Gray struggles through shortest start of career

Gray struggles through shortest start of career

PHOENIX -- Rockies right-hander Jon Gray tried to do too much with his curveball on Wednesday night and wound up pitching way too little in his first postseason start.

Gray gave up Paul Goldschmidt's three-run homer in the first inning and four runs total in 1 1/3 innings -- the shortest outing of his career and the shortest postseason start in Rockies history -- to put his team in a hole in an eventual 11-8 loss to the D-backs in the National League Wild Card Game.

Date Time Highlights
Oct. 4 D-backs 11, Rockies 8 WATCH

The shortest previous postseason start in club history was by Josh Fogg, who lasted 2 2/3 innings in Game 3 of the 2007 World Series. The shortest regular-season start of Gray's career was 1 2/3 innings, on Aug. 21, 2015, against the Mets at Coors Field.

"I was just doing too much out there," a disappointed Gray said. "I could tell that I was throwing my offspeed up in the zone.

"The environment is pretty loud. You want to step up and do something good for the team. I was feeling like I needed to push my effort a little bit more. I think it hurt me. It's tough."

Gray on Wild Card Game loss

Gray had gone 13 starts without giving up more than three runs -- the second-longest such streak in club history. He also had struck out 20 in 13 innings over two starts at Chase Field, and Goldschmidt entered the game 0-for-11 against him.

But Wednesday was different.

At least, Gray admitted, he pitched differently.

"Even thought it's a different environment, it's the same game," he said. "I should have pitched the same as I have been.

"But when something like that happens too fast, it's too late, and there's nothing you can do about it."

David Peralta, who had been 6-for-13 against Gray, singled through the middle on a 2-2 slider, and Ketel Marte singled on a first-pitch inside fastball that may have been slightly off the plate.

Then Goldschmidt erased his negative history against Gray.

One inning later, Marte's one-out triple, on a 1-2 fastball after another Peralta single, would end Gray's night. He threw 41 pitches, 33 of them in the first inning.

Gray fans Mathis

"It wasn't like he was nibbling," manager Bud Black said. "It wasn't like he was scared off. He wasn't. I mean, he went at them, but he just didn't make good pitches."

Black on Gray

Gray then watched as Colorado began erasing the deficit with a four-run fourth against Arizona starter Zack Greinke, who would last just 3 1/3 innings. Consecutive home runs by Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story in the eighth cut the difference to 8-7, but ultimately, the Rockies couldn't overcome Gray's early struggle.

Rockies go back-to-back

"It was awesome," Gray said. "We were fighting to the end. That's what you get from the guys.

"It's tough emotionally. I really want to be there for the guys behind me. It was a really big situation, a really big game."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.