Rockies stun D-backs with 19-run thrashing
Four Colorado batters homer, including Gonzalez twice, starter Marquez
DENVER -- The Rockies didn't just end an unseemly losing streak against the D-backs on Wednesday night. They obliterated it.
Carlos Gonzalez homered twice and drove in six runs, Ian Desmond's first-inning blast accounted for three of his five RBIs, and Charlie Blackmon and pitcher German Marquez also went deep as the Rockies romped Arizona, 19-2, at Coors Field -- where the D-backs had previously won nine straight times.
"I don't know," said Blackmon, whose Statcast-projected 434-foot homer off Jorge De La Rosa in the third was his deepest of the season. "We just whacked the ball tonight. I would like to think that it means we're going to continue to do that, but realistically, you're not going to score 19 runs a lot.
"But at the same time, we did a really good job playing the game also. So it wasn't a complete fluke -- there was some good play in there."
More important than the game stats was that the Rockies finished the night 3 1/2 games behind the National League West-leading D-backs and with a chance to win an important pre-All-Star break series. And they ended their longest losing streak at Coors against any club.
"We have a chance to win a series tomorrow, and they have a chance, also," said Nolan Arenado, whose 2-for-3 night with two RBIs seemed ho-hum in comparison with some of his teammates. "If we can get tomorrow's win, I think we'll feel really good. That's what we're going to be focusing on."
The 19 runs fell just short of the club record of 20, which has happened three times, the last in a 20-8 victory over the Giants on Sept 18, 2006.
But let's count the ways it was memorable:
• Marquez, who overcame Paul Goldschmidt's first-inning homer to hold the D-backs to two runs and six hits while striking out eight in five innings, hit the first homer by a Rockies pitcher this season -- a 447-foot solo shot in the fifth off Daniel Descalso.
Marquez's first career homer also was the third-deepest home run by a pitcher since Statcast™ began tracking projected distances in 2015. The deepest happened to be the last homer by a Rockies pitcher, Jon Gray, last July 5 at Coors Field, followed by D-backs pitcher Taijuan Walker at Chase Field last July 25.
"I'd be lying to you if I didn't say sometimes, 'I've gotta go yard at some point,' and I'm glad that it happened tonight," Marquez said.
• That's right, Marquez's homer came off Descalso -- the utility man who spent 2015-16 with the Rockies. Descalso was pitching in the fourth inning, which was the earliest a position player had taken the mound since the Brewers' Sal Bando did it Aug. 29, 1979, in an 18-8 loss to the Royals. Descalso threw 2 2/3 innings and gave up four hits and three runs. Descalso threw the most innings by a true position player since the Cardinals' Jose Oquendo threw four on May 14, 1988.
• It's just the second time in the expansion era (since 1961) that a pitcher has homered off a true position player. The Giants' Mike LaCoss went deep off the Padres' Dane Iorg on June 23, 1986.
"It was just a matter of time for [Marquez] to hit a homer," Arenado said. "Descalso's only throwing, like, 50 mph. But you watch [Marquez's] batting practice and he has ridiculous power. He launches balls out of the ballpark."
• The Rockies forced the D-backs to use two position players on the mound. Alex Avila threw scoreless ball in the final two innings.
• Blackmon's homer put him ninth in home runs in a Rockies uniform with 129. He broke a tie with Matthew Holliday (2004-08).
• For Gonzalez, it was his first multi-homer game since last Sept. 12 at Arizona.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Desmond caps a rally: Before the score turned lopsided, Desmond's homer was a key hit. The Rockies had a 2-1 lead and two outs in the first against on D-backs starter Shelby Miller, who would leave after the inning with right forearm soreness. Miller fanned Gerardo Parra -- the only Rockies starter not to manage a hit.
But Desmond whacked a 2-1 pitch 472 feet -- his deepest of the season -- onto the concourse beyond the left-field wall. It was Desmond's 18th homer, which tied him with Blackmon for second on the team. Although Desmond is hitting .223, he has had a knack for important swings and plays to ignite the Rockies.
"Knowing Ian like I do, the mental toughness and the self-confidence that players have, that Ian has shown through this season, that was arguably the biggest swing of the game," Rockies manager Bud Black said.
Marquez's overlooked gem: The Rockies' first four innings left Marquez waiting a long time to take the mound again.
Marquez allowed just one walk and one hit while striking out five in innings 2-5.
"That's not easy," Black said. "To keep the concentration, and you know that what's expected, it seems easy from the outside with a huge lead. Just throw strikes, it's easier said than done. I really like the way that he responded to that. He kept the velocity at his norm."
The Rockies weren't the only ones who erupted on offense on Wednesday -- the Indians beat the Reds, 19-4. It was the first day that multiple teams scored 19 or more runs since Sept. 30, 2000, when the A's beat the Rangers, 23-2, and the Mariners beat the Angels, 21-9, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
It was also the first day that two teams had 17 or more runs in the first four innings since June 18, 2000, when the Rockies scored 17 against the D-backs and the A's scored 17 against the Royals.
Left-hander Kyle Freeland is 0-2 at Coors Field in his career against the D-backs, but he'll hope to change that Thursday afternoon against left-hander Robbie Ray (3-1, 5.23 ERA). Freeland has had more than a few good outings this year and stands at 8-6 with a 3.18 ERA. And he's fared even better at home: 5-2 with a 2.89 ERA. He's pitched deep into games recently and is the Rockies' most consistent starter this year, but he'll have to conquer the D-backs strong starting lineup. In his 1-2 career against the D-backs, Freeland has a 4.74 ERA over 19 innings.