Monster slam, big bat flip: Story 'all in' on Rox

Shortstop caps 7-run rally as Colorado earns 2nd straight series victory

April 26th, 2021

DENVER -- Trevor Story is asked about his future in many ways, and he always answers the same, with as much sincerity as one can show on a Zoom call. But all his press-conference words combined didn’t say as much as his scream toward the Rockies’ dugout (and his emphatic, flick-of-the-wrist bat flip), as soon as it was clear his fourth-inning drive would be his third career grand slam.

Story, a free agent at season’s end and a popular name on the trade rumor mill, is having quite the time playing for a team that was win-famished for the season’s first two weeks. This past week has been an appetizer. Sunday’s 12-2 victory over the Phillies at Coors Field was the Rockies’ fifth win in their past seven games, as they earned their second straight series victory.

“That’s certainly the feeling that I had,” Story said. “We’re a young team, and I’m pretty close to a lot of guys on this team. We put in a lot of work together.

“That’s where the connection comes from.”

With the majority of their regulars early in their careers, the Rockies, if nothing else, can be called a hungry bunch. Story has stayed that way, despite an $18.5 million contract for this year and the prospect of potentially joining the Mets’ Francisco Lindor and the Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. as $340 million shortstops.

Until hitting a solo homer in Friday’s win over the Phillies, Story -- almost inexplicably -- had not homered this season, despite hitting multiple balls that would have cleared the fence at many ballparks or gone out of a different part of Coors Field. But like many power hitters, Story hits them in clusters.

“We're all fighting for each other,” Story said. “We’re in this thing. We’re out there battling another team, a different jersey. We’re all we got. It was cool to see them -- that’s what fired me up more than anything, my teammates’ reactions.”

It would be something if Story reached homer-cluster status during a three-game series against the Giants starting Monday night at Oracle Park, the beginning of a seven-game road trip. But having promised his heart in deed and word to these Rockies until otherwise told (before the Trade Deadline) or signed (to big offseason money in free agency), Story can focus on helping this team finally taste victory on the road. Colorado went 0-6 on its first trip, getting swept in three-game sets by National League West rivals San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Story said the Rockies “have some momentum, and we’re looking to ride that out.” Colorado is now 8-13 and feeling better after a strong week.

But Story has to be careful not to insist on doing all the driving.

“The reaction is one of joy for Trev,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “There’s a part of me that thinks that he wants to do more than what he needs to do, carry the team at times. I tell him he doesn't need to -- he just needs to be Trevor Story. He doesn't need to feel that burden.

“That was jubilation. You can tell by the bat flip. You can tell by the way he looked in the dugout and those first couple steps out of the box. He knew he got that one. It was hit hard. He’s all in, for sure, on this group. He thinks we can do some things moving forward.”

Story’s slam, which came off a 2-2 curveball by right-hander David Hale that hung instead of dove, highlighted a seven-run fourth -- the Rockies’ biggest inning since they scored seven in the sixth against the Brewers on Sept. 27, 2019. Colorado entered the frame trailing, 2-0, because of Philadelphia's Bryce Harper, who hit solo homers in the first and third.

Phillies starter Chase Anderson’s day began unraveling when Rockies starter Jon Gray (who allowed no scoring other than Harper's homers over six innings) tied the game in the fourth with a two-out RBI single.

“What happened afterward, I didn’t feel that coming,” Gray said. “But man, it was cool.”

Raimel Tapia gave Colorado a 3-2 lead with another RBI single, setting the stage for Story's big blow. Hale went for a curveball low and outside, and in an instant, Story was flipping his bat and yelling to his teammates.

“I wouldn't say that I was sitting on that [pitch],” Story said. “But that is what's kind of been happening lately to me -- guys busting me in hard and then trying to go away with something spinning away. I was able to get that one up in the zone, where I was looking.

“It was a great feeling.”