DENVER -- Even perennial All-Star sluggers like Nolan Arenado have bad days at the plate. But one of his worst Tuesday didn't stop him from dazzling at the plate and in the field Wednesday in an 8-1 Rockies victory over the Indians at Coors Field.Arenado went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in
DENVER -- Even perennial All-Star sluggers like Nolan Arenado have bad days at the plate. But one of his worst Tuesday didn't stop him from dazzling at the plate and in the field Wednesday in an 8-1 Rockies victory over the Indians at Coors Field.
Arenado went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in Tuesday night's win. It was just the second time in his career (621 games) he had struck out four times in a single contest, the other being on Sept. 21, 2015, against the Pirates.
On Wednesday, Arenado went 3-for-5 with a double, a triple and three RBIs. With two outs in a third inning that looked as if it might come to naught after the Rockies had loaded the bases with one out, Arenado stroked a double to right-center to put Colorado ahead, 2-0.
Then, in the top of the fourth, after Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor lined a leadoff double down the left-field line, Arenado made a play that sucked the life from what might otherwise have been a promising inning for Cleveland.
Michael Brantley hit a fly ball to left-center, where Charlie Blackmon made the catch and fired to third with the speedy Lindor tagging.
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"I didn't really think there was much of a chance," Blackmon said. "I didn't really have time to hop it in there, so I just tried to put it right on the bag. It wasn't, and Nolan made a good play."
Arenado made a back-handed grab of the throw on the fly, then changed direction to lunge full-extension to his left for the tag. He swiped Lindor's cleats as Lindor dove head-first into third. Initially, Lindor was called safe, but upon replay review, the call was overturned.
For any third baseman, that would be a phenomenal play. For Arenado, it's business as usual, even after one of the roughest nights at the plate he's ever had.
"I just asked God, I was like, 'Man, give me strength today, please.' I don't want to deal with that again like yesterday," Arenado said. "But I don't know what got me going. Maybe it was the fact I didn't strike out my first at-bat. That made me feel like, alright, I can still hit the ball a little bit, even though it was a little dribbler."
If that doubt needed confirmation, it came loud and clear with that double, and later, a triple off the wall in right-center.
"When you're an everyday player, and you play all the time, you have to have the ability to not let a certain type of game carry over," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "And he's shown he's able to do that. And he's shown that to himself throughout his career.
"And that's critical. Because as emotional as he is and as intense as he is, you can get down on yourself if you have a bad one. But he turns the page."
The 8-5 double play in the fourth inning was reminiscent of a play Blackmon and Arenado teamed up on back in 2015. On May 23 of that season, Blackmon caught a fly ball off the bat of the Giants' Angel Pagan in the ninth inning, and with Gregor Blanco tagging to third, threw a strike to Arenado on the bag. Arenado decoyed Blanco into thinking the throw wasn't coming, and Blanco didn't slide.
Arenado and Blackmon discussed that very play before Wednesday's game.
"It's funny, because before the game I was talking to Charlie about that play, and then today, Charlie did it again."
As did Arenado, who continues to show his mettle as one of the game's elite players.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.