Late Rally Propels Diamondbacks Past Rockies in Seesaw Game

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Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 5

PHOENIX, Aug. 5 — A two-run single in the bottom of the eighth by Diamondbacks shortstop Geraldo Perdomo seized control of a back-and-forth game, and a diving play by Perdomo helped preserve the lead in the ninth as the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the Colorado Rockies, 6–5, Friday night in Phoenix.

The rally, coming in the first game since general manager Mike Hazen’s wife Nicole passed away at 45 from complications of glioblastoma, gave the Diamondbacks an emotional win. Manager Torey Lovullo pointed to the sky afterwards. “I think there was a little piece of Nicole Hazen in this one today,” Lovullo said postgame.

Seesaw Game Early

The Diamondbacks scored first, doing so in the bottom of the first off Rockies starter German Márquez. Third baseman Josh Rojas drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a balk. After center fielder Alek Thomas lined softly to short, second baseman Ketel Marte blooped a double into shallow left. Rojas, running hard the whole way, scored easily. A grounder to second by designated hitter Christian Walker advanced Marte to third before right fielder Daulton Varsho walked. Left fielder Jake McCarthy stranded the two with an inning-ending groundout to second.

Rockies right fielder Randal Grichuk tied the game with a one-out solo home run off Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner in the top of the second. In the top of the third, third baseman Elehuris Montero led off with a sinking liner hooking toward the left-field line. McCarthy attempted a diving catch. He initially had it, but the ball popped out when he hit the ground, and Montero had a double. Two batters later, shortstop Jose Iglesias ripped a double to the right-field line, scoring Montero and giving the Rockies a 2–1 lead.

Diamondbacks Tie Game, Rockies Capitalize on Mistakes to Retake Lead

Varsho led off the bottom of the fourth with a game-tying home run over the pool in right-center. The score held until the top of the sixth, when Bumgarner appeared to run out of gas. Second baseman Brendan Rodgers led off with a six-pitch walk and advanced to second on a sharp single to left by Grichuk. Rodgers tagged up and advanced to third on a lineout by catcher Elias Diaz, putting runners on the corners for center fielder Yonathan Daza. His single up the middle scored Rodgers and gave the Rockies a 3–2 lead. Left fielder Connor Joe hit a medium one-hopper to third that, if turned quickly, could have been a side-retiring double play. However, Rojas’ throw to second pulled Marte off the bag, and everyone was safe.

Montero made the error hurt when he followed with a two-run single to shallow left. Grichuk scored easily. The throw home would have been in time to get Daza, but it was wide to the left. Catcher Carson Kelly, after fielding the throw, lunged to tag Daza but narrowly missed. This gave the Rockies a 5–2 lead over a frustrated Diamondbacks team.

Diamondbacks Fight Back, Seize Control from Rockies

Infielder Emmanuel Rivera, acquired at the deadline in a trade for Luke Weaver, pinch-hit for first baseman Seth Beer to lead off the bottom of the seventh. He faced left-handed reliever Lucas Gilbreath, who had taken the hill in relief of Marquez to start the frame. Rivera drew a four-pitch walk. Two batters later, Perdomo drew a five-pitch walk, advancing Rivera to second. Rojas made up for his fielding miscue by blistering a double to right-center. It one-hopped the 413 sign, scoring both runners without a throw and cutting the deficit to 5–4. He advanced to second when Thomas drew a follow-up walk, running Gilbreath’s pitch count to 22 pitches and five strikes.

Out came the hook from Rockies manager Bud Black, who called in right-hander Robert Stephenson to face Marte and Walker. After Marte struck out looking, Walker smoked a hard grounder down the first-base line. As has been the case many times this season, it was an atom ball straight to Rockies first baseman C.J. Cron, who stepped on the bag for an easy third out.

Taking the Lead for Good

Diamondbacks reliever Chris “The Dragon” Devenski struck out the side in the eighth, with the only baserunner coming on a one-out double to left by Joe. Rockies setup man Alex Colome took the hill in the bottom of the eighth. A one-out single by McCarthy, followed by a double to left by Rivera, put runners on second and third for Kelly.

It appeared that McCarthy could have scored on that double but was late getting started. “This is how funny the game is,” Lovullo said after the game. “He was supposed to go on contact…. Jake just froze up.” He added, “He reacted the wrong way, was looking for a down angle, got it, and just locked up. Sometimes you get down angle mixed up with a line drive. You don’t want to get doubled up because you’re gonna be out of the inning. So it’s a very tough angle. But we practice that a lot in spring training, we walk around the bases, and we’re reading down angles for this very moment and this very play. He just said he got locked up a little bit and made a mistake.”

When Kelly grounded to third, forcing both runners to stay put, the baserunning miscue threatened to cost the Diamondbacks the tying run. It certainly looked like it when Perdomo, up next, hit a soft liner toward second. Rodgers leaped, but it was inches beyond his reach, and the ball dropped into shallow right-center for a base hit. Both runners scored, and the Diamondbacks took a 6–5 lead. Ian Kennedy sealed the victory with a 1–2–3 ninth on eight pitches, aided by Perdomo’s diving play to rob Cron of a one-out single. This gave him his sixth save of the season.

