Brenton Doyle’s three-run triple leads Rockies over Blue Jays

Brenton Doyle is quickly gaining a reputation as the best young defensive outfielder in the majors. His historic 105.7 mph throw on Saturday night will only enhance that reputation.

But the Rockies’ rookie center fielder wants to be so much more.

So it was completely understandable when Doyle pumped his fist after sliding into third with a bases-loaded triple in the fifth inning. Doyle’s three-run missile off the right-field wall was the key hit in Colorado’s white-knuckle, 8-7 victory over the Blue Jays at Coors Field.

“That was huge, especially not coming through with the bases loaded (in the second inning),” Doyle said. “I knew that I couldn’t let that happen again. It was a really good feeling.

Doyle entered the night with a .196 batting average and a strikeout rate of 36.7%. In fact, Toronto lefty Yusei Kikuchi fanned Doyle twice in his first two at-bats. But Doyle ambushed reliever Yimi Garcia’s first-pitch fastball and turned on the jets. Doyle scored on Charlie Blackmon’s single to right.

“That was big for Brenton,” manager Bud Black said. “He had those two strikeouts before but he came through. That (will build) his confidence. He has work to do in the offseason, but that was good to see.”

Doyle’s Saturday night Superman act included his ninth outfield assist of the season, a 100.9 mph throw to third base in the first inning to nail Daulton Varsho and end the inning. It was the fastest outfield assist in the majors this season and is the fastest-tracked outfield assist by a Rockies player in the Statcast Era (since 2015).

But that was nothing. In the ninth, Doyle let loose with his 105.7 mph throw to home to hold Davis Schneider on third base, preventing a sacrifice fly. It was the hardest recorded outfield throw in the Statcast Era.

“That was probably the best throw I’ve made all year, too bad the guy didn’t run,” Doyle said with a grin. “I had really good momentum behind the throw, I had a perfect four-seam grip and it was a bullet to the plate. I knew it was one of my hardest throws but I didn’t expect it to be almost 106.”

Blackmon had quite a night himself, hitting 3 for 4 (including a double in the eighth) and driving in three runs. Also, in the fifth, the 37-year-old Blackmon swiped second base for his first stolen base of the season. Oh yeah, it was also Charlie Blackmon bobblehead night, part of the reason a raucous crowd of 40,445 showed up.

Colorado’s bullpen, which has been so shaky lately, nearly collapsed again.

Gavin Hollowell and Matt Koch each pitched a scoreless inning. But closer Justin Lawrence had a nerve-racking time. He walked George Springer to open the ninth and Schneider ripped a triple off Lawrence to score Springer, cutting the lead to 8-6.

Lawrence retired Guerrero and Whit Merrifield, but then uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Schneider to score from third. The lead was down to 8-7. And then Lawrence walked Alejandro Kirk and Cavan Biggio and plunked Varsho to load the bases.

Right-hander Tyler Kinley came in to try to save the day. He did, striking out pinch-hitter Spencer Horwitz to end the game.

The Rockies, who snapped a four-game losing streak and won for just the second time in their last 12 games, could have folded early. They didn’t, largely because of a gritty performance from starter Ty Blach.

The lefty could have easily come down with a severe case of Rocky Mountain Fever, an infliction that strikes a lot of pitchers at Coors Field.  After all, the lefty gave up four runs on six hits in the first inning.

But here’s the thing: The Blue Jays rapped out five consecutive two-out singles but the first four were classic Coors bloopers. Merrifield’s hit came off the bat at 75.2 mph, followed by Kirk (66.9), Ernie Clement (50.7) and Varsho (61.4 mph).

After that inning, Blach gave up just one more run — a leadoff homer by Kevin Kiermaier in the second — and stuck around for six innings.

“I just tried to keep the team in the game as long as I could, and it was great to see the team come back, down 5-0 like that,” Blach said.

Blach said that when he was a younger pitcher, a quirky, unlucky first inning might have derailed him.

“It probably would have affected me differently and I probably would have been more frustrated,” he said. “I did leave a couple of pitches over the plate, but I made a lot of good pitches to get out of it. And thankfully, Brenton threw that guy out at third and it kind of let me reset.”

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Sunday’s pitching matchup

Blue Jays RHP Kevin Gausman (10-8, 3.30 ERA) at Rockies RHP Chase Anderson (0-4, 6.63)

1:10 p.m. Sunday, Coors Field

TV: AT&T SportsNet

Radio: 850 AM/94.1 FM

Anderson will come off the 15-day injured list to start Sunday’s game, replacing lefty Austin Gomber, who is dealing with a sore lower back. In his second rehab start at Triple-A Albuquerque on Tuesday, Anderson gave up no runs, allowed two hits, struck out one and walked four across three innings. Anderson, who went on the IL with a sore shoulder, threw 64 pitches Tuesday and will likely be limited to about 80 pitches on Sunday. Gausman, a graduate of Grandview High School, is scheduled to make his 27th start. He’s coming off a historic outing against the Nationals in which the right-hander allowed three runs over five innings and struck out seven, making him just the third pitcher in Blue Jays history to record 200 strikeouts in consecutive seasons. The others: Roy Halladay and Roger Clemens. Over six career starts vs. Colorado, Gausman is 2-1 with a 4.19 ERA.

Pitching probables

Monday: Rockies RHP Peter Lambert (3-5, 4.95) at Diamondbacks RHP Merrill Kelly (10-6, 3.31), 2:10 p.m., ATTRM

Tuesday: Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (5-14, 5.18) at Diamondbacks RHP Brandon Pfaadt (1-7, 6.21), 7:40 p.m., ATTRM

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