Tapia, Blackmon power Rockies past Reds

July 4th, 2017

DENVER -- Back at Coors Field for the first time in a week and a half, the Rockies made the most of their return home.
Coming off a 1-8 road trip against National League West opponents, the Rockies rebounded to defeat the Reds, 5-3, in Monday's series opener. 's big night at the plate lifted the Rockies, as the 23-year-old finished a single shy of the cycle and hit the go-ahead solo home run in the sixth.
"It's icing on the cake if he gets the single, but tonight was 'Tap time,'" Rockies manager Bud Black said. "He's a hard player."
Rockies closer Greg Holland struck out two in a perfect ninth inning for his 27th save, which is a new club record for most before the All-Star break. Charlie Blackmon also hit a solo home run, his 18th, after it was announced he would be in the 2017 T-Mobile Home Run Derby.
• Rox's Blackmon surprised, excited for Derby

The Reds didn't go quietly, though. Trailing 3-1 in the top of the sixth, Scooter Gennett and Joey Votto launched back-to-back solo home runs to lead off the frame. Their efforts were undone in the bottom half of the inning by Tapia's homer, though.
"I felt strong. I just left a bad changeup up to Gennett, and Votto does what he does with fastballs that get a lot of the zone," said Rockies starter , who allowed three runs over seven quality innings. "They did what they were supposed to do with those pitches. I just tried to get back in the zone as quick as possible."
Making his third Major League start, Reds right-hander allowed four runs over 5 2/3 innings while striking out eight and walking one.
• Castillo fearless on mound against Rockies
Milestone jacks: Hoffman had been cruising for much of the game, but Gennett and Votto's home runs tied it up quickly. Gennett's solo shot, his 13th of the season, traveled a projected 452 feet, the longest homer he's hit since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015. Votto's home run was his 24th of the season and also his 1,500th career hit. The reigning NL Player of the Week, who hit .524 in his previous seven games with three homers, is ending the first half hot.
"It's vintage Joey at this point," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He's not missing the good pitches to hit. He's fighting off the tough pitches. He continues to show great strike-zone discipline and puts a lot of balls on the barrel. I'm happy as anything that he made the All-Star Game. I hope he gets to play enough to where people who don't get to see the Reds play a lot get a chance to see him and how he handles himself at the plate."

Helping your own cause: Hoffman contributed at the plate for Colorado, as well, by going 2-for-3 with his first career RBI. In the second inning, Hoffman doubled to right field to bring Tapia home. Castillo appeared to have worked out of a jam, facing the opposing pitcher after retiring the two previous batters -- with help from 's diving catch -- following Tapia's leadoff triple. But Hoffman's double bailed out Tapia, who got crossed up on the basepaths and didn't tag up on Duvall's snare.
"That guy, I think coming into the game was 2-for-whatever, 2-for-20," Reds catcher said. "You kick yourself for maybe not throwing a first-pitch breaking ball, but you've got a guy out there throwing 100. You've got to kind of tip your hat to the guy. Obviously that hurts, though. You make a great play in the outfield, and you would have liked to have gotten the pitcher out, but that's baseball."

"It's fun to get a cycle. It doesn't happen all the time. How many have we had here? I came from a place that didn't have any," Black, on Tapia's near-cycle, jokingly referring to his previous managerial stint with the Padres who famously didn't have a cycle in franchise history until August 2015

Tapia's home-to-third time on his leadoff triple in the second inning was 10.94 seconds, the third-fastest triple this year. He even reached third base standing. Both of Tapia's triples this season are among in the 11 fastest in MLB for 2017. Only the Reds' also has multiple triples in the top 11 this year.
"I always play really hard and run really hard, try to put that pressure on the defense, and make it hard for them," Tapia said through a translator.

Reds: Homer Bailey, who is 0-2 with a 27.00 ERA through two starts that totaled only 4 2/3 innings, will seek improved fortunes when the series against the Rockies continues at 8:10 continues at 8:10 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
Rockies: Rookie left-hander will make his second start against the Reds this season Tuesday at 6:10 p.m. MT. Freeland faced the Reds in Cincinnati on May 21. He allowed 4 runs in 5 2/3 innings but also hit his first career home run.
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