Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

Rockies News

Kemp clubs 457-foot oppo shot vs. Padres

@harding_at_mlb
August 2, 2020

DENVER -- Matt Kemp stamped his brand on Coors Field Saturday night -- with a baseball he blasted 457 feet into the right-field upper deck. Kemp, finally with the Rockies after a decade and a half of tormenting them, launched the awe-inspiring homer over the bullpen off of Padres reliever

DENVER -- Matt Kemp stamped his brand on Coors Field Saturday night -- with a baseball he blasted 457 feet into the right-field upper deck.

Kemp, finally with the Rockies after a decade and a half of tormenting them, launched the awe-inspiring homer over the bullpen off of Padres reliever Cal Quantrill during the third inning of Saturday night's 6-1 victory. The screamer left Kemp's bat at 108 mph.

Box score

It was Kemp’s first homer in a Rockies uniform, but not an unfamiliar sight. Going into Saturday, in 87 games (83 starts) at Coors, Kemp had a .328/.390/.618 slash line, for a 1.008 OPS. And for old-fashioned numbers, the homer was his 22nd at the park, to complement 24 doubles -- including one as a pinch-hitter that drove in two runs on the first pitch of his first at-bat at Coors in a Rockies uniform on Friday night.

Closer status murky after Oberg's workout

“Being here, you don’t really have to swing as hard,” Kemp said. “You square the ball up and great things can happen -- big outfield, a lot of grass out there and the ball can go a little bit.

“For me, when I’m going right-center, that’s when I’m going the best.”

Some homegrown players also made their marks as the Rockies ran to 5-2 on the season.

Trevor Story made a diving catch of Jurickson Profar’s liner to end the top of the fourth, and a line-drive homer -- complete with a stylish bat drop -- in the bottom of the frame, then made a sliding snag of a Manny Machado grounder to start a sixth-inning double play.

• Lefty starter Kyle Freeland held the Padres to two hits in six innings, with four strikeouts and one walk. It was the 10th game that Freeland, who debuted in 2017, has gone at least six and allowed no runs.

• Third baseman Nolan Arenado ranged 111 feet for a dazzling over-the-head catch of Jurickson Profar’s foul pop to end the fourth.

But Saturday showed how adding a long-time tormentor could help what the Rockies believe is a solid club.

Rockies manager Bud Black, who was Kemp’s manager with the Padres in 2015, has started Kemp twice against left-handed pitchers (the Padres’ Joey Lucchesi lasted just 1 2/3 innings and allowed three runs). Raimel Tapia has been the primary lefty designated hitter. But Kemp, 35, arrived determined to earn as much time as possible.

Kemp signed during Summer Camp after the Marlins (with whom he played in Spring Training) didn’t include him in their player pool.

Most of Kemp’s damage came as a member of the Dodgers, but he also fashioned the first cycle in Padres history on Aug. 14, 2015, at Coors.

“He’s always a threat,” Black said. “He got a hit off a right-handed pitcher in Texas. So we’re going to utilize him. He’s a weapon. He’s been a run-producer. He’s dangerous. He’s giving us some good at-bats.”

“He’s got all-field power. He sets up for right-center-field power. That was a classic Matt Kemp swing.”

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.