Aggressive baserunning helps Rockies secure 5th straight 'W'

May 14th, 2024

SAN DIEGO -- The Rockies suddenly are doing something they hadn’t done much of in 2024.

Besides winning.

The Rockies have shown a newfound aggressiveness on the bases during their season-best five-game winning streak. That trend continued Monday night in their 5-4 victory over the Padres at Petco Park.

Right-hander Dakota Hudson earned his first win with the Rockies after allowing three runs on three hits and three walks across 5 2/3 innings in the series opener. The Rockies maximized his run support with some derring-do on the basepaths.

“With our group, we’ve got to push it a little bit,” manager Bud Black said. “We’re having trouble scoring runs. So any opportunity in a game that calls for aggressiveness, we’re going to do it.”

The Rockies swiped three bases and were otherwise aggressive in taking bases where they could. On the heels of a three-steal day on Sunday against the Rangers, Colorado had at least three stolen bases in consecutive games for the first time since a three-game stretch from Sept. 2-4, 2018.

The Rockies had 11 stolen bases in their first 36 games. They have eight during the win streak.

Brenton Doyle, Charlie Blackmon and Ezequiel Tovar had the steals Monday, and the first two led to runs Colorado otherwise likely wouldn’t have scored.

The Rockies needed both those runs to hold off the Padres. They issued 11 walks, one shy of the club record. Six came in the final two innings. Closer Jalen Beeks escaped a bases-loaded jam by inducing a game-ending double play against cleanup hitter Manny Machado.

Black opted to play the infield back and take a chance on a double play, rather than bring the infield in for a potential out at home plate.

“I think we have a really, really talented team,” said Jake Cave, whose diving catch at the right-field line accounted for the first out for Beeks. “These last five games show it. We’ve beaten some good teams.”

Added Hudson: “Guys are just stepping up. … We’re playing tough baseball.”

In the second inning, Doyle walked with one out and stole second base on the first pitch from Randy Vásquez to Cave. When Cave grounded out to the right side, Doyle advanced to third. That allowed Doyle to score on Elehuris Montero’s infield single up the middle.

In the fourth inning, Blackmon singled with two outs and then stole second. He scored on Tovar’s single to center field.

The two manufactured runs allowed Colorado to overcome the walks, three Padres homers and one baserunning mistake. With insurance runs there for the taking in the top of the ninth -- runners on second and third with one out -- trail runner Jordan Beck got doubled off second base after a short flyout to center field.

That goof aside, the Rockies plan to keep putting their legs to use. Statcast ranks their overall baserunning in the bottom half of the Majors. They entered the week 29th in the Majors percentage of extra bases taken on doubles and singles per opportunity.

But playing better baseball means more leads. And that means aggressiveness more often is rewarded -- and worth the risk.

“I love it,” Cave said. “I like aggressive baseball. Obviously, it’s easier to do that when you’re winning games.”

The Rockies’ five-game winning streak is their longest since a five-gamer last September.

“A lot of games early in the year didn’t dictate us running,” Black said. “Recently, we’ve had good starting pitching, so the games have been close and we can push the envelope a little bit.”