Jon Gray altered the grip on his slider and set his aim higher in the strike zone.
It added up to a big change in fortune.
The hard-throwing righty struck out 11 in six dominant innings and David Dahl lined a two-run triple, lifting the Colorado Rockies to a 5-2 win over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday.
“Pitches were at a premium for him today,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “Obviously after four that was enough. I think he did enough to keep us in the ball game. We just didn’t do anything offensively.”
Dahl provided the big blow at the plate with a triple off the wall during a three-run third that gave Colorado an early 4-0 cushion. That was more than enough support for Gray, who’s been struggling with his rhythm. He entered the game allowing 18 earned runs over his three-game skid.
He found his groove early, striking out Jose Pirela to start the game. Two batters later, a fan interfered with first baseman Ryan McMahon trying to catch Wil Myers’ foul ball near the stands. Gray quickly regrouped after the fan got the souvenir and promptly struck out Myers.
“I would actually say that I’m not as angry that there were nine guys ahead of me, just three quarterbacks,” Rosen said. “That’s kind of what gets to me. So, there were three big mistakes ahead of me, but honestly, it’s a blessing in disguise. This is an incredible team that I think is really, really primed and set to do some incredible things in the future, and I think I just, very simply, lucked out.”
Rosen donned a navy-blue suit with a white shirt and red tie as he gave a brief statement and then answered questions. Rosen, whose frustrations with sliding to 10th came through during his interviews Thursday night, ended his opening statement by saying, “I don’t have too much to say.”
Rosen doesn’t think his outgoing personality will hinder his ability to make a smooth transition to the Cardinals’ locker room. In fact, he believes it’ll help.
“I think that’s probably the unique reason why I get along with my teammates very well, is because I’m me,” Rosen said. “Who I am at this podium and how I’m talking to you is the exact same way I’m talking to my teammates, my family, everyone.
“I’m very real. I am who I am, and I think that’s why I’m very grateful to be an Arizona Cardinal, because the team that picked me, they picked me. I didn’t try to put on a face. I didn’t try to put on a show, which is why I think I’m a perfect fit here.”