Gray gets elusive win as Rox rally past Mets

May 14th, 2016

DENVER -- Rockies right-handed rookie Jon Gray struck out eight in seven innings to earn his first Major League win, 5-2, over the Mets at Coors Field on Friday night.

Gray, the third overall choice in the 2013 Draft, had gone 13 starts without a win dating back to last year, when the Rockies focused on getting him accustomed to the Majors and controlling his innings. He also entered with a 9.20 career ERA at home. His last two starts saw him give up five hits and strike out 16 in 13 innings, but not capture the elusive "W" until his career-high 105-pitch effort on Friday.

"It means the world to me that it was done here with the home crowd," said Gray, who gave up five hits and walked one, and finished the outing by fanning Alejandro De Aza and Curtis Granderson to finish the seventh. "That's the guy I want to be. It's a step -- I'm not saying I want to stay here, be content. I look foward to what's next."

Rockies manager Walt Weiss added, "The kid's growing up quick -- right before our eyes. Probably the biggest factor is his confidence. … Jonny has cleared that hurdle."

This time, help came from an offense that tagged Mets starter Matt Harvey for 11 hits and five runs over 5 2/3 innings in his first career start at Coors.

"I struggled a little bit my sophomore year of college, but it was pretty quick and didn't really last this long," said Harvey, 3-5 with a 4.93 ERA in eight starts, after going 13-8, 2.71 in 29 starts last season. "It's frustrating. It's taking a lot longer than expected, but you can't give up. You've just got to keep going."

Gerardo Parra tripled in the fourth and Mark Reynolds followed with a single to tie the game at 2, Trevor Story's RBI double in the fifth gave the Rockies the lead, and Tony Wolters added an RBI single behind DJ LeMahieu's double in the sixth.

The Rockies ended their losing streak against the Mets at 11 games, dating to May 2014.


Growing impact:
Parra entered Friday leading the NL in doubles and ranked seventh in the league in hits, stats that suggest the Rockies were smart in signing him as a threat behind the heart of the order. Parra came through in the fourth inning with a triple to left field to start the Rockies' scoring. It was one of two triples and five extra-base hits off Harvey.

"We knew when we got him, it's not necessarily [for] driving in runs with the big, tape-measure home run," Weiss said. "It's more spraying the ball from line to line, extra-base hits, doubles and maybe some triples. When you get guys on base with him coming up, I have a good feeling."

Muddling in the middle: Harvey was fairly efficient in the early innings, but the tide turned in the fifth when the inning opened with three straight Rockies hits -- beginning with Gray getting his first big league hit to lead off the inning. Harvey saw six batters that inning and gave up a go-ahead run. He was chased in the sixth, giving up back-to-back hits from the bottom of the order and allowing two more runs. More >

"It looks like in those middle innings, the second or third time through the lineup, he's had a tough time making some pitches," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He did all right. He didn't have his good stuff, plus stuff, but if you can get out of a game here without giving up a ton of runs, you pitched OK. He's been better. His last start was better. It's a work in progress."

Walk on: Gray retired the first five batters he faced before Neil Walker took a free pass on four pitches to spark a two-out rally in the top of the second. Gray then hit Asdrubal Cabrera, and Kevin Plawecki drove a double to center field to plate the Mets' only runs.

"It's not like [the Rockies] went out there and put up 10 runs," Plawecki said of the Mets shortcomings with the bat. "I thought [Harvey] threw the ball well. We just didn't give him enough support on the offensive side."

Getting his man: In the second, Gray thought he had frozen Plawecki with a breaking ball for the third strike, but plate umpire Rob Drake didn't smile upon the pitch. Plawecki crashed the next delivery for his two-run double. Two were on base with two outs in the fourth, but this time Gray worked Plawecki into a grounder to short.

"I just had to forget about it," Gray said of the double. "It was a pitch that I didn't go strike-to-ball with, and he made me pay for it. I had to put that away and keep the team in the game."


Entering Friday night, opponents were hitting .513 against Harvey in the third time through the batting order -- and the Rockies proceeded to go 4-for-9 with doubles by Story and LeMahieu during their third turn.


When Rockies leadoff man Charlie Blackmon went on the 15-day disabled list with left-foot turf toe, he was hitting .185, although he was working counts and making hard outs. Friday's 3-for-4 performance, which included a bunt single and an RBI double, lifted his batting average to .305.


Mets:Logan Verrett makes a spot start in place of Steven Matz (sore elbow) Saturday at 8:10 p.m. ET at Coors Field. Verrett (3-0, 1.27 ERA) will return to the site of his first Major League start, when he pitched eight innings of one-run ball, walking just one while striking out a career-high eight. It's his third start of the season and his first since six shutout innings against the Phillies on April 19.

Rockies: Righty Eddie Butler (1-1, 3.86 ERA), coming off a career-high six strikeouts against the Giants in his last start, will face the Mets on Saturday at 6:10 p.m. MT.

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