Diamondbacks Bow Late to Rockies

Diamondbacks Rockies

Rockies 4, Diamondbacks 3

PHOENIX, July 7 — Twice the Arizona Diamondbacks fell behind to the Colorado Rockies before tying the game again. However, the third time was the charm for the Rockies, as they hung on to defeat the Diamondbacks, 4–3, in front of a snoozing Thursday night crowd of 11,727 at Chase Field.

The Rockies knocked Dallas Keuchel around in the first inning a bit before he settled down. Left fielder Connor Joe and designated hitter Kris Bryant led off with consecutive doubles, the latter scoring the former. Two batters later, second baseman Brendan Rodgers brought Bryant in, making the score 2–0 in favor of the Rockies. The Diamondbacks tied the score in bottom of the second off Austin Gomber. Second baseman Buddy Kennedy doubled to left with one out, scoring on a follow-up home run by catcher Carson Kelly.

The Rockies inched ahead in the top of the fourth, beginning with a two-out double to the right-field corner by right fielder Randal Grichuk. He scored on a follow-up single by third baseman Ryan McMahon, giving the Rockies a 3–2 lead. The Diamondbacks equalized in the bottom half. Designated hitter Ketel Marte led off with a single but was later cut down trying to advance to second on a ball that got away from catcher Elias Diaz. First baseman Christian Walker shook off the lost baserunner, doubling into the left-field corner. Two batters later, Kelly dumped a single to left, plating Walker.

Rockies Pull Away, Diamondbacks Can’t Counter

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Neither team had another runner in scoring position until the top of the eighth, when first baseman C.J. Cron blooped a double to shallow right off reliever Noe Ramirez, a ball that Walker almost snagged with what would have been a high-difficulty, highlight-reel, over-the-shoulder basket catch on the run. Ramirez, however, did not yield, as he retired Rodgers on a fly to left for the third out.

The Diamondbacks got two aboard in the eighth after a two-out walk by Marte. When Walker followed with a single, reserve infielder Sergio Alcantara pinch-ran for the ailing Marte. They were stranded when Alek Thomas, pinch-hitting for Kennedy, struck out, ending the inning.

The top of the ninth brought closer Mark Melancon to the hill. Shortstop Jose Iglesias welcomed him with a hot grounder for a single. Grichuk followed with a deep fly to the gap. Thomas tracked it and attempted a diving catch, but it was barely out of his reach. Iglesias scored, giving the Rockies a 4–3 lead. A groundout, intentional walk, and two strikeouts later, the Diamondbacks were out of the inning and had one more chance to tie. But a two-out walk was all they could muster in the bottom of the ninth off closer Daniel Bard, who notched his 17th save of the season.

Postgame Reflections

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo lamented the result. “You’d feel like, after the type of series that we had against San Francisco, things would have pushed into a good spot for us today. But we didn’t win a baseball game, and that’s what we’re judged by. So we’re a little bit frustrated by that.

“I felt like we had some opportunities. We built something in the eighth inning; we kept pushing as hard as we could. And we just came up on the short end of it. There’s a little bit of frustration that we’re working through right now, but we’ve got to identify the things that we did well, the things that we didn’t do well, keep pushing forward, and come out tomorrow and try and win a baseball game.”

Dallas Keuchel

Keuchel lasted seven innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits while walking none and striking out four. It was his second Quality Start of the season — first as a Diamondback and first since May 8. He said he felt “more in control” Thursday night, “and that’s good.” He added that his formula was to go back to what has worked for him before. “I became reliant on my cutter. That’s always been a secondary pitch to me, (but) I was using (it) as a primary pitch. I’m not going to be consistently good if I rely on my cutter, (yet) that’s what I started doing. Guys took advantage of it when it just kind of spun up there. My four-seamer naturally cuts anyway but at a higher-velocity clip.

“Strommy (pitching coach Brent Strom) and I and Carson and a couple of other guys (were talking). (I thought), ‘Why did I fall in love with the cutter when my two-seam is my pitch? Pop a few four-seams, usually 10% or so.’ We just started riding that a little bit more. I think, moving forward, that’s another really good pitch to offset the two-seam, but the two-seam movement today was really nice.”

Looking Ahead

Carlos Estevez (2–4) earned the win, while Melancon (3–7) took the loss, both in relief. The Diamondbacks (37–46) and Rockies (36–47) play the second game of their four-game series Friday evening. Zac Gallen (4–2, 3.40 ERA) and Chad Kuhl (5–5, 3.83 ERA) will start for the Diamondbacks and Rockies, respectively, in a battle of right-handers. First pitch will be at 6:40 pm Arizona Time.

Main Photo Credits

PHOENIX, July 7 — Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Carson Kelly bats in the bottom of the seventh inning against Colorado Rockies pitcher Lucas Gilbreath (not pictured). Kelly finished 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. (Photo by Evan Thompson)

Players/managers mentioned:

Dallas Keuchel, Connor Joe, Kris Bryant, Brendan Rodgers, Austin Gomber, Buddy Kennedy, Carson Kelly, Randal Grichuk, Ryan McMahon, Ketel Marte, Elias Diaz, Christian Walker, C.J. Cron, Noe Ramirez, Sergio Alcantara, Alek Thomas, Mark Melancon, Jose Iglesias, Daniel Bard, Torey Lovullo, Brent Strom, Carlos Estevez, Zac Gallen, Chad Kuhl, Lucas Gilbreath