DENVER -- Nolan Arenado's first-inning triple and third-inning double during a 4-0 victory over the Brewers on Saturday sparked thoughts of a cycle.
But a night that saw Arenado display an array of fundamental and special talents turned out special enough.
Arenado's early hits came with two outs -- just ahead of cleanup man Trevor Story, who drove in Arenado with a first-inning homer and a third-inning double.
"I feel like I got the hardest thing out of the way with the triple, but, honestly, I was just trying to have a good at-bat," Arenado said. "Those pitchers made good pitches the last two at-bats against me, so I was happy I was able to hit the ball hard and get on base for Story to drive me in."
And even though Arenado committed his third error of the season, he made two highlight-reel fielding plays behind lefty starting pitcher Kyle Freeland, whose plan of attacking right-handed hitters inside meant Arenado would have to be alert.
The triple highlighted an underrated aspect of Arenado's game: baserunning, which has shown up twice this homestand. And Arenado accomplishes this fundamental without a key tool: speed.
"When outfielders see me on base, they probably don't think I'm going to do anything," he said. "I'm slow enough to where I can just watch what's going to happen. … Fast guys are trying to just go."
In Tuesday night's homestand opener against the Angels, he scored from first on a key Story double in a 4-2 victory. The throw to home nearly beat him, but replay confirmed that his hand hit the plate before the tag. And Rockies third-base coach Stu Cole noted the next day that "the turns that he makes -- and sometimes he may seem to be slow, but when he needs to get going, he gets going."
For Saturday's triple, Arenado kept his eye on Domingo Santana in the right-field corner and saw him in no position to make a strong throw as long as he rounded second tightly. He did it slowly, but efficiently, and slid headfirst.
"Even though you don't want to make the third out at third base, I like aggressive baserunning," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "Nolan's instincts are very good on the bases. That's something I've talked to him a lot about."