Rojas, Bumgarner Lead Diamondbacks to Big Win over Rockies

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Diamondbacks 9, Rockies 2

PHOENIX, July 9 — Josh Rojas went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI, leading the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 9–2 victory over the Colorado Rockies Saturday afternoon in Phoenix. Madison Bumgarner scattered six hits over seven innings to hold the Rockies at bay.

The Rockies struck first, with designated hitter Kris Bryant — the second batter of the game — belting a 2–2 pitch past the left-field bullpen for a tall home run. This was Bryant’s fourth homer of the series, and it gave the Rockies a 1–0 lead.

The Diamondbacks responded forcefully in the bottom of the first, sending eight hitters to the plate. Catcher Carson Kelly slugged the first pitch from Kyle Freeland into the left-field corner for a leadoff double. A bunt single by Rojas — the third baseman — and walk by designated hitter Ketel Marte loaded the bases for first baseman Christian Walker. His sacrifice fly to right plated Kelly and advanced Rojas to third. Right fielder Jordan Luplow singled Rojas home before second baseman Buddy Kennedy singled, reloading the bases. A slow grounder to short by left fielder Cooper Hummel scored Marte for the third run. Center fielder Alek Thomas nearly beat out a grounder to short, which would have extended the inning, but a fine play by Garrett Hampson retired Thomas by less than a step, retiring the side.

The Rockies narrowed the gap in the top of the third after a leadoff double to the left-field corner by first baseman Connor Joe. Right fielder Charlie Blackmon singled him across, making it a 3–2 game. The Diamondbacks regained a two-run lead in the bottom of the sixth on Luplow’s 11th homer of the season.

Vintage Madison Bumgarner

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Bumgarner, after coughing up a leadoff double in the top of the fifth, retired the final nine batters he faced. Manager Torey Lovullo called them “his best innings that I’ve seen since he’s been here.” Bumgarner capped off his outing by striking out the side in the seventh on 13 pitches. He said that doing so “felt good” but added that going that long without striking many out “felt weird.” He said, “I was being aggressive in the strike zone but had one strikeout for most of the game. I’m not striking out 10 or 12 anymore like I used to, but to see only one up there was a little weird. But they did start coming there at the end, so that made me feel a little better about it.”

Consecutive one-out singles by Thomas and shortstop Geraldo Perdomo in the bottom of the seventh ended Freeland’s day. In came Carlos Estevez to pitch to Kelly with runners on first and second and one out. After Kelly struck out, Rojas smoked a double into the left-center-field gap. That brought both runners around, giving the Diamondbacks a 6–2 lead.

Diamondbacks Take Commanding Lead over Rockies, Never Look Back

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It became an 8–2 game in the bottom of the eighth off reliever Jhoulys Chacin. A one-out single by Kennedy, followed by a walk from new right fielder Daulton Varsho, put runners on first and second for Thomas. He struck out. As Perdomo batted, a wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third. That made his subsequent hit a two-run single instead of a one-run single. Kelly advanced Perdomo to third with an end-of-the-bat bloop over shortstop into shallow left. Up came Rojas, who bounced one over the fence in left-center field. His second straight double — this one of the ground-rule variety — and third hit of the game scored Perdomo and advanced Kelly to third. This made the score 9–2, and a scoreless top of the ninth by reliever Caleb Smith made it final.

Postgame Reflections

“That was a good all-around effort,” Rojas said. “Nice outing by Bum, keeping it to two. Same for (relievers Noe Ramirez and Caleb Smith). Everybody came in after the offense put up three early in the first. Then they died down a little bit in those middle innings but put it on late in the last three or four innings.”

Rojas added that he was impressed by Bumgarner’s seventh inning. “That was sick. I think he was at 94 pitches going into that inning, (so) I didn’t know if was gonna go out. It’s been about his limit, 94 to 100. So going out for that last inning, I was hoping for the best. And then to sit him down like that, three strikeouts in a row, is pretty sick.”

Torey Lovullo

Lovullo said the win was “a really good response to something that hasn’t been going our way over the past three games. This team was a little frustrated walking in the clubhouse doors today. They went out and executed a really good game plan and made some statements all day long. Carson walking to home plate in the bottom of the first inning and doubling down the left field line gave us a quick boost after falling down 1–0. We tied the game up, went ahead, and had a quality approach early on. I don’t think we let Freeland get into a rhythm. So was about preparation, going out there, and making good statements. Bum pretty much took it over from there.”

This win came on a special day for Lovullo. It was the 90th birthday of his mother, Grace Lovullo. She was in attendance, along with several relatives. As an added thrill for her, she got to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. “It was an emotional moment for her,” he said. “She’s been my hero my whole life.” He remarked that despite being 90, she was more concerned about throwing the ball overhand instead of underhand. “But she is somebody who guides me,” he continued, “and has turned me into the person I am today.

“My parents were unbelievable influences in my life. I lost my father five years ago, so it’s just been my mom continuing to raise four children in her special way from a very long distance. And it was a great moment for me. I’m especially grateful that my whole family was here, and to have her do it at 90 years old is, for me, very remarkable.”

Looking Ahead

Bumgarner posted a quality start, going seven innings and allowing two earned runs on six hits with five strikeouts and no walks. This gave him the win, running his record to 5–8. Freeland (4–7) took the loss.

The Diamondbacks (38–47) and Rockies (37–48) will play the last game of their four-game series Sunday afternoon. Lefty Tyler Gilbert (0–3, 6.86 ERA) and righty German Márquez (4–7, 5.90 ERA) will start for the Diamondbacks and Rockies, respectively. First pitch is at 1:10 Arizona time.

Main Photo:

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Players/managers mentioned:

Josh Rojas, Madison Bumgarner, Kris Bryant, Carson Kelly, Kyle Freeland, Ketel Marte, Christian Walker, Jordan Luplow, Buddy Kennedy, Cooper Hummel, Alek Thomas, Garrett Hampson, Connor Joe, Charlie Blackmon, Torey Lovullo, Geraldo Perdomo, Carlos Estevez, Jhoulys Chacin, Daulton Varsho, Caleb Smith, Noe Ramirez, Tyler Gilbert, Germán Márquez