Coors Field’s greatest moments (Nos. 11-15): Cycles, Freeland’s near no-no and “Spilly’s slam

The following is the third of a five-part series celebrating the top 25 memories, players, milestones and headlines of the first quarter-century of Coors Field.

No. 15, Lansing turns Coors into a velodrome, June 18, 2000: There have been a major league-record 19 cycles at Coors Field: nine by the Rockies and 10 by opposing hitters. Fenway Park ranks second all time with 17. Fenway opened in 1912, Coors in 1995.

Mike Lansing’s cycle at Coors wasn’t the most dramatic in history, but it was the fastest. The Rockies infielder completed his laps by the fourth inning. He ripped a triple in the first inning, launched a two-run homer in the second, hit a two-run double in the third and singled in the fourth. For the record, the Rockies bludgeoned the Diamondbacks 19-2 and Lansing drove in five runs in front of a Father’s Day crowd of 48,117.

“We really couldn’t do anything wrong,” Rockies manager Buddy Bell told The Denver Post. “The beatings in ‘Gladiator’ weren’t this gory.”

No. 14, Blackmon goes from bubble to stardom, April 4, 2014: It’s hard to fathom now, but outfielder Charlie Blackmon was on the roster bubble in the spring of 2014. That changed dramatically in the Rockies’ 12-2 home-opening win over the Diamondbacks when Blackmon became:

• The first big-league player to go 6-for-6 with a homer and three doubles on opening day.

• The first player since the Pirates’ Dick Groat in his MVP season of 1960 to have three doubles among six hits in a game.

• The first leadoff hitter with six hits in a game since Ian Kinsler did it for the Rangers on April 15, 2009, and the 19th leadoff hitter in history with that many hits in one game.

“Sure, I have had six hits before. I remember one game in whiffle ball in 1989,” Blackmon quipped.

Blackmon went on to hit .288 with 19 home runs and become an all-star for the first time.

No. 13, the “Gray Wolf” howls, Sept. 17, 2016: By the end of the Rockies’ 8-0 victory over the helpless Padres, Jon Gray had pitched one of the most dominant games in team history and rewritten the franchise record book. He struck out a club-record 16 batters, the most in Coors Field history. Whom did he bypass? None other than Hall of Fame left-hander Randy Johnson, the former Arizona pitcher who whiffed 14 Rockies at Coors Field on May 13, 2001.

“Jon was unbelievable,” said third baseman Nolan Arenado. “That’s probably the best pitching performance I’ve ever played behind. I didn’t even have to make any plays, because he struck out everyone. But his intensity out there tonight was amazing.”

Gray entered the ninth inning with 14 strikeouts, tied with the late Darryl Kile for the Rockies’ franchise record. Victim No. 15 was pinch-hitter Adam Rosales, who watched as a 97.7 mph fastball whizzed by. Victim No. 16 was Ryan Schimpf, who whiffed on a 91.2 mph slider to complete Gray’s shutout. It was Schimpf’s fourth strikeout of the game.

No. 12, …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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