Josiah Gray cruised through five in Coors Field, and took the mound in the sixth with a 4-0 lead, but the Washington Nationals’ right-hander lost his command, and gave up a leadoff single, back-to-back walks, and a one-out, base-clearing double to center field that got the Colorado Rockies back into the series opener in Denver, CO., 4-3.
Austin Voth, Mason Thompson, and Kyle Finnegan followed Gray on the mound and they kept the Nats up by one through eight, 4-3, before they added to the lead in the ninth, 5-3.
Tanner Rainey locked it down after he gave up a run in the ninth, 5-4 final.
Gray vs the Rockies Rd. 2: Josiah Gray gave up three hits, four walks, and five earned runs in 5 1⁄3 IP against the Rockies two weeks back in D.C., and manager Davey Martinez said he saw significant improvement from the 23-year-old right-hander, who’d struggled in his last few outings going into that start.
“I thought he threw the ball a lot better today,” Martinez said.
“He looked like he was in sync, for a while there ... those 12-13 batters, his tempo was really good, it was a lot better,” the manager said, pointing to a sustained stretch of retired hitters in the middle of the outing.
Gray followed up on that outing with six strong on the mound against the Marlins in which he gave up six hits, a walk, and two earned runs.
Gray said afterwards he thought he was, “controlling the strike zone better, getting in better counts, getting in pitcher-friendly counts, and executing my pitches, but that was definitely a key component.”
Tonight in Coors Field, the righty tossed three scoreless on 37 pitches, then came out in the fourth with a 3-0 lead and worked around a two-out walk, striking out two in what ended up a 21-pitch frame which left him at 58 pitches overall in the game.
It was 4-0 in the Nationals’ favor when Gray returned to the mound in the fifth, and worked around an error in a 14-pitch frame that left him at 71 total after five scoreless, but he came out for the sixth and suddenly lost his command, giving up a single and back-to-back walks to the first three batters he faced, before he got an out on a fly to shallow left field that was not deep enough to score the runner from third. Ryan McMahon stepped in next, however, and hit a 96 MPH 1-1 fastball to center and off the wall for a base-clearing double, 4-3. That was it for Gray...
Josiah Gray’s Line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 Ks, 90 P, 52 S, 5/4 GO/FO.
gerardo parra made a model (a bottlehead, if you will) of the rockies’ third base coach stu cole lol pic.twitter.com/TUelB3zCjV— Cut4 (@Cut4) September 28, 2021
Márquez vs the Nationals Rd. 2: Germán Márquez gave up eight hits, two walks, and six runs in four innings of work against the Nationals earlier this month in the nation’s capital, receiving no decision in what ended up a 9-8 win for the Rockies, and he followed up on that outing with another four-inning start against the Dodgers in which he gave up six hits, four walks, and five earned runs.
Rockies’ skipper Bud Black said after that outing that the 26-year-old righty needed to be more consistent.
“Germán has a lot of pride,” Black said, as quoted by WGN Radio. “Especially now with where he’s at in his career. He added an All-Star nod this year. But an All-Star maybe shouldn’t have those types of games. He takes a lot of pride in being good, and when it’s not, it’s motivating for him.”
Going up against the Nationals again tonight, Márquez tossed three scoreless on 38 pitches overall, but a leadoff single by Alcides Escobar, one-out hit-by-pitch on Josh Bell, and single by Yadiel Hernández loaded the bases in front of Keibert Ruiz, who took a bases-loaded free pass to bring in the first run of the game for either team, 1-0. Luis García stepped up next to face the Rockies’ righty, and hit a 1-0 fastball through the right side for a two-run single, 3-0, though Ruiz was thrown out going for third on the play, and Josiah Gray grounded out in the next at-bat.
Lane Thomas doubled to center to start the top of the fifth, took third on an opposite field single by Alcides Escobar, and scored when Juan Soto grounded into a force at second, 4-0.
Germán Márquez’s Line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 Ks, 90 P, 59 S, 9/1 GO/FO.
Keibert Walks: Keibert Ruiz started the night 17 for 39 (.436 AVG) with three doubles, two home runs, 12 RBIs, one walk, two HBPs, and seven runs scored in his last 10 games, over which he, “struck out just one time in 42 plate appearances,” as the Nationals noted in the pregame notes for tonight’s game, and the catcher had hits in 8 of 10, and multi-hit nights in five of his last eight games. And he took a bases-loaded walk tonight, forcing in the first run of the game for either team.
Bullpen Action: Rockies’ righty Robert Stephenson retired the Nationals in order in the top of the sixth.
Austin Voth took over for the Nationals with a runner on second after a base-clearing double by Ryan McMahon made it one-run game in the sixth. Elias Díaz singled to right, sending McMahon to third with one out, but Sam Hilliard sent a fly to short-right field for out No. 2, and Rio Ruiz popped out to short to strand two and keep it 4-3 in the Nationals’ favor after six.
Rockies’ righty Jordan Sheffield worked around a two-out walk to Juan Soto in a scoreless top of the seventh.
Mason Thompson got the ball for the Nationals in the bottom of the seventh, and the hard-throwing right-hander issued a leadoff walk to Raimel Tapia, and gave up a two-out single by Trevor Story, but stranded both runners at the end of a 21-pitch frame.
Jhoulys Chacin retired the Nationals in order in the top of the eighth to keep it a one-run game in the Nationals’ favor, 4-3.
Kyle Finnegan got the eighth tonight, and the right-hander gave up a one-out single and a two-out walk, by Elias Díaz, and to Colton Welker, but Raimel Tapia grounded out to short, where Alcides Escobar showed off the range and arm to get out No. 3. Still 4-3 Nationals.
Carter Kieboom, Andrew Stevenson, and Lane Thomas hit back-to-back-to-back singles off Rockies’ righty Carlos Esteves to start the top of the ninth, loading the bases up for Alcides Escobar, who singled to left to add to the Nats’ lead, 5-3.
Tanner Rainey got the ninth for the Nationals, and issued a two-out walk to Trevor Story and an RBI double by C.J. Cron, 5-4. But a Ryan McMahon groundout ended it.
Final Score: 5-4 Nationals
Nationals now 65-92