SAN DIEGO – Nolan Arenado ended Colorado’s scoreless streak at 23 innings with a solo homer, and the Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 4-1 on Friday night.
Colorado hadn’t scored since the eighth inning of a loss to San Francisco on Tuesday night, dropping a pair of shutouts in between. Arenado sparked the Rockies with his 35th homer, and Ian Desmond and Trevor Story also went deep.
Jon Gray (9-4) pitched six innings to win his fourth straight road start, and Colorado stayed 1 1/2 games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals for the final NL wild card. The Milwaukee Brewers are two games back.
Greg Holland got his 41st save, tying Jose Jimenez’s club record from 2002.
The Rockies had no baserunners against former teammate Jordan Lyles (1-4) before Arenado hit the second pitch of the fifth over the right-field wall.
Two outs later, Desmond followed with his sixth homer, also an opposite-field drive.
Story led off the seventh with his 22nd homer to offset Lyles’ run-scoring single in the fifth. The lead grew to 4-1 when a single from Jonathan Lucroy scored Desmond in the seventh.
Gray struck out eight, walked one and lowered his ERA to 3.62. He allowed fewer than four runs for the 12th consecutive start.
The righty has pitched to a 1.44 ERA over his past four outings away from Denver.
Side-arm reliever Pat Neshek stranded two baserunner to preserve a 4-1 lead in the seventh.
After Gray’s 96 mph pitch near the head drove him to the dirt, Padres rookie Manuel Margot hit a triple, his team-high seventh, later in the at-bat.
LIKING SAN DIEGO
Desmond’s homer was his fourth this season at San Diego, one short of Arenado’s single-season club record at the downtown ballpark.
Rockies: RHP Chad Bettis (1-3, 6.23) will make his first start Saturday since getting only one out – the shortest start of his career – Sept. 14 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Bettis, who allowed five runs, was given extra time between starts this week to work on sharpening his pitches.
Padres: RHP Jhoulys Chacin (12-10, 4.12) will take a 3.18 ERA over his past 18 starts into the start against Colorado, his team from 2009-14. He is 0-1 with a 5.23 ERA against the Rockies in two career starts, both this season.