By Pat Graham, Associated Press
The way Jeff Hoffman pitched early and how the Colorado offense built a 10-run lead, it looked like a sure night off for closer extraordinaire Greg Holland.
Not quite. Holland was needed to extinguish a late rally.
“You know what that is? That’s baseball,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “I’ve seen it happen before.”
Hoffman struck out eight and then anxiously waited to earn his first major league win, Carlos Gonzalez showed signs of breaking out of a slump with a two-hit, three-RBI night and the Rockies held off the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-7 on Thursday.
Next up for Hoffman, locating the game ball. He was sure someone grabbed it for him.
“Probably get (the ball) framed and put it somewhere,” Hoffman said. “Hopefully, I’ll have a house someday.”
Ian Desmond and Nolan Arenado each added two doubles to help the Rockies extend their lead in the NL West to 2 1/2 games over the Dodgers. At 23-13, the Rockies are off to the best start in team history.
Hoffman (1-0) allowed three runs over 5 1/3 efficient innings after being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque earlier in the day. He becomes the latest rookie to shine this season on the mound for Colorado.
On Wednesday, German Marquez allowed three hits over eight innings in a win over the Chicago Cubs, while Kyle Freeland and Antonio Senzatela threw in Tuesday’s doubleheader. This marked the first time Colorado has started four straight rookie pitchers since 2002, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
“When you see them have success and how they’re executing their game plan, it gives you a nice peace of mind,” Hoffman said. “It’s like, ‘All right, I can do that, too.'”
Dodgers lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu (1-5) surrendered 10 runs, five earned, and walked six over four innings. He was reinstated from the disabled list before the game after recovering from a bruised hip.
Colorado built a 10-0 lead through four innings only to have the Dodgers chip away. Brett Eibner’s run-scoring single in the ninth off Scott Oberg made it 10-6 and led to the Rockies calling in Holland.
Holland eventually struck out Yasiel Puig on a slider in the dirt to end the game for his 15th save in as many chances.
“It is Coors Field and anything can happen,” said Cody Bellinger, whose team had their five-game winning streak halted. “And even though we were down 10-0 we were like listen you know where we’re playing. So we never gave up and we made it close.”
Gonzalez was dropped to the sixth spot in the batting order with his average hovering under .200. The Dodgers even intentionally walked Desmond in the second to face Gonzalez, who lined a double to right as part of a five-run inning that was aided by a Dodgers throwing error.
The slumping Gonzalez retreated to the batting cage after going 0 for 4 on Wednesday, believing he had uncovered a tiny glitch in his swing.
Something was detected. Gonzalez finished with two hits for just the fourth time this season.
“The one number that matters is that we’re winning ball games,” Gonzalez said. “Nobody can change that.”