DENVER — Yency Almonte told Garrett Hampson to grab his bat. Hampson didn't know why, but he saw his teammates doing the same and didn't want to miss out on whatever was going on.
Almonte had a plan. He felt like the hitters needed some new mojo, so he devised a potion to help them heat up. He wrapped the bats together in athletic tape, then added some hot sauce and ointment to complete the recipe.
"Sometimes you have to do some weird stuff to mix it up," Hampson said. "Us baseball players are always going to look for something to give us some good luck. I think it was that."
Maybe it was the spell, or perhaps, as has been the case all season, just good old-fashioned home-field advantage. Either way, after getting swept by the Brewers in Milwaukee last weekend, the Rockies rebounded to win all three against the Pirates, including 6-2 on Wednesday.
This series is good momentum for the Rockies, who have to face Nolan Arenado and the Cardinals for a four-game series starting Thursday. At the halfway point of the season, the Rockies are 34-47, including 28-16 at home. On the road, they are an MLB-worst 6-31, including 1-4 on their last road trip.
But at Coors, the Rockies are riding that good juju. One of those players who needed a little extra good energy was Garrett Hampson, who didn’t have any hits on the last road trip. He had four Wednesday, tying a career high. He added two RBIs.
Even though the splits speak for himself, Hampson doesn't like to think of himself as a player who can only hit against lefties. But a big game against Chad Kuhl, the Pirates righty, speaks for the improvements he's made trying to get hard contact and play the entire field.
"It's nice to see some of the stuff you are working on behind the scenes show up in a game," Hampson said.
Every player in the lineup except Joshua Fuentes had a hit, as the offense finished with 12 total. Brendan Rodgers had two hits, his ninth multihit game since he came off the injury list in May. He didn’t need any of that extra help from Almonte, he’s been hot since he hit his first home run earlier this month. But, of course, some extra good vibes can’t hurt. CJ Cron also hit a home run, his 11th of the season.
Jon Gray wasn’t his best Wednesday, but still allowed only two runs. This was only his second start since coming back from the injury list, and his command was off in the first inning. He walked four, and struck out five in six innings.
"We’ve seen him look sharper, but he battled through it," manager Bud Black said. "He did what he needed to do for six innings on a day he wasn’t totally locked in."
Gray said only one out of three pitches felt sharp Wednesday. He felt out of whack from the start, and said something felt off all day. He stayed in attack mode though, and said his competitiveness took over.
"Sometimes that can be really rewarding," Gray said. "I think today was really rewarding even though I was ticked off for the entire game. In the end, it's really nice."