C.J. Cron blasts another long homer as Rockies win fourth straight


C.J. Cron is dangerous again. Madison Bumgarner discovered that the hard way on a cool Saturday night at Coors Field.

Cron rocketed a three-run, 457-foot homer off the accomplished veteran left-hander in the sixth inning, lifting the Rockies to a 4-1 victory over Arizona. The Rockies have won four consecutive games for the first time since putting together a season-best five-game winning streak July 12-16.

“I was just trying to get the runners in from second and third,” Cron said. “I take pride in getting the runners in when I can. I don’t think he wanted to throw the pitch he did right there. But fortunately, he did, and I put a good swing on it.”

Colorado got an encouraging start from right-hander Jose Urena and stellar work from the bullpen trio of Justin Lawrence, Carlos Estevez and closer Daniel Bard, who pocketed his 29th save in 32 chances.

Prior to the sixth inning, Bumgarner smothered Colorado hitters, limiting them to two hits. But Randal Grichuk led off the sixth with a double and Yonathan Daza walked, setting the scene for Cron’s demolition of Bumgarner’s 2-2 fastball.

“He was using all of his pitches to both sides of the plate,” Cron said. “He would use his fastball in, with his cutter off of it and the pitches looked very similar. And he would throw the fastball away with his changeup to that side of the plate. He was very good tonight.

“His velo is not how it used to be, but he still knows how to pitch. He’s one of the best out there at making his pitches kind of all look the same.”

Nonetheless, Bumgarner is struggling. He suffered his 14th loss of the season, a career-high. He has not recorded a win since July 23, going 0-4 with a 7.68 ERA over his last eight starts.

The Rockies then added an insurance run against Bumgarner in the sixth. Brendan Rodgers ripped a double that eluded diving center fielder Alek Thomas. Rookie first baseman Michael Toglia followed up with a bloop double to left, though Rodgers was held up at third. Rodgers scored on Sean Bouchard’s sacrifice fly.

Cron has gone yard in four of his last seven games and now has 28 homers, two shy of the career-high 30 he hit with Tampa Bay in 2018. He hit a towering 504-foot homer in Colorado’s 13-10 win on Friday night, tied for the longest homer in Coors Field history.

The first-time All-Star hit 21 homers before the break but has a relatively modest seven after the break. In fact, prior to his recent power surge, he’d hit just three homers across the first 36 games of the second half.

Still, there’s no denying his game-changing ability when he’s in the zone.

“I haven’t done anything crazy,” Cron said when asked if he’s changed anything recently. “Obviously I wish I hadn’t (stunk) for a month and a half. Just bad hitting, I guess.

“I’m starting to feel a little bit more comfortable, but I’d still like to drive the ball a little more. The homers are there but after that, there isn’t much else. Hopefully, I can finish strong and get back on track.”

Since the All-Star break, Cron is hitting .201 (34-for-169) with five doubles, one triple, seven homers 26 RBIs in 43 games.

Urena, who’s been struggling, was searching for a strong performance and he got it, pitching 5 1/3 innings of five-hit ball and giving up one run. He struck out five and walked two.

“We talked about it before the game that we wanted to see him use more secondary pitches,” manager Bud Black said, noting that Urena threw three consecutive changeups to strike out Daulton Varsho in the third inning. “That’s something we’d like to see more of in the coming starts.”


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