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Regis Jesuit grad Ty Blach impresses in Rockies debut: “This was a dream come true”

Connor Joe is OK after getting hit by a pitch

Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Ty Blach ...
David Zalubowski, The Associated Press
Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Ty Blach works against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the sixth inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 10, 2022, in Denver.
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The Rockies’ purple victory chain hung around Ty Blach’s neck, caked with shaving cream. His T-shirt dripped from a beer shower.

There’s nothing like postgame shenanigans to welcome a player into the big-league family.

“This was a dream come true,” Blach said Sunday afternoon after pitching four scoreless innings of relief in Colorado’s 9-4 victory over the Dodgers at Coors Field. “This was one of the most wonderful things that’s ever happened to me. I feel really, really blessed, for sure.”

Blach, a Denver native and 2009 graduate of Regis Jesuit High School, gave up one hit with one walk and four strikeouts to earn his first professional save. He became the first Rockies pitcher since Tyler Anderson to pitch four or more innings in relief and allow two or fewer baserunners. He became just the seventh Rockie to record a four-inning save. The last was Jason Hammel on Sept. 11, 2011.

Catcher Elias Diaz persuaded manager Bud Black to have Blach pitch the ninth inning.

“Ty was outstanding,” Black said. “What I told him, on the field, was how proud I was of him. What he’s been through in the last few years, it’s a great story.”

After graduating from Regis, Blach pitched at Creighton University and was drafted by San Francisco in the fifth round in 2012. He debuted for the Giants on Sept. 25, 2016, against the Rockies, coming out of the bullpen to pitch three scoreless innings. He was the Giants’ opening-day starter in 2018. He pitched in 47 games that season (13 starts), going 6-7 with a 4.62 ERA.

But then things got tough.

The Giants designated him for assignment during the 2019 season and he was picked up by Baltimore. He pitched to an 11.32 ERA in five starts for the Orioles down the stretch. That was the last time he pitched in the majors until Sunday.

He missed the 60-game pandemic season when he underwent Tommy John surgery. He missed most of the 2021 season before rehabbing in the minors. While pitching for the Orioles’ Florida rookie league team, Blach appeared to turn things around, posting a 1.23 ERA with 22 strikeouts and just one walk in 22 innings.

Pitch clock. It took new right-hander Alex Colome 25 minutes to pitch to five Dodgers hitters in Colorado’s 3-2 win on Saturday night. With that in mind, Black was asked if he’s in favor of Major League Baseball implementing a pitch clock.

“I like it,” Blach said. “I’m in favor. Heavily in favor. The pitch clock not only affects the pitcher, it affects the hitter. He’s got to get in there, too. The hitter can’t do all of his gyrations, also.”

Small world. Black earned his 1,000th career victory as a manager on Sunday. His first win came on April 3, 2007, with the Padres at San Francisco.

Who, do you suppose, was the opposing team’s center fielder on that day? None other than Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, one of Black’s best friends.

“I did not know that,” Black said.

Footnotes. The Rockies drew 137,539 fans for the three-game series vs. the Dodgers, the second-highest average attendance (45,846) in the majors during opening weekend. … Rockies first baseman Connor Joe was hit on the right index finger with a pitch from Mitch White in the fourth inning but stayed in the game. Joe said after the game that he was fine.