McMahon records stellar day in Rockies' win over Royals

June 3rd, 2023

KANSAS CITY -- ’s baseball doctrine is to keep his emotions level, whether its during the awful first nine weeks of the season or the dream last eight days. But a day ago was a good time for him and the Rockies to feel bad.

An already rough trip ended with a late loss at Arizona to complete a four-game sweep. Had the Rockies won, instead of lost in walk-off fashion, the golden possibility of a winning road trip existed. For more postgame minutes than usual, players stared blankly and let their countenances sink.

“This group cares, man,” McMahon said. “You come in right after a loss like that, guys gonna be disappointed. It's OK. But we showed up today and I don't think there's any talk about it, or any worry about it. Even when we're on the plane, guys had flushed it.”

And Friday night, they could lean on McMahon to keep on his merry stretch.

McMahon homered in the first inning off Royals starter Jordan Lyles, and during an eighth-inning rally fought off a difficult Carlos Hernández pitch to drive in the go-ahead run on a single in the Rockies’ 7-2 victory at Kauffman Stadium.

In eight games from last Friday to this, McMahon has sizzled at 15-for-31 (.484) with five home runs, two doubles, a triple, 13 RBIs, four walks and just eight strikeouts. It’s a hot streak in every way except for McMahon’s manner. There is a reason for that.

A Rockies team gradually turning to the future need not succumb to the old demon of descending into long, dark stretches. The first month was exactly that, with an 8-20 record from March 30 to April 29. But since then, the Rockies are 17-14. There’s not a better way to flush a sweep than a win like Friday’s, with veteran (two runs in six frames) turning in his fourth strong start since joining the club, and rookie's starting the rally (Brenton Doyle walked and Ezequiel Tovar doubled).

It wasn’t easy. Lyles, who entered 0-9 with a 7.30 ERA, struck out eight in five innings and had a 2-1 lead on Anderson, who missed location on solo homers by Edward Olivares in the second and Drew Waters in the third. But the Rockies made it right in the six-run eighth.

“Obviously, we’d love to do it earlier, love to do it a lot more often,” McMahon said. “There was no quit. We kept coming, finally broke through, had the big inning and got the win.”

McMahon revealing something out of character, like a superstition that has had magic power in recent days, would make a great story. No dice. It’s just cool-headed at-bats.

In the eighth with Doyle at third and Tovar at second, drawn-in Royals first baseman Nick Pratto dove to stop Charlie Blackmon’s hard grounder. Second baseman Nicky Lopez’s play on Jurickson Profar’s grounder (after he battled from 0-2) was almost as good, but Doyle’s speed beat Lopez's throw to tie the game at 2.

That’s when McMahon came through with an opposite-field ball dropped into left for the lead. It made two-run doubles from Elias Díaz and Nolan Jones possible.

“That's what feels good and that's what fires up the team,” McMahon said. “Honestly, it doesn't matter how it happens. It just matters that it does happen.”

Beyond last year’s run of errors during the first half, McMahon’s defense has regularly been strong. Plays like his dive into foul ground and throw to rob Salvador Perez of a first-inning hit happen consistently. Based on the defense and the potential for big offense, the Rockies signed McMahon for six years and $70 million before last season.

“If you ask ‘Mac,’ this is how he sees himself, as this type of player,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “As do we.

“The expectation for all players is to perform at a level they see themselves at. ‘Mac’ is in a great spot.”