DENVER -- In the strange history of Rockies pitching, the team’s only no-hitter doesn’t even qualify as the best single-game performance.
Also, three of these games occurred at Coors Field, where stellar pitching is supposed to be close to impossible.
Let’s start our list of the Rockies’ top five single-game pitching performances with a “blink and it’s over” affair in Seattle:
1. Josh Fogg
June 30, 2006, at Mariners
If you had early dinner reservations, you were in luck. It wasn’t just that right-hander Josh Fogg vanquished the Mariners, 2-0, with a two-hit, one-walk shutout at Safeco Field. It’s that he faced the minimum 27 batters. Fogg struck out just one batter, but he forced 13 groundouts. All three baserunners were erased on double plays. Fogg’s opposite number, future Rockies pitcher Jamie Moyer, faced just 33 batters in his compete game. This one lasted 1 hour, 52 minutes.
2. Ubaldo Jiménez
April 17, 2010, at Braves
These decisions are tough. Why wasn’t right-hander Ubaldo Jiménez’s no-hitter -- the apex of the best pitching season in club history -- the top performance? Well, while Fogg faced the minimum and dominated from first pitch, Jiménez walked six in the first five innings. Of course, Jiménez more than made up for it by leaving the Braves hopeless the rest of the way in a 4-0 victory at Turner Field.
3. Aaron Cook
July 1, 2008, vs. Padres
Games at Coors Field are known not only for being high-scoring, but being long. But this time, right-hander Aaron Cook microwaved the Padres on just 79 pitches in 1 hour, 58 minutes -- the fastest nine-inning game in Coors Field history. Cook left a trail of broken bats on the way to a 4-0 victory. It was his 11th win of a season that saw him represent the Rockies in the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium.
4. Jon Gray
Sept. 17, 2016, vs. Padres
After eating the Padres’ lineup alive to the tune of a Coors Field-record 16 strikeouts, right-hander Jon Gray revealed that he was a hungry man. Because of excitement, Gray was having a hard time eating on days he pitched (a problem he and the club have since addressed). On this night, Gray earned a hearty postgame meal. It wasn’t just the strikeouts. He didn’t walk anyone, either, in an 8-0 victory.
5. Kyle Freeland
July 9, 2017, vs. White Sox
This is the only performance on this list that was not a complete game, but it deserves inclusion for a couple reasons. First, left-hander Kyle Freeland took a no-hitter into the ninth inning at Coors Field. (He left the game after Melky Cabrera lined into left field for a single with one out.) Second, it showed that Freeland was a quick study. In his previous start, an 8-1 home loss to the Reds, Freeland was so demonstrative after a play wasn’t made behind him that manager Bud Black visited the mound, waved everyone else away and spoke for nearly 45 seconds. After Freeland fanned nine White Sox in a 10-0 victory, only cheers rang in his ears.