DENVER — Daniel Murphy's first homer at Coors Field as a member of the Colorado Rockies was a long time coming.
Quite timely, too.
Murphy hit a go-ahead solo shot in the eighth to help the Rockies rally for a 3-2 win over Cincinnati Reds on Friday night that snapped a six-game skid.
"It was nice," said Murphy, who spent time on the injured list earlier this season with a left index finger fracture. "Yeah, it was good."
Trailing 2-1 in the eighth, David Dahl tied the game with a towering solo homer off David Hernandez (2-5). Two batters later, Murphy sent a slider from Hernandez over the fence in right-centre. It was Murphy's eighth homer this season. Murphy also had an RBI double.
Jairo Diaz (2-2) picked up the win despite a rocky eighth and Wade Davis threw a 1-2-3 ninth for his 13th save.
"That's a nice smash-and-grab win right there," said Murphy, who went 123 plate appearances at the hitter-friendly park this season before sending one deep.
Hernandez said he tried to elevate a fastball to Dahl. Instead, it ended up down the middle.
With Murphy, Hernandez couldn't put him away on two-strike count.
"That's just the way it goes," Hernandez said.
This game marked the first showdown in major league history between starting pitchers with the last name "Gray" — Sonny for Cincinnati, Jon for Colorado — according to Stats. But neither factored into the decision despite their stellar outings.
Still, they showed their true colours as Sonny Gray went even strong innings and allowed just five hits. His nine strikeouts tied a season high.
"I feel I'm throwing the ball pretty well," Sonny Gray said. "I just want to continue to do that every time I go out there."
Jon Gray matched his counterpart pitch-for-pitch in going seven innings and scattering four hits. His biggest mistake was a 3-2 fastball in the seventh that Eugenio Suarez lined for his 21st homer of the season. It gave the Reds a 2-1 lead.
Jon Gray thinks the extra days off for the All-Star break helped — or at least he thinks so.
"You kind of feel more fresh, but then you feel like, 'How do I play baseball again?'" he said. "The feeling comes back right away."
Both Grays mowed through the lineup through five innings.
In the sixth, Jesse Winker hit a one-out liner down the line in left that caromed off the side wall and eluded Dahl for an RBI triple. The Rockies limited the damage as Jon Gray struck out Joey Votto with catcher Tony Wolters then picking off Winker.
Colorado tied it in the bottom of the inning on Murphy's run-scoring double. Sonny Gray avoided more trouble by enticing a double play.
Jon Gray was aided by some splendid defence, including a barehanded play from Nolan Arenado on Yasiel Puig's slow roller in the fifth.
Reds: LHP Amir Garrett (left lat injury) will go through rehab in Cincinnati as the team embarks on their six-game trip. "If everything continues to go the way it's going now, it should be right when we get home, hopefully," manager David Bell said of Garrett's return. ... LHP Alex Wood (lower back) threw two innings and 51 pitches in a rehab start for Triple-A Louisville on Friday. ... 2B Scooter Gennett was a late scratch with an illness.
The last time pitchers started against each other with the same colour as a last name — and same spelling — was Jumbo Brown of the New York Yankees versus Lloyd Brown of Boston on July 26, 1933, according to Stats.
THIS & THAT
The Reds reinstated LHP Wandy Peralta from the injured list after healing from a strained right hip flexor. ... Sonny Gray recorded his 900th career strikeout.
The Reds went through infield and outfield drills hours before first pitch. It was a way to get the team back in rhythm after the break.
"It was actually a pretty good workout," Bell said.
Colorado lefty Kyle Freeland (2-6, 7.13 ERA) will take the mound Saturday after a month in the minors working on his control. The Rockies are hoping he can return to the form that led to a fourth-place finish in the NL Cy Young voting a year ago. The Reds will throw righty Tanner Roark (5-6, 3.51).
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