Colorado Rockies’ third baseman Nolan Arenado went 3 for 4 at the plate with two doubles and a go-ahead homer in the 7-5 win over the Washington Nationals last night in the series opener in Coors Field.
Arenado also started a 5-3 double play on a sharp grounder to third off Kurt Suzuki’s bat in the ninth to bring an end to a potential rally after the Nats put two on against closer Wade Davis.
Arenado’s doubles were the third and fourth of 2019, and his home run was the 1,000th hit of his seven-year career, a 419-foot blast that put the Rockies up for good after they fought back from 2-0 and 5-2 deficits in the first of three with the Nationals this week.
“He’s a really good hitter,” Davey Martinez told reporters after the Nationals fell to 1-7 in series openers this season with the loss.
No. 1,000 had to be a homer, right?— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) April 23, 2019
Here's to MANY more! pic.twitter.com/HfBjg7HYG5
“He’s one of the premier players in this league, so you’ve just got to make your pitches.”
Arenado turned a first-pitch fastball inside from Jeremy Hellickson around and doubled to left to drive in a run in the first, cutting a 2-0 lead in half before scoring to tie it on an RBI single by Ryan McMahon, then, after he grounded out in the third, he hit another fastball inside out to left for his second double off the Nationals’ starter, scoring the first of three runs as the Rockies erased a 5-2 deficit in the fifth.
Going up against right-hander reliever Wander Suero in the first at bat of the Rockies’ half of the seventh, the recently-turned 28-year-old infielder hit a 1-0 cutter down and in out to left-center for his 4th HR of the season.
“Right down the middle,” Martinez said of Suero’s pitch, “and a guy like Arenado you’ve got to make a better pitch than that.”
And the fact that he showed off the glove work in the ninth to cap off his big game, fielding Suzuki’s grounder after a double by Ryan Zimmerman and a walk by Brian Dozier, stepping on third and throwing across the infield for the game-ending 5-3 DP?
“Like I said, he’s one of the premier players in the game,” Martinez reiterated. “When we first hit it I thought it was going down the line and he made it look easy.”
“We just came up short,” the manager added, “made a couple bad pitches. Big mistakes and it hurt us.”
And the inability to make the two and three-run leads hold up?
“We knew coming into the game and we talked about it every inning, five runs here is never enough,” Martinez said, “so we’ve got to keep going, keep tacking on.”