runs allowed by San Diego were the most since Sept. 20, 2005, also against the Rockies at Coors Field. That's the last time Padres pitchers surrendered 21 hits in a nine-inning game, as well.
"You hate to leave him out there that long," said Padres manager Andy Green said of Richard. "But the two outings prior to that we got three innings and four innings. You're doing whatever you can to get deeper into the ballgame so you don't run through your bullpen. It's just a tough one -- one you end up flushing, get back out there in San Francisco tomorrow and get after it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
A #Nazty streak: Blackmon entered Wednesday with a 13-game hitting streak and wasted no time extending it to 14. Blackmon deposited Clayton Richard's third pitch into left field for a single, matching his career-high hitting streak. Blackmon also had another 14-game hitting streak earlier this season from April 14-29.
However, Blackmon was removed mid-at-bat in the 6th inning with cramping due to dehydration in his left hamstring. He finished the afternoon 3-for-3 with a home run and a hit-by-pitch. Pat Valaika finished the at-bat with an RBI single. More >
May the fourth be with you: The Rockies cruised early but really put their stamp on this game in the fourth inning. Arenado led off the frame with his first homer of the afternoon. Richard nearly ended it right there, retiring the next two batters, but he gave up four straight hits, including a home run to Story. Gray's RBI single eventually knocked Richard out, but Blackmon greeted reliever Kevin Quackenbush with a first-pitch home run. The Rockies ended up scoring six and batting around in the inning to double their lead to 12-0.
"You have to take responsibility. I have to take responsibility for giving it up. That's part of the game. But unfortunately, it just seemed like mis-hit balls found the right spots. It was a Coors Field day." -- Richard
"He's my favorite player to watch. Obviously, he does it on both sides of the ball. I love watching him hit. I think he does a good job of working down on the ball." -- Padres first baseman William Myers, on Arenado
Padres:Jhoulys Chacin is set for his third duel with Giants ace Madison Bumgarner this season. The Padres have won the first two, including a walk-off thriller on Saturday at Petco Park. The scene shifts to San Francisco on Thursday, where first pitch is slated for 7:15 p.m. PT.
Rockies: The Rockies will enjoy an off-day Thursday before returning to face the Pirates on Friday at Coors Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. MT, and rookies Jeff Hoffman and Trevor Williams will face off on the mound.
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