Three images from the Rockies’ much-needed 6-2 victory over the Houston Astros Tuesday night at frigid Coors Field:
* In the top of the seventh inning, right-hander Jon Gray slapped his glove in celebration after inducing a double play to snuff out a would-be Houston rally.
* In the sixth, C.J. Cron raised his arm in the air at second base after delivering the biggest hit of his fledgling Rockies career. And Cron wasn’t done.
* In the bottom of the seventh, catcher Dom Nunez did a casual bat flip and took a few moments to watch his 431-foot solo home run off of reliever Ryne Stanek soar into the right-field seats, putting Colorado ahead, 3-1. Nunez has hit four home runs, doubling the total output of Rockies’ catchers during last year’s shortened season.
The win snapped the Rockies’ nine-game losing streak against Houston and Colorado won for just the third time in their last 11 games.
Gray, who’s been mostly terrific in his four starts, whittled his ERA down to 2.42. He gave up only three hits, struck out six and walked four over 6 2/3 innings. The Astros nicked him for a run in the sixth, with Michael Brantley slicing a single to right and scoring on Carlos Correa’s opposite double into the right-field corner.
On a night that began with a first-pitch temperature of 35 degrees — and dipped as low as 27 degrees — Cron delivered the clutch hits the Rockies have been missing.
In the sixth, the first baseman crushed reliever Bryan Abreu’s 2-1 slider over the head of center fielder Myles Straw for a double, driving in Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon to give the Rockies a 2-1 lead. Story reached on a bloop single to right off of Astros right-hander Luis Garcia and Blackmon reached on a hit-by-pitch.
In the eighth, Cron ripped Joe Smith’s 0-2 slider 381 feet and into the left-field bleachers for a three-run home run. The homer was Cron’s first of the season.
Until Cron delivered his double, the Rockies followed a familiar refrain against Garcia.
In a frustrating fourth, Raimel Tapia led off with a bloop double to shallow center, taking second base when the Astros didn’t cover the bag. Ryan McMahon’s grounder advance Tapia to third but that’s where Tapia was stranded. Garcia struck out Story swinging at a 93 mph fastball on a 1-2 count and Blackmon grounded out to first.
The song remained the same for the Rockies in the fifth. Yonathan Daza belted a one-out double to right-center but Josh Fuentes flew out to left, and after the Astros intentionally walked Dom Nunez, Gracia whiffed Gray.
The two teams are scheduled to conclude their two-game series on Wednesday afternoon at Coors.
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