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3 All-Stars homer as Rockies rout White Sox

July 8, 2017

DENVER -- All-Stars DJ LeMahieu, Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado homered as the Rockies -- averaging only 3.2 runs over their last 15 games -- came alive to rout the White Sox, 12-4, in Friday night's series opener at Coors Field.The Rockies erupted for four runs in the first inning

DENVER -- All-Stars DJ LeMahieu, Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado homered as the Rockies -- averaging only 3.2 runs over their last 15 games -- came alive to rout the White Sox, 12-4, in Friday night's series opener at Coors Field.
The Rockies erupted for four runs in the first inning against White Sox starter Derek Holland and didn't look back, keeping the pressure on with runs in five of the first six innings. Holland exited after four, having given up seven runs on eight hits, including the homers by LeMahieu and Blackmon. Blackmon's solo shot in the fourth was the first homer Holland allowed to a left-handed hitter since June 10, 2016, vs. the Mariners' Kyle Seager.
"Overall tonight, especially early in the game, we had good at-bats," said Rockies manager Bud Black, who won his 700th career game. "We really forced Holland to throw strikes. We forced him into hitters' counts."
The Rockies' much-needed breakout featured more than just homers, as six players had at least two hits, including Gerardo Parra, who went 3-for-4 with a double and RBI in his first game since being activated from the disabled list. The Rockies' 17 hits were the most since Aug. 6, 2016, vs. the Marlins.
Arenado, Blackmon find All-Star form

Arenado said getting off to a fast start was a nice change of pace for the Rockies.
"I feel like we've either been behind or it's taken us five or six innings to get going," Arenado said. "Obviously it starts with Charlie, and everyone had good at-bats. ... It was nice to win like that after what we've been going through lately."
The White Sox were held in check for most of the night by Rockies starter German Marquez, scoring just once in the first six innings. Tim Anderson homered off Marquez in a two-run seventh -- the longest homer of his young career at a Statcast™-projected 451 feet -- to cut Colorado's lead to 10-3, but it was too little, too late.

"Today was flat out embarrassing. I don't even know where to begin," said Holland, who made his first Interleague start of the season and his first career start against the Rockies. "I put my teammates in a hole, giving up four runs right out of the gate. They put up a run for me and I go back out there and give up another run. It's a frustrating thing on my part. I'm not doing my job. I need to be a lot better than I was this start and last start."
Holland roughed up in Coors Field debut
Nolan finds his stroke: Arenado hit his first home run since June 18 in the sixth inning, padding the Rockies' lead by taking a 3-1 fastball from Chris Beck and driving it a Statcast™-projected 450 feet into the left-field bleachers with an exit velocity of 104.3 mph. It was Arenado's second-longest home run this season, trailing his 456-foot blast against Dodgers reliever Sergio Romo on May 14. Arenado also had an RBI single in the first and a two-run double in the eighth off Player Page for David Robertson to cap off a five-RBI night.
"It was nice to hit one out. I haven't done it in a while," Arenado said. "I haven't been driving the ball the way I'd like to this first half, but that's a credit to the pitchers also."
Arenado added that sitting out Thursday's game helped keep his body fresh.
"Body-wise for sure, I woke up with a little more energy," Arenado said. "The thing with off-days, they're hard in the National League because you still gotta be ready. … The anxiety was still kicking in."

Welcome back, Parra: The first seven batters of the game reached base against Holland, including Parra. In his first plate appearance after being activated from the DL, Parra hit a grounder up the middle that deflected off Holland for an RBI infield single that gave the Rockies a 2-0 lead. Had Holland fielded it cleanly, it could've been a double play that limited the damage during what wound up as a four-run first.
"He had the bases loaded and the comebacker to him wound up deflecting," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said of Holland. "He had another ground ball and went to third instead of second. I'm trying to remember, because all the innings kind of ran together today for him."

"Tonight, I guess I got a couple back. On one, I'm gonna give myself a little bit of credit because I kind of hit a line drive. The first spinner I hit was kind of a line drive, but it was just nowhere near the barrel. And I guess I kind of got lucky on the infield hit." -- Blackmon, on going 3-for-4 with three runs scored after a stretch of bad luck
"I've just got to do a better job. That was pathetic today." -- Holland, who has allowed 35 earned runs on 50 hits, including 11 home runs, over his last 31 innings pitched
Arenado's season-high five RBIs marked the 135th time in Rockies history a player has reached that mark. It's the fifth time in Arenado's career he's driven in five or more and the second time this season a Rockies player has had five or more RBIs -- Mark Reynolds had five June 6.

Holland's third-inning single was the first for a White Sox pitcher since Sept. 21, 2016, when James Shields recorded a single against the Phillies. It also marked back-to-back plate appearances with a single for Holland, who picked up his first Major League hit while with the Rangers on Aug. 23, 2016, at Cincinnati.

After Melky Cabrera led off the fourth inning with a single, Jose Abreu chopped a grounder to third baseman Arenado, who started what appeared to be a rally-killing double play. The White Sox challenged that Abreu beat second baseman LeMahieu's throw to first base, and the call was overturned after a 48-second review.

Rockies catcher Ryan Hanigan was a late scratch and was replaced by Tony Wolters about an hour before first pitch. Hanigan's left trapezius muscle tightened up, Black said, but he should be available Saturday.
LeMahieu exited the game in the sixth after jogging slowly out of the batter's box on a ground ball. LeMahieu, who went 2-for-4 with a home run, has been bothered by a groin injury since June 28 and Black said he's still working through some soreness. He should also be available Saturday.

White Sox: White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana (4-8, 4.45 ERA) will make his final start before the All-Star break on Saturday in the second game of a three-game set at Coors Field. He worked around four errors behind him in 4 1/3 innings to earn a no-decision against Texas in his last start. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. CT.
Rockies:Jeff Hoffman (5-1, 4.01 ERA) will make his ninth start of the season on Saturday at 7:10 p.m. MT vs. the White Sox. Opponents have scored five runs against Hoffman in his last two starts combined, following a nine-run outing vs. the D-backs on June 20.
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Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for based in Chicago.

Max Gelman is a reporter for based in Denver.