Rockies top Reds behind Gray’s arm, bat

Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jon Gray delivers to Cincinnati Reds' Billy Hamilton in the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, July 5, 2017, in Denver.
The Associated Press

DENVER (AP) — Jon Gray’s power was impressive. His hop out of the batter’s box and home run trot, too.

For a pitcher who’d never hit a major league homer before, he sure had the routine down.

Gray launched his drive an estimated 467 feet — the farthest by any Rockies player this season — and pitched effectively into the sixth inning as Colorado beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-3 on a sweltering Wednesday night.

“I see Jon in (batting practice) and he has some strength to his swing,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “That ball was crushed.”

Too bad Gray won’t ever get it back as a souvenir. The ball landed in the stands and bounced into the pond behind center field, joining a bevy of baseballs from batting practice. “It’s gone. Forever,” Gray lamented.

At least he has the memories — and the accolades from teammates, who were awed by his mighty swing.

“They really didn’t say much, just, ‘Man, that was crushed,’” Gray said . “I told them the same thing: ‘It felt good.’ I tried to put a good swing on it.”

Gray’s two-run homer in the second was the longest among pitchers since MLB’s Statcast began tracking distances in 2015. Gray even did a little skip after contact and rounded the bases at a leisurely pace.

“He may not be a good hitter but he certainly has power,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “We learned that today.”

Gray (2-0) also was solid on the mound, going 5 2/3 innings and allowing three runs, two earned, in his second start since a broken bone in his left foot sidelined him for two months. Greg Holland threw a shaky ninth — by his standards — for his 28th save to help the slumping Rockies win for the third time in 14 games.

“It wasn’t a good day on the hill,” Gray said of his performance. “I didn’t have a feel for anything, really.”

Rockies shortstop Pat Valaika would debate that.

“It’s good to have high standards. But I think if a pitcher keeps us in the game, he had a good game,” said Valaika, who had a career-high three hits, including a two-run homer and a run-scoring single with two outs in the eighth.

It was a scorching day in Denver and the game-time temperature read 97 degrees, which tied for the second-hottest home contest in Rockies history.


Cincinnati RHP Sal Romano (0-1, 6.00 ERA) makes his second career appearance Thursday in the fourth and final game of the series. The Rockies will send RHP Tyler Chatwood (6-9, 4.41) to the mound.



SEATTLE (AP) — Salvador Perez hit a two-run homer in the 10th, Alex Gordon added a two-out RBI single later in the inning and Kansas City completed a three-game sweep with a win over Seattle.

Perez drove the second pitch from reliever James Pazos (2-2) out to right field for his 17th homer. It was the third home run of the game for Kansas City, adding to earlier two-run shots by Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain.

Mike Minor (5-1) pitched the ninth to get the victory and Kelvin Herrera threw the 10th for his 19th save. Minor had a scare when Mike Zunino led off the ninth with a flyball to deep left field that Gordon caught one step in front of the wall.

Kansas City won for the sixth time in seven games and handed Seattle its seventh straight loss at home.



MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Parker Bridwell tossed six scoreless innings, Kole Calhoun hit his 12th home run and Los Angeles edged Minnesota to avoid a road sweep.

Bridwell (3-1) outpitched All-Star Ervin Santana while scattering four hits and stranding seven runners.

Cameron Maybin stole home on a double steal in the sixth, giving the Angels a two-run cushion that helped end their three-game losing streak.

Santana (10-6) allowed seven hits in his fourth complete game this season, most in the majors. He lost consecutive starts for the first time this year.

Brian Dozier’s run-scoring single in the seventh was all the Twins could muster on offense.