Hey Larry, Vinny, Dante, Ellis and Big Cat, meet C.J. Cron. Back in the day, he would have fit in quite nicely with the Blake Street Bombers.
Simply put, the guy’s a beast at the ballpark at 20th and Blake.
Cron hit two home runs and a single and drove in five runs Friday night in the Rockies’ 10-4 win over the Padres at Coors in front of 34,304 fans. Cron is hitting .355 at home and 12 of his 16 homers have been launched in LoDo.
And check out this stat: Of any Rockies player who has played at least 100 games in Colorado, he’s got the best home run ratio. He’s hitting one homer for every 12.72 at-bats. Andres Galarraga ranks second at 13.61.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Cron said. “To me (the Blake Street Bombers) was more of a team thing, where they had guys who all hit homers. Hopefully, when KB (Kris Bryant) comes back, we can get some guys going and we can start driving the ball and putting some runs up.
“Because I don’t think we have done a good job of that this year. Our offense has been fine, statistically, but I think we can do a lot better as a group.”
After losing three consecutive home losses vs. Cleveland when big hits were no-shows, the Rockies really needed Friday’s performance. They snapped their seven-game home losing streak, while the Padres, batting the Dodgers for the National League West title, have lost eight consecutive games at Coors, their longest active streak of futility at one ballpark.
“It was a collective effort tonight and I really liked the swings we put together,” manager Bud Black said.
Cron’s first homer was a two-run shot to right in the first inning off rookie left-hander MacKenzie Gore. It traveled a mere 399 feet. His second dinger, a two-run blast in the fifth, again off Gore, was tape-measure worthy. It traveled 486 feet and landed on the concourse in left field.
It was the longest home run of his career and the second-longest in the majors this season behind the Marlins’ Jesus Sanchez’s 496-foot rocket at Coors Field on May 30.
But Cron — who had not hit a homer in 13 games, his longest drought of the season — was more concerned about getting his team back on the winning track.
“We need to string a few together here, it’s about that time of the season,” said Cron, who recorded the 15th multi-home run game of his career. “It wasn’t what we wanted against Cleveland and we all knew that. There was a little self-reflecting.”
On a hot, dry night when the ball was jumping — the teams combined for 22 hits and four homers — Colorado needed Cron’s firepower. It also needed a gutsy, seven-inning performance from Kyle Freeland. And Colorado’s defense, which had committed an error in 13 consecutive games coming in, played a clean game, with several web gems included.
“It was good to get a stop right there and get the team back on the winning side,” Freeland said. “If felt in control all night except for the fifth inning, and that was kind of weird.”
The left-hander pitched four scoreless innings before San Diego teed off for four runs in the fifth. The Padres’ big inning included a leadoff homer by Trent Grisham, a triple by Jose Azocar and RBI doubles by Manny Machado and Luke Voit.
Freeland, however, allowed just one baserunner in his final two innings. Since April 19, a span of 11 starts, he is 3-3 (the Rockies are 7-4) and he has a 3.68 ERA.
“With Kyle and a number of their players, there are a lot of at-bats against each other,” Black said. “So then it comes down to making quality pitches and getting the big out when you need it. With him, gritty is a great adjective, for sure.”
Colorado’s offense, which is waiting for the expected return of Bryant next weekend at Minnesota, ripped off 14 hits.
Charlie Blackmon, hitting third in the order, went 3-for-4 with two RBIs. His RBI triple in the first inning gave him 54, moving him past Dexter Fowler as the franchise’s all-time triples king. Blackmon had his third straight multi-hit game and is batting .329/.365/.543 in June.
Randal Grichuk also had a big night, hitting 2-for-4 and launching a three-run homer in the fourth to give the Rockies a 6-0 lead. The homer, his sixth, was Grichuk’s first in a month — a drought of 90 at-bats.
The two teams hook up again Saturday night at Coors.