MIAMI — Some Rockies players went deep-sea fishing here Thursday on their day off.
Friday night, they let a big one get away.
Miami rallied to beat the Rockies 6-3 at Marlins Park, spoiling a milestone night for Nolan Arenado and derailing Colorado’s chance to gain some ground in the National League wild-card race.
Reliever Jake McGee, making his second appearance since coming off the disabled list, got roasted in the Marlins’ game-turning eighth inning, giving up three runs in one-third of an inning. Miami’s rally included a bloop RBI single by Derek Dietrich and a two-run triple by Tomas Telis. McGee, not as sharp has he has been most of the season, also walked Marcell Ozuna, much to the consternation of manager Bud Black.
“I was just a little off tonight, and when I needed to make a few pitches, I left some over the middle of the plate,” said McGee, now 0-2 with a 3.77 ERA. “I had a few chances to get out of it. I thought I had Deitrich there, but he got a little bloop hit. And then Ozuna had a really good at-bat, and dragged it on a little bit. But at the end of the day I just have to (have) a little bit better location with my pitches.”
Although the loss landed on McGee’s shoulders, starter Jon Gray shared the burden. The game presented the right-hander with an opportunity to take command and shut down the Marlins in ace-like fashion. He was unable to. Gray was spotted leads of 2-0 and 3-1, but he couldn’t hold them.
Gray did pull off a nice high-wire act in the fifth, coming away with just a single run against him as Colorado held onto a 2-1 lead. Back-to-back singles by Dietrich and Telis set up a possible big inning. But Gray coaxed a groundball double play out of Miguel Rojas as Deitrich scored from third. The act was complete when Miami starter Jose Urena grounded out to Arenado.
But Gray couldn’t repeat the feat in the sixth and Miami tied the game 3-3. Giancarlo Stanton unloaded with his 40th homer of the season, a 433-foot rocket to left. Since July 5, Stanton has hit 19 homers. San Francisco, as a team, has 20 home runs over that same span.
Gray seemed to lose focus after Stanton’s bomb, walking two and giving up a double to Christian Yelich, who advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on J.T. Realmuto’s sacrifice fly to deep center. Gray gave up three runs on eight hits with four strikeouts over 5 ⅔ innings.
Both Gray and Black disagreed with the idea that Gray’s concentration wavered.
“That’s a question for Jon, but I think I know the answer,” Black said.
Said Gray: “No I didn’t (lose focus), I think I just expanded too much. I should have gone right after guys. Note to self: ‘It can’t happen again.’ ”
Black, however, did have another explanation for Gray’s inability to shut down the Marlins.
“I think that what got to Jon was too many balls up as the game went on,” Black said. “Stanton’s homer — up. And the other runs they got off him in the sixth, the ball was up.”
Arenado became the first player in the majors to rack up 100 RBIs this season when he blasted a two-run homer to right-center in the third, scoring Charlie Blackmon, who led off with a double to right.
The statistics don’t stop there, nor does the history. The Gold Glove third baseman is batting an MLB-best .446 (50-for-112) with runners in scoring position, 13 doubles, three triples and 10 homers. Plus, he became the first National League player to reach 100 RBIs for three consecutive seasons since Pittsburgh’s Willie Stargell did it from 1971-73.
“He’s having a great year, and for sure he’s one of the best players in the game,” Black said. “And he’s doing it every day. This guy has come into his own as a player, and has improved offensively to the point that he’s at the point now that he’s one of the most dangerous hitters in the game.”
Gerardo Parra, who’s hitting .400 since coming off the disabled list July 7, cranked his ninth homer of the season to lead off the sixth, pushing the Rockies ahead 3-1. In the third inning, Parra saved a possible run with a perfect throw from left field. Miami’s Dee Gordon attempted to go from first to third on Stanton’s single to left, but Parra threw a strike to Arenado, nailing Gordon, who inexplicably failed to slide.
The Rockies lost for just the fourth time this season when they hit two or more homers. They are now 35-4 in such games, still the best mark in the majors.