Nolan Arenado homers on his birthday, Jon Gray deals as Rockies beat Padres to gain momentum heading into homestand

SAN DIEGO — On the day No. 28 turned 28 years old, the Rockies got a home run from their birthday third baseman — and Colorado put together a wire-to-wire, 8-2 victory — for the third time in three days.

Some April momentum, at last, following the worst start in franchise history.

Boxscore

The two-game sweep of San Diego, begun by Nolan Arenado’s dinger and enabled by Jon Gray’s seven innings of one-run ball, sends Colorado into its seven-game homestand with a gust at its back. After Arenado’s two-run bomb in the opening frame — the first time Colorado has scored in the first inning this season — the bats kept on the gas the next couple of innings.

Doubles by Tony Wolters and Charlie Blackmon led to another run in the second, and then Raimel Tapia’s two-RBI triple in the third pushed the score to 5-0 off San Diego rookie Nick Margevicius.

All that early offensive noise gave Gray plenty of cushion to work with en route to his first win of the season, in another outing where he showed the penchant for dominance that often eluded him during an inconsistent 2018 campaign.

Gray worked confidently and efficiently, holding the Padres hitless through the first four innings before Wil Meyers broke up the no-no with a solo shot to left to lead off the fifth. That put San Diego on the board at 5-1 and gave Gray sole possession of the National League record for consecutive games with a homer allowed at 16, but it didn’t sidetrack him from his sixth career quality start at Petco Park.

The right-hander pitched himself out of his most serious trouble in the sixth, inducing a Manny Machado flyout to end the frame with two runners aboard.

Meanwhile, the Rockies (6-12) continued to put pressure on the Padres’ bullpen as Garrett Hampson hit his first career home run, off Adam Warren in the seventh, to make it 6-1. Then in the ninth, Mark Reynolds’ sacrifice fly earned Colorado fans tacos for the first time in 2019 before Tapia’s grounder brought another run across to extend the lead to 8-1.

Carlos Estevez, DJ Johnson and Seunghwan Oh closed out the game for Colorado, which hosts Bryce Harper and Philadelphia for a four-game series beginning Thursday.

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