The Colorado Rockies defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field Saturday night by a score of 5-3 to secure their second consecutive victory.
The win improves Colorado’s record to 44-39 this season.
Ahead are takeaways from the victory.
Chuck stays hot
Charlie Blackmon has been one of the hottest hitters in Major League Baseball since the start of June.
Blackmon’s .409 batting average (38-for-93) ranks first in the National League through the month of June while his slugging percentage, runs scored, home runs and RBIs all rank within the top-10.
Blackmon struggled out of the gate to start the season, posting a measly .219 batting average with no home runs in his first 17 games played. Since then, Blackmon leads the sport in batting average with a .373 mark.
Additionally, Blackmon has been a force at Coors Field this season, having reached base in every home game this year while batting just under .500 with 15 home runs.
Blackmon’s power stroke was on display in the bottom of the third inning. “Chuck Nazty” worked a 2-2 count versus Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw before cranking a hanging breaking ball over the raised wall in right field for his 19th home run of the year.
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) June 30, 2019
Blackmon’s home run was historic as he became the first left-handed batter to hit a home run off of Kershaw in the regular season.
Rockies’ starter Jon Gray faced off against Kershaw in front of a sold-out Coors Field crowd, managing to outduel the three-time Cy Young Award winner.
Los Angeles scored a run against Gray in the first inning via an RBI double from MVP candidate Cody Bellinger to establish an early lead.
The early woes did not phase Gray as he proceeded to lock things down in the second and third innings.
Gray’s most significant issue throughout his career has been the “big inning” where he surrenders a bundle of runs, subsequently burying the Rockies.
Gray has shown significant signs of improvement with damage control this season, and that was evident against Los Angeles.
The Dodger’s continued to chip away at the Rockies’, scoring in the fourth and fifth innings, but Gray limited the damage to a single run per frame to keep Colorado within striking distance.
Gray’s ability to limit the damage ultimately helped secure the victory for Colorado.
Gray departed with a line of 6 2/3 innings pitched, allowing three runs on seven hits while striking out eight batters.
Rox get to Kershaw late
Clayton Kershaw has been one of the best pitchers in the sport for a decade, and he appeared to be in vintage form early on versus Colorado.
Besides allowing a two-run home run to Blackmon in the third inning, Kershaw was cruising at Coors Field, needing just 53 pitches to navigate through five innings of work.
That said, the Rockies managed to best Kershaw in the sixth inning.
Colorado’s rally started after Max Muncy committed an error on a ball hit by Blackmon. From there, Raimel Tapia, Nolan Arenado and Ian Desmond managed to log back-to-back-to-back singles, loading the bases for veteran Mark Reynolds.
Reynolds proceeded to sneak a single through the right side of the infield to score two runs and establish a 5-3 lead for Colorado.
Kershaw departed after seven innings, allowing five runs on seven hits while striking out seven batters.
Desmond continues to struggle in centerfield
To say Ian Desmond has been an awkward fit since signing with the Rockies is an understatement. The Rockies initially signed Desmond to a five-year, $70 million contract to shore up deficiencies at first base.
Desmond was a total disaster at first base, so the Rockies opted to shift him to center field ahead of the 2019 season.
Desmond played center field when he was a member of the Texas Rangers from 2016-17, so the Rockies were hopeful he would lock things down as the leader of the outfield. Well, that has not been the case as Desmond has been shaky in center field this season.
With the Rockies up 2-1 in the fourth inning, Dodgers’ star Justin Turner cranked a flyball to deep right-center field. Desmond zeroed in on the ball after it left the bat, tracking it to its eventual landing spot. The veteran had a good read on the ball but was unable to secure the catch as the ball bounced off his glove and trickled away.
The end result gifted the Dodgers a runner in scoring position that they would proceed to drive home to even the game at two runs apiece.
The error was the fourth of the season for Desmond who is now tied for first for the most errors committed by an outfielder in the National League this year.