DENVER (AP) – Nolan Arenado just couldn’t get anything to fall on a night when everyone else was finding holes.
Finally, in his last at bat — and with the game long decided — Arenado laced a double that landed squarely on the white left-field line.
That’s the way it’s been going lately for one of the Colorado Rockies’ hottest hitters.
Arenado ran his hitting streak to 26 games and Carlos Gonzalez had five of Colorado’s season-high 21 hits as the Rockies routed the Texas Rangers 12-1 on Tuesday night.
“Just nice to get that,” Arenado said of his RBI double in the seventh.
His streak is one away from tying the team record of 27 set by Michael Cuddyer last season. It’s also the longest for anyone 23 years or younger since Albert Pujols hit in 30 straight games in 2003.
“It was a little dramatic, but he finally did it,” Gonzalez said. “It was a great night for him — a very important night for him.”
For Gonzalez, too. He’s been struggling all season with finger and knee ailments that have hampered his swing.
And yet the Rockies still lead the majors in most offensive categories.
“Just imagine when Cargo starts swinging it the way he should,” Arenado said.
The first four hitters in Colorado’s lineup — Charlie Blackmon, Drew Stubbs, Troy Tulowitzki and Gonzalez — went a combined 13-for-20 with two homers and seven RBIs to help the Rockies take two games from Texas at Coors Field. Colorado now travels to Arlington, Texas, for two more in a home-and-home situation.
Blackmon led off with a homer. Stubbs added another in the seventh.
“We got guys up and down the order and on the bench that can really swing it,” Arenado said.
Juan Nicasio (4-1) got through five innings without his best command, giving up two hits and one run. He also walked a season-high five.
Robbie Ross Jr. (1-3) had a rough outing as he allowed six runs and 12 hits in 5 1-3 innings.
The Rangers’ most effective pitcher on this night was actually an outfielder. Given the lopsided score, and to save his bullpen, manager Ron Washington sent Mitch Moreland to the mound for the eighth. He set the Rockies down in order as he became only the sixth position player to pitch in Rangers history.
It’s the first time he’s pitched since 2008 and that was in a minor league game. Moreland was hitting around 94 mph, too.
“I tried to let a couple go, especially early in the count, just to have some fun,” Moreland said. “It’s tough in a game like that to have some fun, but it’s always been a dream of mine.”
Leading 4-1, the Rockies broke open the game with a six-run sixth in which they sent 12 batters to the plate. Pinch hitter Brandon Barnes even got up twice, hitting singles both times.
“They put the ball in play and found holes. There was nothing we could do about it,” Washington said.
Arenado’s glove set the stage for the run eruption. He robbed Adrian Beltre of two hits and, along with it, potentially big innings for the Rangers.
He felt a little bad, too.
“Beltre’s my favorite player,” Arenado said. “He’s one of the last players I’d want to rob.”
In the third, Arenado, the reigning Gold Glove winner at the hot corner, gobbled up a hot grounder from Beltre and threw him out at first. Beltre playfully looked at Arenado and raised hands as if to say, “Did that just happen?”
Arenado has been stealing hits all season. So much so that before the game Washington said of Arenado: “That kid over there is a highlight reel.”
In the fifth, Arenado got Beltre again as he snared a two-out slow roller with his bare hand and made a strong throw that barely beat Beltre.
“I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do,” Arenado said.
Nicasio struggled to find the strike zone, with catcher Jordan Pacheco and pitching coach Jim Wright making frequent visits to settle him down. It worked as Nicasio improved to 3-0 at home this season.
Ross nearly had his first major league hit as he beat out a grounder to second. But Rockies manager Walt Weiss challenged the play and it was reversed upon review.
“I think he’ll get another one,” Weiss said, laughing. “I think he will.”
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