It was a hallelujah moment.
Nolan Arenado, mired in a frustrating slump, strode to the plate in the fifth inning with the bases full. After he flailed at two Kenta Maeda sliders — and looked bad doing it — Arenado roped a two-run single over the head of Dodgers second baseman Max Muncy.
Arenado, a big grin on his face, raised both arms as if to say: “Finally!” His gesture spoke volumes, not just about his own performance, but about the Rockies’ most-complete game in a long, long time.
Behind a splendid performance by starter Jon Gray, the Rockies routed the Dodgers 9-1 on Monday night at Coors Field. For a team that owns a 6-17 record in July and was 2-8 vs. the Dodgers entering the night, it was a welcome chance to exhale and celebrate.
Gray pitched a season-high eight innings, allowing one run on just three hits. He struck out six and walked three. It marked the third time in his career that Gray pitched eight or more innings.
Gray aced his biggest test in the second inning. He walked Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager to open the frame, but rather than allow frustration to throw him off-kilter, as has happened in the past, Gray bore down. He struck out A.J. Pollock, Alex Verdugo and Will Smith in succession — all of them going down swinging at his slider.
Los Angeles finally cracked Gray’s shutout chance in the eighth inning on a leadoff double by Smith and an RBI groundout to first by Joc Pederson.
Ian Desmond also had a huge night, coming up a home run short of the cycle. The left fielder roped a triple to left and scored a run in the second inning, singled to center in the fourth and doubled into the left-field corner in the seventh.
Colorado blew the game open in the fifth inning with five runs against Maeda. It started with a single by Tony Wolters, a walk by Gray and an RBI single by David Dahl. Then Arenado delivered his hallelujah single and Ryan McMahon stroked a two-run double to right.
Coming into the game, Maeda had the lowest ERA all time at Coors Field (2.41) by an opposing pitcher with at least seven starts here. But the Rockies scorched him for six runs (five earned) on seven hits in four-plus innings.
Arenado entered the game batting just .224 in July with a .623 OPS, two home runs and 12 RBIs. On the recent 10-game road trip back east, he hit .242 (8-for-33) with one home run and six RBIs. But he finished Monday 2-for-5.
Dahl finished off his night with a no-doubt, 432-foot home run into the second deck above right field in Colorado’s three-run eighth inning.