Hits, runs, homers and hyperbole can’t adequately describe what happened at Coors Field on Wednesday night.
So maybe this factoid will do the trick: Arizona second baseman Daniel Descalso came in to pitch in the fourth inning, the earliest any true position player has pitched in a major-league game since Milwaukee’s Sal Bando on Aug. 29, 1979, when the Royals beat the Brewers 18-8 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
Wednesday night, when all was said and done and the baseball history books had been deciphered, the Rockies had bludgeoned the Diamondbacks 19-2. Colorado scored 19 runs for the first time since Sept. 25, 2011, at Houston, when they beat the Astros 19-3. The Rockies have scored 19 runs four times and a franchise-record tying 20 on three occasions since 1996.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, before Wednesday, there had never been a day in major-league history that saw multiple teams with at least a 17-run lead through four innings. Earlier in the evening, Cleveland led Cincinnati 17-0 after four innings en route to a 19-4 win. Then came the Rockies’ onslaught.
“It was a great attack tonight for us, obviously,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “We stayed on all of their pitchers, from (starter Shelby) Miller, through their bullpen. I thought our guys came out with a good approach. We squared some pitches up that were in the hitting area. It was one of those nights. … It was a unique game.”
The Diamondbacks came to the ballpark having won nine consecutive games at Coors Field, their longest win streak at an opposing ballpark in team history. So maybe they were due for a big fall.
But this was ridiculous.
The score was 19-1 — after five innings — and Descalso was still on the mound as the D-backs’ sacrificial lamb, as he served up home runs to Carlos Gonzalez and Rockies starter German Marquez, who mashed a solo shot 447 feet to left off Descalso for his first career home run.
“I just happened to make really good contact on that pitch and the ball left the yard,” Marquez said, who takes healthy hacks whenever he’s at the plate and is now batting .324 (11-for-34 this season). “It’s been in my mind that I have to go yard at some point, and I’m glad that it happened tonight.”
Four Rockies launched home runs, and Gonzalez had two of them, along with six RBIs and his first multi-home run game since last Sept. 12 at Arizona. All told, the Rockies had 19 hits, four of them coming off Descalso and one coming against first baseman Alex Avila, who relieved Descalso in the seventh inning. It was Avila’s first major-league pitching performance. He pitched two innings.
According to Elias, the last time last time a team had two position players each pitch at least two innings in a single game was on July 22, 1945 when the Phillies lost to the Cub 8-5 in the first game of a double header. For Philadelphia, Rene Monteagudo pitched 4 ⅓ innings and Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx pitched the last two innings.
Descalso is a former Rockie, and Nolan Arenado admitted that it was strange facing Descalso Wednesday night. Arenado was the first Rockies hitter to face Descalso in the fourth inning and Arenado singled up the middle.
“I think I was the most nervous for that at-bat,” Arenado said with a smile. “It’s hard facing a position player pitching. You’re supposed to get a hit, and if you don’t, everyone makes fun of you.”
As for Marquez’s homer, Arenado quipped: “It was just a matter of time before he hit a homer. Of course it helps that Descalso was only throwing 50 mph. But Marquez has power. If you watch batting practice, he launches balls out of the ballpark. So he’s got ridiculous power, and he’s got a really good swing.”
On almost any other night, Marquez’s six-inning, two-run, five-hit pitching performance would have grabbed headlines. On this night — save for his home run — he was a footnote. But over his last three starts, Marquez is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA and 22 strikeouts vs. just two walks.
“It’s not easy to keep your concentration in a game like this,” Black said. “It seems easy — from the outside — with a huge lead. Just throw strikes. It’s easier said than done, but I really liked how (Marquez) responded to that.”
And to think that Arizona led 1-0 in the first inning on Paul Goldschmidt’s home run. But the Rockies immediately struck back, scoring five runs in the top of the frame off starter Shelby Miller, the big blow a three-run bomb by Ian Desmond that traveled 478 feet and landed on the concourse beyond the left-field bleachers.
Miller pitched just one inning and departed with tightness in his elbow.
Late night notes of note
(courtesy of the Rockies media relations department):
- Colorado scored all 19 runs in the first four innings, the first MLB team to accomplish that feat since Kansas City at Detroit, Sept. 9, 2004 in the first game of a doubleheader).
- Rockies’ 19 hits were their most since July 19, 2017 vs. San Diego.
- Rockies 17-run margin of victory was tied for the second-largest margin of victory in franchise history with a 19-2 win vs. Arizona on June 18, 2000 (largest margin of victory was 19, in a 20-1 win, Sept. 20, 2005 vs. San Diego)
- Rockies hit a season-high five home runs (last: July 23, 2017 vs. Pittsburgh).
- Charlie Blackmon, DJ LeMahieu and Carlos González each scored a career-high tying four runs, the first time in franchise history that three Rockies have scored four runs in a single game.
- González (six RBIs) and Ian Desmond (five RBIs) became the first pair of teammates to record five or more RBI in the same game since González (six RBIs) and Ramon Hernandez (five RBIs) did so on April 27, 2012 vs. the Mets.
- Charlie Blackmon hit the 129th home run of his career passing Matt Holliday for ninth-most in franchise history. Blackmon has four home runs in his past seven games.
- González recorded his first multi-home run game of the season and the 21st multi-home run game of his career.
- DJ LeMahieu came to the plate in each of the first five innings, becoming the second Rockies player in franchise history to accomplish the feat. The other was Kaz Matsui, on Aug. 8, 2007 vs. Milwaukee). LeMahieu is first player in the majors to do that since Mark Reynolds and Carlos Santana for the Indians on April 20, 2013 at Houston (via Elias).
- The Diamondbacks’ 17-run margin of defeat is tied for their second-largest in franchise history with a 19-2 loss at Colorado on June 18, 2000. The largest was a 19-1 loss on Sept. 2, 2002 vs. the Dodgers.