Postgame Reflections

An emotionally drained Lovullo praised his club after the game. “We found a way to rally when we had to,” he noted. “And we had the big hit by Perdomo in the eighth inning. Everything timed up perfectly for him. He had a great at-bat and came through in the most important moment of the game. Those are the little things that we try to define ourselves by. We kept pressing on, had some some fighting opportunities that didn’t work out early in the game. Our team was, overall, frustrated — that was the sense I was getting inside of the dugout, I could be wrong — but finally broke through.

“You look up and they have 10 or 12 hits, and we’ve got four or five, and things just are not going our way. What I enjoyed seeing was we didn’t shut down. We closed up that gap rather quickly. Rojas had the big double that got us right back into the game. We built that inning, got some slug once again. Built another inning, Rivera with that big double down the left-field line some really impressive at-bats today.”

Cashing In

Of the six runners the Diamondbacks left on base, only three were in scoring position. This was counter to a problem the Diamondbacks have had in a lot of their losses, so Lovullo, obviously was pleased. “Those are little things we’ve been talking about. You can’t sprinkle magic fairy dust on it and make it happen every single time that you want to. It takes a lot of hard work. It’s mostly an approach-based thought. When you (have) guys on, you want to cash them in. You’ve got to have the right approach, and you’ve got to be thinking baseball, have a high at-bat IQ. When we do it right, I think we get spoiled; when we don’t, it’s frustrating.”

Madison Bumgarner

Bumgarner said he hasn’t been feeling his best recently, which was the reason for his extra time off. He was initially scheduled to start Wednesday in Cleveland, but the team had Tommy Henry make his major league debut instead. He said that despite his outing being below his standards, “I don’t care what my line is as long as we win the game. We did today, so whatever it takes, I’m good with.”

After the first inning, Bumgarner had the standard foreign substance check by an umpire. Since he was in the third-base dugout, this task normally falls to the third base umpire. However, that was Dan Bellino, in his first Diamondbacks game since May 4 in Miami. In that game, Bellino antagonized Bumgarner while checking his hand, staring at Bumgarner’s face with a strange look while massaging his hand for an extended period. When Bumgarner responded as one would expect any pitcher to respond in that situation, Bellino threw Bumgarner out of the game.

So in this game Bumgarner headed straight to plate umpire Mark Ripperger to be checked. When asked if he didn’t want to engage with Bellino, Bumgarner said, “No. No way. Not putting myself in that position again. No way.” When asked if he thought Ripperger might have been a little uncomfortable, he answered, “I don’t know. Don’t think so. He might have been a little uncomfortable, I guess. I wasn’t being aggressive with him or anything like that. Just told him if you guys want to check my hand, you can do it. I’m not letting him do it. Not holding a grudge — I haven’t thought about him — but also not forgetting. I don’t have any bad wishes towards him. But you don’t get to do that again.”

Looking Ahead

Perdomo’s heroics overshadowed an impressive day by Grichuk, who went 3-for-4 with a homer, an RBI, and two runs scored. As mentioned earlier, of the seven runners the Diamondbacks left on base, only three were in scoring position. On the contrary, of the eight runners the Rockies left on, six were in scoring position, one of the key components in the outcome.

Devenski (1–0) earned the win in relief, while Colome (2–5) took the dreaded double-whammy blown save-loss. The Diamondbacks (47–58) and Rockies (47–62) square off again Saturday evening. Merrill Kelly (10–5, 2.87 ERA) and Antonio Senzatela (3–6, 4.87 ERA) will start for the Diamondbacks and Rockies, respectively, in a battle of right-handers. First pitch will be at 5:10 pm Arizona time.

Main Photo Credits:

PHOENIX, Aug. 5 — The scoreboard at Chase Field displays the images of Nicole Hazen (left) and Vin Scully prior to the game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies. Hazen and Scully passed on Aug. 4 and 2, respectively. Nicole, 45, wife of Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen, succumbed to complications from glioblastoma. Scully, lead broadcaster of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers for 67 years, died of natural causes at the age of 94. (Photo by Evan Thompson)

Players/managers mentioned:

Geraldo Perdomo, Torey Lovullo, German Márquez, Josh Rojas, Alek Thomas, Ketel Marte, Christian Walker, Daulton Varsho, Jake McCarthy, Randal Grichuk, Madison Bumgarner, Elehuris Montero, Jose Iglesias, Brendan Rodgers, Elias Diaz, Yonathan Daza, Connor Joe, Carson Kelly, Ian Kennedy, Emmanuel Rivera, Luke Weaver, Seth Beer, Lucas Gilbreath, Bud Black, Robert Stephenson, C.J. Cron, Chris Devenski, Alex Colome, Merrill Kelly, Antonio Senzatela