Rockies' best single-game hitting displays
DENVER -- Nolan Arenado commemorated the greatest offensive performance in Rockies history with blood and sweat while Coors Field erupted in cheers.
And while the famous Father’s Day cycle of 2017 -- when Arenado's walk-off, three-run homer gave the Rockies a come-from-behind, 7-5 victory over the Giants -- tops this list, it was only a narrow No. 1. That’s because the Rockies’ bats and the mile-high air of Coors Field have produced memorable offensive games. The park has seen 19 cycles, nine of them by the home team. And, as the list shows, some performances were even better than cycles.
Here are Colorado's top five single-game hitting performances:
1. Nolan Arenado -- June 18, 2017 vs. Giants
This game already had a striking look. The Rockies were in their light-blue highlighted Father’s Day uniforms. During the celebration, Arenado was clipped above the left eye by the batting helmet of Charlie Blackmon -- who had experienced a great feat himself going 6-for-6 in Colorado’s 2014 home opener -- and the blood poured. This masterpiece sparked artwork that has been turned into murals and appeared on T-shirts and the like.
2. Andres Galarraga -- July 3, 1995 vs. Astros
Coors was a wild place starting in its April 26, 1995 opener -- an 11-9, 14-inning game settled by Dante Bichette’s homer. By midsummer, such games were commonplace. In the Rockies' 15-10 win over the Astros on July 3, Galarraga homered twice and drove in five runs among his 6-for-6 performance. His next-to-last hit was a seventh-inning solo homer that gave Colorado an 11-10 lead. Galarraga finished it with a single during the four-run eighth that gave the Rox breathing room.
3. Carlos González -- July 31, 2010 vs. Cubs
In many parks, if a guy hits for a cycle, the only drama is whether he completes the feat. Not at Coors. As often as not, it’s a tight game, like the Arenado Father’s Day game, and every hit is required. So González came up in the ninth inning with the score tied and the crowd alive. Face it: the Cubs were in town, so a significant number of fans were cheering for the visitors when González stepped up to the plate. It didn’t last long. CarGo powered Sean Marshall’s first pitch into the third deck -- straight into the bare hand of a Cubs fan, who, along with his buddy beside him, could manage only a bemused grimace as the Rockies fans celebrated a 6-5 victory.
4. Todd Helton -- April 8, 2003 vs. Cardinals
Remember, Coors is a wild place. On this night, Helton reached base seven times by going 4-for-4 with a double and a home run, and walking three times. But the last of the walks, issued by reliever Steve Kline, actually may have won the game for the Cards. With one out and one on in the bottom of the 11th, it was a pick-your-poison choice: Pitch around Helton and face future Hall of Famer Larry Walker, or risk Helton winning it with a gapper or a longball. Helton never came to the plate again, and Mike Matheny’s three-run homer in the 13th won it, 15-12.
5. Mike Lansing -- June 18, 2000 vs. D-backs
As we've driven home here, cycles aren’t that unusual at Coors. But this one was notable for the stunning speed in which it was achieved. Lansing tripled and homered off D-backs starter and onetime Rockies pitcher Armando Reynoso, doubled off Omar Daal and singled off Russ Springer to complete the cycle -- in the fourth inning. It was the fastest cycle in MLB history. Quite possibly having tired himself out, Lansing struck out in the sixth. The Rockies mercifully removed him before the end of the 19-2 thrashing of the D-backs.