DENVER -- The Rockies rarely hit strangers. That problem arose again Sunday, when Freddy Peralta celebrated his Major League debut -- and Mother's Day -- with 13 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings of the Brewers' 7-3 victory at Coors Field.The Rockies, who finished this homestand 2-4, and dropped to 7-11
DENVER -- The Rockies rarely hit strangers. That problem arose again Sunday, when Freddy Peralta celebrated his Major League debut -- and Mother's Day -- with 13 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings of the Brewers' 7-3 victory at Coors Field.
The Rockies, who finished this homestand 2-4, and dropped to 7-11 at home on the year, didn't have a hit until David Dahl's single with one out in the sixth. Then, Peralta fanned Charlie Blackmon to end his day at 98 pitches.
Peralta fanned leadoff man DJ LeMahieu three times, and Blackmon, Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez and Trevor Story fanned twice apiece. Tony Wolters averted a shutout with a solo shot off Matt Albers in the seventh, and Dahl added a left-on-left, two-run shot off Dan Jennings in the eighth, but the problem was that the Rockies' first look at Peralta was not a pretty one.
"Not seeing a guy makes it a little but tougher; you don't know what it looks like from the box, you don't know what the timing is, you don't know what the movement looks like," Blackmon said. "You don't know what you're going to get. Having faced a guy a few times, there's a little bit of a comfort level that gives you more of an advantage."
Struggling with starters they had not seen is a pattern for the Rockies. To wit:
• On April 10, the Padres' Joey Lucchesi (whom the Rockies will face Monday night in San Diego) struck out eight in six innings as the Rockies lost, 5-2.
• On April 29, Caleb Smith held the Rockies scoreless and fanned nine in seven innings as the Marlins completed a 3-0 shutout.
• On Wednesday night, the Rockies never figured out Jaime Barria, who struck out seven in 5 1/3 innings of an 8-0 Angels victory.
Dahl, the only one who can talk about his hit off Peralta should the Rockies meet the Brewers again, said there was deception. Although he is somewhere near 6-foot, Peralta has a long, Timothy Lincecum-like stride that allows him to release the ball closer to the plate. While Statcast™ calculated that he threw a vast majority of fastballs and few curveballs, Peralta's fastballs ranged 86.8 mph to 94.8 with unpredictable movement.
"He was tough to pick up," Dahl said. "He hid the ball well. He had some late cut. The ball really took off. It played a lot better than 90-92."
On the Brewers' side it was a beautiful story. Peralta's family -- with his proud mom, of course -- had come to Colorado from the Dominican Republic to watch him pitch professionally for the first time. The plan was to see him pitch for Milwaukee's Triple-A affiliate in Colorado Springs, but he was promoted to start for the big league club on Sunday.
But it's the same old story on the Rockies' side.
Sunday's 15 strikeouts brought the total to 60 for the homestand. The 10 per game is a decent scoring average in basketball, but no one was wearing shorts on a cool Sunday afternoon.
"We are not happy about that," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "We have to make sure that those strikeout totals come down, for sure. It's not something we are going to stand for as we move forward."
It was an odd outing by Jon Gray (4-5) who after giving up just one run in his previous three starts, gave up six runs in 5 1/3 innings -- despite his own 10 strikeouts.
Gray at times displayed a sharp slider, but the Brewers feasted on mistake fastballs for eight of the 10 hits he surrendered. Leadoff man Christian Yelich singled in two runs in a three-run second. Travis Shaw, who arrived in Denver in a 5-for-50 rut, but went 7-for-16 at Coors, homered into the second deck in the third inning.
"It's the easiest pitch to throw but if you don't have command of it that day, it's really frustrating," Gray said. "It may be one thing if it's the curveball or the slider, but you should always have the fastball."
Gray left with two on, and saw reliever Harrison Musgrave yield Jesus Aguilar's three-run shot for a 7-0 lead.
With Peralta's 13 strikeouts and Gray's 10, it marked the first game in Rockies history that both starters reached double figures in that category. The 30 total strikeouts are also a record for a Rockies game.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Dahl, a prized organization product, has been bucking for everyday playing time since being called up from Triple-A Albuquerque on April 22. However, a rough beginning against lefty pitchers -- 0-for-14 with 10 strikeouts -- made it hard to use him in that matchup.
But during a pregame live batting practice session in Chicago with lefty reliever Chris Rusin completing a comeback from an intercostal injury, Dahl homered on a first-pitch changeup. His timing and confidence have grown since.
"It's just honestly getting at-bats off of them, feeling a lot better off of them," Dahl said. "Staying in there, not trying to pull the ball, trying to stay through it."
The homer off Jennings -- to dead center, an estimated 431 feet -- gave him hits in three straight at-bats against lefties. He singled off the Angels' Jose Alvarez on Wednesday night and off the Brewers' Boone Logan on Thursday night.
HE SAID IT
"Guys are searching for consistency. We're not terrible, but we're not good right now." -- Blackmon, on the Rockies' offense
The Rockies will head back to the road -- where they are 15-8 this season -- to meet the Padres at Petco Park on Monday night at 8:10 p.m. MT to start a two-game set and a nine-game National League West road trip. Lefty Tyler Anderson (2-1, 4.23 ERA), who will face lefty Joey Lucchesi (3-2, 2.98), has a 1.50 ERA in 12 innings over two starts against the Padres.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.