It’s hard to say who prefers Coors Field the most: Giancarlo Stanton or Tom Koehler. The two Marlins have a definite liking for the Mile High City, and showed why Friday.
Stanton hit the longest home run measured this season in the majors ‒ a 484-foot solo shot ‒ while Koehler proved that not all pitchers break out in hives at Coors by improving his career mark there to 2-0 in the Marlins’ 6-2 victory of a game that was interrupted by a nearly two-hour rain delay.
The Marlins opened their two-city, two-country road sojourn by winning their third straight, making it their longest winning streak since reeling off four in row in late April and early May.
Stanton got the trip going with a thundering bang ‒ four innings before the real thunder set in.
He parked a 1-1 Eddie Butler slider a bunch of rows up into the left-center field bleachers, a third-inning blast that hushed the crowd and gave him 18 home runs this season.
“Giancarlo got that one off the end [of the bat], so I wouldn’t even call that a big home run,” Koehler said, joking.
As deep as it was, though, it wasn’t the longest Stanton has hit in a ballpark that has turned into a personal favorite. Stanton walloped a 494-foot shot in 2012 at Coors, where he now boasts a career average of (19-53).
“It gives you an extra 20 feet when you hit it,” Stanton said of the thin-air effect of Coors. “So they come with it if you get it on the barrel.”
Stanton has now hit five of the nine longest homers in the majors this year, according to ESPN Stats and Info.
And then there was Koehler.
Most pitchers may cringe at the mere mention of Coors, but Koehler isn’t one of them.
“I’ve just been fortunate, the times I’ve pitched here, to have really good fastball command,” Koehler said. “When I have fastball command, I kind of work off that and everything else plays up a little bit better. I think that’s got a lot to do with it.”
Only five times in Marlins history has one of their pitchers gone at least seven innings at Coors and allowed three or fewer runs without issuing any walks. Koehler had done it twice, and nearly pulled it off the feat for a third time Friday when he went he held the Rockies to a run on eight hits over seven innings. He walked one, however.
“It’s big here,” Koehler said of keeping walks to a minimum. “You want to limit walks as much as you can, because you know one walk or two walks, all of a sudden it can turn into a crooked number really fast. So you try to limit guys on the base paths.”
Koehler now has a 2.14 ERA in three career starts in Denver.
The Rockies didn’t record their first hit off Koehler until Troy Tulowitzki singled with two outs in the fourth, and he worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh and final inning.
Koehler was able to work comfortably thanks to an early lead handed to him when the Marlins struck for a couple of runs in the second before Stanton went deep in the third to make it 3-0.
J.T. Realmuto went 4 for 4 as the Marlins piled up 12 hits in all.
It wasn’t until the sixth that the Rockies broke the scoreless drought on Tulowitzki’s two-out RBI single off Koehler. But Koehler struck out Carlos Gonzalez to end the frame and made it through seven before heavy rains hit, causing a delay of 1 hour 55 minutes.
The Rockies scored a run in the eighth and were threatening in the ninth when A.J. Ramos was summoned to close it out and pick up the save.