DENVER (AP) — Ty Wigginton’s soaring drive had game-tying homer written all over it.
Center fielder Chris Young turned it into an all-important out for Arizona with a tremendous leaping grab at the wall, preserving the Diamondbacks’ 2-1 victory over Colorado on Wednesday night and extending a miserable run by the Rockies in tight, low-scoring games.
Plagued by a lackluster offense, Colorado dropped to 1-9 in one-run-games since May 3.
“We need to apply more pressure against opposing clubs,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “That’s our pitfall right now. I personally feel we are a better offensive team than this. But over the course of a period of time here, we’ll find out whether I’m right or wrong.”
An early baserunning gaffe, a lack of timely hitting and Young’s defensive gem added up to the sixth loss in eight games for the Rockies (24-24), who dropped to .500 for the first time since starting the season 1-1.
“We just have to be better,” Rockies starter Jason Hammel said. “There’s not much that we haven’t already said. But obviously it has to change.”
Hammel (3-4) was a hard-luck loser, pitching seven strong innings and surrendering two unearned runs.
Shortstop Alfredo Amezaga’s error in the sixth proved costly for Hammel, opening the door for both runs.
Amezaga was filling in for Troy Tulowitzki after the slugger was given his first day off this season. Amezaga threw high to Todd Helton at first, allowing Ryan Roberts to slide safely into the bag and set the stage for the decisive inning.
Kelly Johnson then followed with a double. After Upton brought in a run with a groundout, Stephen Drew hit a shot into the left-center gap, only to have Gold Glove winner Carlos Gonzalez leap up and haul it in before brushing against the wall.
But Gonzalez could do nothing about Young’s two-out flare that dropped in front of the left fielder, bringing in Johnson and making it 2-1.
“I made the mistake to Chris Young there,” Hammel said. “It was a slider up. It should have been down. That’s the go-ahead run right there and that’s why I lost.”
That was more than enough support for Ian Kennedy (6-1), who allowed one run in eight innings.
Seth Smith, who overran second base and was tagged out to take the steam out of a promising first inning, came back to help the Rockies take a 1-0 lead. He led off the fourth with a double, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Helton’s sacrifice fly to left.
The Rockies are still coming to grips with losing left-hander Jorge De La Rosa to a season-ending elbow injury. He was placed on the disabled list Wednesday, a day after he tore a ligament in the third inning against Arizona.
De La Rosa will have Tommy John-style tendon replacement surgery when the swelling goes down, possibly next week. The procedure will sideline him for a year.
With his injury, Colorado will have to adjust its rotation on the fly. The immediate plan is to bring up righty Juan Nicasio from Double-A Tulsa and have him make a spot start against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.
After that, the rotation remains in flux.
To take De La Rosa’s spot on the roster, the team recalled reliever Bruce Billings from Triple-A Colorado Springs. He’s never pitched in a major league game.
NOTES: Arizona placed right-handed reliever Juan Gutierrez (shoulder) on the 15-day disabled list and recalled RHP Zach Kroenke from Triple-A Reno. … The Diamondbacks have been .500 or better in just 23 of their last 373 games since ending the ’08 season at 82-80. … The Rockies have gone 9-12 against the NL West this season. … With Tulowitzki out of the lineup, Helton hit cleanup for the first time this season.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)