DENVER – Jon Gray took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning and got his first win of the season, pitching the Colorado Rockies over the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-3 on Thursday.
Gray (1-0) allowed three runners through six innings, helped in the sixth when third baseman Ryan McMahon made a barehanded grab of Tim Locastro’s grounder and threw out the speedy batter by a half-step.
“That was an unbelievable play. That fired me up,” Gray said. “I looked at the scoreboard and I was like, ‘Wow, he just saved that right there.’ That’s when I realized it was happening.”
Gray threw 83 pitches through six innings in his second start of the season and was bidding to become the second Colorado pitcher to throw a no-hitter after Ubaldo Jiménez against Atlanta on April 17, 2010.
“I knew it was a little high,” Gray said of his pitch count. “I still thought there was a good chance to at least go eight. That was what I was shooting for. That’s something to work for. Next time I’m in that situation, I’ll be really bearing down.”
David Peralta tripled leading off the seventh when he sent a 1-2 slider into the gap in left-center field. Pavin Smith hit an RBI single on the next pitch.
The sparse crowd of 10,836 at Coors Field gave Gray a standing ovation after Peralta’s hit. Gray walked pinch-hitter Asdrúbal Cabrera with two outs, and got another ovation when he walked to the dugout to make way for Yency Almonte.
“It was a well-pitched game. He followed up what he did last week, which was great,” manager Bud Black said. “That was good to see back-to-back good starts by Jon.”
Daniel Bard relieved with two on in the ninth and got the two outs for his second save.
Merrill Kelly (0-2) gave up seven runs – six earned – and nine hits in six innings.
“With the way those first couple of innings were going it could have gone south really fast. I was proud of myself for being able to battle and get through the sixth,” Kelly said. “But other than those first couple of innings and that one pitch in the sixth, not a bad game. It was definitely more of a struggle than I wanted it to be.”
Trevor Story had a two-run double and scored in a three-run first inning. He tripled with two outs in the second to drive in Garrett Hampson.
Dom Nunez hit a three-run homer in the sixth, and Eduardo Escobar added a two-run homer off Carlos Estévez in the ninth.
“It was nice to see us get some quality at-bats,” manager Torey Lovullo said of the ninth inning. “Those are the things I’ve come to expect from this group. We’ve just got to get it done offensively. That’s the bottom line.”
TRAINER’S ROOMRockies INF Chris Owings didn’t play due to right hamstring soreness. Owings had two doubles and a triple in Wednesday’s win before leaving after the fifth inning. Black said he is optimistic it is a short-term issue.
UP NEXTRockies LHP Austin Gomber (0-1, 3.00 ERA) faces San Francisco’s Johnny Cueto (0-0, 4.76) in the Giants’ home opener on Friday.