Club-record run comes to close at 28 after 'a winning at-bat' against Reds
By Thomas Harding
CINCINNATI -- Had Friday night ended the Rockies' way, Nolan Arenado's unselfish ninth-inning work in the batter's box that manager Walt Weiss called "a winning at-bat" would have actually led to a victory.
With one out and the Rockies trailing the Reds, 3-2, and nobody on against reliever Jonathan Broxton, a hit would have been great. And it would have run Arenado's club-record hit streak to 29 games.
But unless the hit was a home run, the goal was being a baserunner, no matter how. Arenado accomplished that by drawing a walk, ensuring that his hit streak would most likely end at 28. After the walk, Justin Morneau drove Arenado home with a double to left-center to tie the game.
But while the Reds went on to win, 4-3, on Joey Votto's leadoff homer in the ninth, the at-bat in the top of the inning said much about Arenado, who finished 0-for-3 with a strikeout and the walk.
The 28-game streak surpassed by one game the Rockies' record, set by Michael Cuddyer last year. It was the longest in the Majors since the Nationals' Denard Span hit in 29 straight last year.
But Arenado insisted all along his priority wasn't the streak, which saw him hit .360 (40-for-111) with 11 doubles, four home runs and 20 RBIs from April 9 through Thursday. He proved it by not chasing pitches and taking his walk with the game on the line Friday.
"I haven't thought about the streak every time I've gone to the plate," Arenado said. "The only time I've thought about it was when we were up 12 runs in one game, but that's about it. Other than that, I haven't thought about it. Obviously, you want hits, because hits help the team. But that walk was big, so that's what I had to do."
Arenado was called up from Triple-A and made his big league debut on April 28 of last year and, despite not being in the Majors for much of the first month, earned a Rawlings Gold Glove Award. He became the first National League rookie to do so. He has emerged as an offensive force who, while playing every inning of each of the Rockies' 38 games, has an overall batting average of .315, with six home runs and 26 RBIs.
But a zero on the hit column on Friday night was perhaps a clearer measure of Arenado.
"It's an at-bat from a winning player," Weiss said. "All he was thinking about was trying to put us in position to win a game."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.