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Rockies ride 'steady' Gray to shutout of Giants

@goodforball
June 25, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Rockies’ 2-0 victory Monday night over the San Francisco Giants was as odd as it was welcome. Everybody knows the Rockies’ typical approach: Pound opponents into submission. They scored at least five runs in 33 of their previous 40 victories. This time, they sustained themselves on

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Rockies’ 2-0 victory Monday night over the San Francisco Giants was as odd as it was welcome.

Everybody knows the Rockies’ typical approach: Pound opponents into submission. They scored at least five runs in 33 of their previous 40 victories. This time, they sustained themselves on David Dahl’s two-run, third-inning homer and their fourth shutout triumph of the season, paced by Jon Gray’s six-inning, four-hit effort.

Box score

“It was a different type of game,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “... It goes to show we can win a game like this.”

The other departure from the norm was Gray’s fate against the Giants. He defeated them for the first time in his career after recording an 0-3 record with a 5.18 ERA in seven starts. His reversal of fortune is rooted in his attitude, which has been tempered by four full big league seasons.

When he finds himself in a jam, he said, “I’m seeing opportunities in those situations. Rather than [putting] your back against the ropes or whatever, you just say, ‘OK, I’m in a situation. How cool would it be to get out of it or leave [the baserunners] stranded? It’s been a complete switch.”

Gray’s mindset has manifested itself in his consistency. He has worked six innings or more in 11 of his 16 starts.

“I think Jon, from the start of the year until now, has been really steady,” Black said. “A marked improvement over what we saw last year, which was a little roller-coaster.”

In the wake of the frustration the Rockies endured last weekend against the Dodgers, who swept them by receiving walk-off hits from rookies in all three games, this was an especially satisfying victory for Colorado.

“This was a good one to come back and get,” Black said.

Good, because the performance Gray (8-5) delivered under the circumstances he faced brought him a step closer to being the reliable starter Colorado needs. He surrendered four hits and struck out six. Jairo Diaz and Scott Oberg contributed an inning apiece before Wade Davis pitched a perfect ninth for his 10th save.

Good, because the Rockies won despite their offense for once. The Rockies were so discombobulated offensively that Giants starter Drew Pomeranz (2-8), who entered the game with a 7.09 ERA, amassed a career-high-matching 11 strikeouts in five innings.

Said Gray, “Usually it’s our offense picking up our pitchers.”

"We might have been looking a little bit for the curve early in the game and he started getting some fastballs by us,” Black said of Pomeranz, who struck out five of the first seven batters he faced. “It looked like, from my vantage point, that his fastball had a little bit more carry, a little bit more life to it, maybe a little bit better location, than he's shown in his last few starts.”

Chris Haft has covered the Major Leagues since 1991 and has worked for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @goodforball.