Whew. Rockies’ manager Walt Weiss must be breathing easier these days. After a four-game fire sale over the weekend saw his offense produce only nine runs in four games, the Colorado bats are back in business. Counting a 10-3 rout of the Atlanta Braves on Thursday afternoon at Coors Field, the Colorado Rockies have now rung up the scoreboard register to the tune of 28 runs in three days. The sum for fiscal 2014 is now 327—second best in Major League Baseball.
Perhaps the one person more thankful than Walt Weiss is Jhoulys Chacin. Slated to be the Rockies’ opening day pitcher, Chacin had to rehab for more than a month with a shoulder strain suffered in spring training. He has not had much luck since returning in early May, going 0-4. In those four losses, his team had scored only four runs. Chacin got his first win Thursday afternoon and pitched well, shutting out the Braves for seven innings and allowing only two hits.
On a day when leading NL All-Star vote-getter Troy Tulowitzki took the day off, it was Charlie Blackmon who led the way. Blackmon went 3 for 4 from the plate, with a home run and two doubles. His homer was his 12 of the year, and gave the Rockies a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Justin Morneau hit his 11th home run of the season, a solo-shot in the 6th inning. He went 2 for 5 from the plate, with a two-run single in the seventh, when the Rockies broke the game open with five runs.
Strange things went on in the eighth inning. Curtis Dickerson was at the plate for Colorado, and accidentally hit Braves’ catcher Gerald Laird in the jaw on his backswing off of a foul ball. Laird was taken out of the game, and during the same at-bat, Atlanta reliever David Carpenter hit Dickerson on the back of his thigh. Convinced the beaning was in retaliation for the backswing incident, Rockies coach Walt Weiss left the dugout, with several players and staff following, to confront Carpenter. Weiss was ejected from the game and nothing more ensued during through the rest of the inning. Dickerson agreed with his coach that the pitch was intentional, remarking after the game, “It was almost behind me…it’s pretty hard to miss that far.”
The Rockies got a measure of retaliation, scoring two more runs in the inning. Then, with two out in the Braves last bat in the ninth, Rockies’ reliever Nick Masset drilled the man who replaced Laird at catcher, Evan Gattis. Masset and Colorado bench coach Tom Runnels were immediately ejected. Gattis walked quietly to first base and nothing more came of it.
Even though they went 3-7 on a 10-game home stand, the two straight wins give the Rockies some momentum as they embark on a big road trip. They play three games in San Francisco against the division-leading Giants, and three games against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Colorado will face the Giants’ Tim Lincecum (5-4, 4.97 ERA) on Friday in the first game, and will counter with Jorge De La Rosa (6-5, 4.04 ERA).
Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Colorado Rockies