By Pat Graham, Associated Press
Raimel Tapia finished a single shy of the cycle and didn’t even need to get dirty.
The rookie left fielder hit a go-ahead homer in the sixth as part of his big night, Charlie Blackmon lined a solo shot after it was announced he would participate in the All-Star Home Run Derby, and the Colorado Rockies beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-3 on Monday night.
“Stand-up triple . Stand-up double. Stand-up homer,” manager Bud Black cracked of Tapia. “Tonight was ‘Tap Time.'”
Just in time, too, with the Rockies returning home following a forgetful 1-8 trip.
“Regardless of how we’ve played of late, everyone is in a good spot,” right-hander Jeff Hoffman said. “There doesn’t need to be a dramatic change in the way we go about our game plan.”
Especially for Hoffman (5-1), who nearly collected as many hits at the plate (two) as he surrendered on the mound (four). He went seven effective innings, with his only hiccup back-to-back homers to Scooter Gennett and Joey Votto in the sixth. Hoffman’s run-scoring double in the second was his first major league RBI.
“I expect a lot from Jeff,” Black said. “That was a good game.”
Hoffman turned the ball over to the bullpen, where Jake McGee pitched the eighth and recently named All-Star Greg Holland threw a perfect ninth for his 27th save in 28 chances. Holland broke the team mark for most saves before the All-Star break, surpassing Huston Street’s mark in 2011.
Cincinnati righty Luis Castillo (0-1) went 5 2-3 innings and allowed four runs. He also struck out eight.
“They made really good contact on the good pitches I made. There’s nothing I can do about it,” Castillo said through a translator.
Tapia filled in for left fielder Ian Desmond, who went on the 10-day disabled list Monday with a strained right calf. The 23-year-old Tapia had a triple in the second, double in the third and a homer in the sixth that just cleared the fence in right field. He had a chance for the fourth cycle at Coors Field this season in the eighth, but struck out.
“Trying to keep my swing the same, stay in my zone. Get a pitch and didn’t work out for me,” Tapia said through a translator of needing a single.
The leadoff-hitting Blackmon hit his 18th homer of the season in the fourth. He’s set to join a Home Run Derby field that includes Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who will defend his title in his home ballpark.
“There are a lot of guys that I would’ve expected to get picked before me,” Blackmon said. “I may not be the most obvious of choices to put in there. I’m glad to be there.”