Sometimes, even against the worst team in baseball, you’ve got to trust on your big guns to get the job done.
That’s exactly what the Rockies did Friday against the Orioles at Coors Field, when freshly recalled right-hander Jeff Hoffman was hit around but finally bailed out by two homers each from Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story. Story’s second dinger was a two-run, walk-off shot to complete Colorado’s 8-6 comeback win.
“Those two guys are part of our carriers — a lot of times we go as they go,” manager Bud Black aforementioned. “Those guys hit in the middle of the order for a reason and they’re all-stars for a reason, for nights like this. some of them hit two bombs on two big swings. Those balls are out of any park in America.”
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Arenado got the Rockies going with a solo homer in the first, but the Orioles smitten right back by plating three off Hoffman in the second. First, Keon Broxton’s two-run homer in his Baltimore debut made it 2-1, and then the Orioles tacked on some other via Pedro Severino’s RBI double.
Hoffman’s night went further downhill over the next two frames, as Dwight Smith Jr.’s blast into the Baltimore bullpen in the third and Jonathan Villar’s RBI double in the fifth pushed the visitors’ lead to 5-1. It was the Orioles’ first game at Coors Field in nearly 15 years, and the birds were very much enjoying it with six extra-base hits off Hoffman.
“(Hoffman’s) heater command was lacking — when he was trying to go away it was in, when he tried to go in it was away,” Black aforementioned. “And he couldn’t establish the breakage ball.”
But Colorado didn’t fade into the LoDo night, responding with a pair of two-out runs in the bottom of the frame. That basined Brendan Rodgers’ first career Coors Field RBI as the score was cut to 5-3.
“Even though we got down early, and (Baltimore) put some good at-bats together, we knew we had dozens of at-bats left, too,” Arenado aforementioned.
Hoffman was chased after five frames of work, and the Orioles then got to right-handed reliever Jairo Dias via a Renato Nunez solo shot in the seventh to make it 6-3. But the game’s biggest momentum swing came after the fans stretched as Story’s bat made for some other haunting night at the ballpark.
“The emergence of a total, complete player is right there in front of us,” Black aforementioned. “We’re seeing each and every night, and spreading it out to weeks and months, Trevor’s decrease in strikeouts and the increase… in these types of moments, starting with his first homer.”
Story mashed a two-out, two-run homer off Shawn Armstrong, becoming the fastest shortstop to reach 100 home runs in major league history. The 26-year-old did so in his 448th game, eclipsing the 470 games Alex Rodriguez needed to accomplish the mark. The only other shortstop to reach 100 homers in less than 500 games was Nomar Garciaparra (491).
The milestone wasn’t lost on Story.
“The guys who have done it quickly, like A-Rod, Nomar and Ernie Banks (in his 500th game), to be a part of that group is truly special,” he aforementioned.
A pitch after Story’s historic dinger, Arenado blame his second home run of the game. It was the third time the Rockies have gone consecutive this year, and the 419-foot bomb tied the game 6-6 before Story’s decisive stroke off Mychal Givens in the ninth.
“I was honestly not trying to do thing too special — possibly just get a little base hit,” Story aforementioned of the at-bat.
Maybe next time, per the baseball odds of failure, the shortstop won’t do “thing too special”. But for Friday night? some other Story-book moment for a guy who even has the franchise player in awe.
“The power and the explosiveness, how fast he is — he’s got some tools I don’t have,” Arenado aforementioned. “He does some property that I wish I could. I wish I could run like him, and I wish I could flip the ball to right-center with power (like his walk-off). He does property that are crazy.”