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Gray's arm, bat lead Rockies past Reds

MLB.com

DENVER -- Jon Gray hit a two-run homer, a 467-foot shot to center field, and delivered 5 2/3 workmanlike innings in the Rockies' 5-3 win over the Reds at Coors Field on Wednesday night.

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DENVER -- Jon Gray hit a two-run homer, a 467-foot shot to center field, and delivered 5 2/3 workmanlike innings in the Rockies' 5-3 win over the Reds at Coors Field on Wednesday night.

Video: CIN@COL: Gray notches his first career home run

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"It felt good, but I was just glad that it ended up being a big part of the game," Gray said of his home run.

Gray, whose two-way performance helped the Rockies win their 50th game of the season as they try to keep up with the division-leading Dodgers, said he felt his command was off Wednesday despite his final line reading two earned runs on eight hits and a walk. As a result, he decided to be more deliberate with his pitches.

"I just wanted to slow things down, because sometimes I can get up on the mound when something bad like that happens and my emotions take over, and I don't really think about the pitch and making the out," Gray said.

Shortstop Pat Valaika added a two-run homer in the fourth, and knocked in an insurance run in the eighth inning with a single. That made things a bit easier for All-Star closer Greg Holland, who earned his 28th save with a slick glove save against Scooter Gennett to close it out.

Video: CIN@COL: Valaika's line-drive single plates Gonzalez

Utility man Valaika plays key role in win

"Greg had to get through the top of their order. Once you get [Zack] Cozart, here comes [Joey] Votto, here comes Gennett," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "We stretched it to two, which was big."

Video: CIN@COL: Holland induces a groundout for the save

The only demerits for Reds starter Scott Feldman were the two homers, but they were enough to do him in. Feldman finished the night after five innings and 88 pitches. Reds pitchers mostly kept things under control after Valaika's home run, at one point retiring 11 consecutive Rockies.

Video: CIN@COL: Feldman K's Reynolds and strands two runners

"I didn't have the best fastball command tonight," Feldman said. "It was a battle when you're going up against a good team like that and you don't have your best command. Unfortunately, I gave up a couple big hits there and lost the game. Never a good feeling."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Oh, Oberg: The Reds nearly came back in the sixth inning thanks to some poor Rockies defense, but they weren't able to capitalize. Votto led off the frame with an infield hit, reaching base after Mark Reynolds bobbled his grounder and Gray overran first base trying to cover it. Later, after the Reds loaded the bases and Scott Oberg entered for Gray, Nolan Arenado made a rare fielding error -- just his third of the season -- allowing Gennett to score. Oberg then coaxed a dribbler from Billy Hamilton, with Alexi Amarista making a quick exchange to throw out the speedster, leaving the Reds short.

Video: CIN@COL: Oberg forces a groundout to escape trouble

"You get so comfortable seeing Nolan make the plays, you're like, 'Is that guy even capable of making errors?'" Oberg said. "But after that happened, I still had to do my job and make pitches to Hamilton and keep the game where it was."

Not Rusin anywhere: The Rockies again found themselves in trouble in the seventh when Cozart doubled off Oberg to open the inning. Chris Rusin immediately came in, and the Rockies defense did not falter this time. After Rusin walked Votto and struck out Gennett, Eugenio Suarez hit a hard grounder right to Arenado. Making up for his error the previous inning, Arenado corralled the ball, stepped on third base and fired to first to complete the double play. Overall Wednesday, the Reds were 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.

Video: CIN@COL: Arenado steps on third and doubles up Suarez

"Once they got the lead there, they had every intention on trying to keep it," Gennett said. "That's the thing. That's why when you do put the ball in play and get some runners on, it's important to push them across, because when you're facing good pitching like that, it's tough to really have that big inning."

Reds lack timely hits in loss

QUOTABLE
"He hit it pretty far. You never want to give up hits, period, to pitchers. I feel like you should get the pitcher out every time. To pretty much lose the game on that, it's not a good feeling. At the same time, I threw the ball right down the middle. You can't really do that." -- Feldman, on Gray's home run

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Gray's home run was not only the first of his MLB career, it's also the first he has hit at any professional level. Since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015, no pitcher has hit a home run farther than Gray's 467-footer. Additionally, it was the longest home run hit by the Rockies -- and the longest home run hit at Coors Field -- this season.

The game-time temperature of 97 degrees was the highest for a Rockies home game since June 25, 2012, against the Nationals.

AFTER REVIEW
Rockies lefty Jake McGee's pickoff to first left Jose Peraza, who had singled, with no choice but to try for second. Reynolds' throw and Valaika's tag were ruled in time by second base umpire Todd Tichenor, and because replays were inconclusive, the call stood.

Video: CIN@COL: McGee picks off Peraza stealing after review

WHAT'S NEXT
Reds: Rookie Sal Romano will be recalled from Triple-A Louisville to make his second big league start in the 3:10 p.m. ET series finale on Thursday. Romano made his debut on April 16 vs. the Brewers but struggled with command while throwing 82 pitches in three innings. He is coming off an eight-inning complete game for Louisville during his previous start.

Rockies: Tyler Chatwood will take his turn in the rotation as the Rockies close out this four-game set at 1:10 p.m. MT. The right-hander has struggled with his control over his last three starts, walking 15 batters in 15 2/3 total innings.

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Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver.

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.