Rockies roll over Pirates in hit parade, eye sweep in series’ finale

May 22, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Colorado Rockies batter Brendan Rodgers (7) passes by Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Elias Diaz (32) to greet Ian Desmond (20) and Trevor Story (27) after hitting a three run home run in the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

On a warm and humid night in Pittsburgh, the Colorado Rockies once again extending their hot streak at the plate.

Against the Pirates, the club garnered the second-most hits in a single game this year en route to a 9-3 victory. Alongside their success at the plate, Jon Gray also registered another smooth outing thanks to a revved-up fastball that averaged 97.1 miles per hour.

Ahead are takeaways from the club’s second consecutive winning effort.

Murphy and Wolters make their presence felt

Before the club’s latest win, both Daniel Murphy and Tony Wolters had combined for just two home runs in 171 at-bats. The pair broke the slump with a three-run home run apiece, both with two outs. In all, they combined to go 4-for-10.  

Murphy’s long ball was a welcome sight for Bud Black and company. After an early injury to his finger, the team’s prized free agent acquisition has scuffled. In his trip to PNC Park, he’s now hit four balls deep into the outfield, with his latest going over the wall:

His streak without a home run dated back to April 28th against the Atlanta Braves.

The dry spell for Wolters was far longer. His third-inning shot was the first of 2019 for the catcher. The last time Wolters sent one over the wall was last season on August 27th against the Los Angeles Angels.

With his home run, Wolters also matched his entire 2018 extra-base hit output with his 11th of the year.

Gray finds a groove after a rough start

In German Marquez and Jon Gray, the Rockies appear to have found their two most consistent starters for the foreseeable future. Looking to continue the club’s minimal win streak, Gray performed admirably.

Across seven innings, Gray allowed three earned runs and struck out seven. Outside of a Josh Bell moonshot, Gray’s night along the Allegheny was solid.

The blemish for the fireballer came on a 1-1 changeup that hung in the zone. Bell proceeded to splash the ball into the river, the second of his career. The Pirates first baseman became the first player in franchise history to accomplish the feat multiple times.

Bell’s 454-foot homer continued a troubling trend for Gray. In his 10 starts, Gray has now allowed 11 home runs. In 2019, he’s yielded a long ball in every start except one. Dating back to last year, he’s allowed one in 20 of his last 21 starts.

The outing lowered Gray’s season earned run average to 4.62 and marked his sixth quality start of the year.

Back in the lineup, Rodgers has his best day yet

Brendan Rodgers’ promotion to the big leagues was a much-anticipated event. Following two starts and two days off, he made his biggest impact thus far.

Slotted in the seventh spot in the lineup once again, Rodgers played a vital role in the Rockies’ bottom-of-the-order production.

Rodger’s first major league hit was an infield single, a trend he continued with two more in his first two at-bats against the Pirates. In his third chance, he made sure to break the spree:

Off the bat, Rodgers’ double was 101 miles per hour and flew an estimated distance of 356 feet, just shy of breaching the outfield wall. The extra-base hit was part of a 3-for-5 day. 

The young infielder had nine home runs in 135 at-bats with Triple-A Albuquerque prior to his promotion, a signal that the balls are set to exit the park soon.

The “opener” goes awry for the Pirates

In recent weeks, the Pirates have dealt with several injuries in their rotation. Both Trevor Williams and Jameson Taillon were placed on the injured list, leaving the club looking for answers.

Tasked with carrying the first leg of a bullpen game for the Pirates, Montana DuRapau was given the second start of his major league career. For his efforts, the youngster was only able to garner two outs among the six batters he faced.

The damage against DuRapau came courtesy of Murphy’s aforementioned homer.

With the third game of the series on Thursday, the Rockies were able to shuffle through four Pirates’ relievers in the game as they tallied nine runs and 16 hits. In the game, all 10 Rockies players that garnered a plate appearance got at least one hit. The feat was the first time since 2017. 

With Gray’s solid start, the club has an astute advantage in their possible sweep-clinching contest.