Despite a rocky road record, the Rockies looked sharp in Miami on Wednesday night and secured a 4-3 victory over the Marlins thanks to the arm of lefty starter Austin Gomber and a quartet of relievers.
Gomber has been the rare Rockies pitcher who has performed much better at home than the road: He entered Wednesday’s game with a 1.33 ERA at Coors Field this season, but a 5.44 ERA on the road.
However, the southpaw was in top form in five innings of work at loanDepot park, allowing just one run on five hits to earn the win. The Rockies now have just five road wins on the season, with three coming from Gomber. He has a 3.95 ERA on the year in 13 starts.
“I’ve pitched on the road a lot more than I have at home, but I don't feel like I'm a different pitcher at home or on the road." Gomber said. "I don't mind pitching on the road. It's fun. Sometimes I enjoy it, actually. I think right now maybe it has just been a little bit of a small sample size.”
“When he came to Spring Training, once I got to know him, once he got involved with our pitching coaches ... each and every day, this guy competes and competes hard,” said Rockies manager Bud Black. “He's got a desire to pitch. He's got a desire to improve. He's a great student, he listens.”
Raimel Tapia got things going for the Rockies with a leadoff double off Miami starter Braxton Garrett. This extended Tapia’s hitting streak to seven games and gave him his 300th career hit. Following Tapia’s double, an RBI single from Charlie Blackmon brought in Tapia and gave the Rockies an early lead. This also extended Blackmon’s hitting streak to nine games.
The Rockies tacked on runs in the third and the fifth, and the lone run Gomber allowed came in the bottom of the fifth when Jazz Chisholm Jr. hit a line-drive RBI single into left to bring in Jon Berti and give the Marlins their first run of the game.
The Rockies extended their lead to 4-1 in the sixth, and though reliever Tyler Kinley allowed a two-run homer to Marlins outfielder Adam Duvall that brought Miami within one in the bottom of the frame, the relief trio of Carlos Estévez, Mychal Givens, and Daniel Bard shut the door with three scoreless innings. Miami loaded the bases against Bard in the ninth, but he retired Corey Dickerson to secure the win.
The Rockies recorded 10 hits on the night, and Black said he was pleased with the at-bats lately.
“I noticed in Pittsburgh, and even in New York that our at-bats seem to be advancing to be more competitive," Black said. "I know that the guys are continuing to talk about the competitive at-bats that we're having, the situational at-bats, putting the ball in play, and doing the things during the course of the game that will help us score runs. Because the runs have been hard to come by. So I sense that this should continue as far as the competitive spirited at-bats, to help us score. Now whether they result in wins or not, I'm not sure.”
With this victory, Black became the third manager in Rockies history to reach 300 wins, trailing Don Baylor (440) and Clint Hurdle (534).
“It's a good round number,” said Black, who has 949 career wins in 14 seasons as a manager with San Diego and Colorado. “The thing that I've appreciated most about the Rockies team since I've been here is the fight and the grit that they've shown and that's a reflection I think of the organization and the players and the coaching staff.”