DENVER (The Sports Xchange) – Nolan Arenado picked up where he left off, providing more late-inning slugging heroics Tuesday night for the Colorado Rockies in their 4-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Arenado, who hit a three-run, walk-off homer Sunday to complete a cycle and give the Rockies a 7-5 victory, tripled home two runs in the eighth Tuesday off Arizona ace Zack Greinke after the Diamondbacks stunned the Rockies with home runs on back-to-back pitches in the top of the inning.
“Our third baseman is doing Kobe Bryant things,” said Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez, who homered in the fourth and saved a run with a diving catch to end the fifth. “He’s just on a different level right now. It’s fun to watch. He’s carrying this team on his shoulders.”
The Diamondbacks tied the game 2-2 when David Peralta hit his seventh homer, a leadoff blast on reliever Chris Rusin’s 2-1 changeup that traveled an estimated 455 feet and well into the second deck in right field.
Adam Ottavino (1-1) relieved Rusin and Paul Goldschmidt drove his first-pitch fastball into the right-field stands for his 17th home run.
The homers gave Diamondbacks starter Zack Greinke (8-4) his first lead of the game, but he couldn’t hold it. Greinke gave up consecutive one-out singles in the eighth to Charlie Blackmon and DJ LeMahieu and Arenado followed with a triple off the wall in right on Greinke’s 1-0 slider.
“It was middle away,” Arenado said. “I didn’t want to roll over a slider. I wanted to stay through it and lucky enough I was able to barrel it.”
Arenado’s liner off the wall hit right fielder Peralta and rolled away, enabling Arenado to hit his fourth triple of the season, two shy of his career-high set last year. Arenado has tripled in back-to-back games for the second time in his career. He also did it June 8-9, 2013, against San Diego.
“If I’m hitting triples, that just means the ball’s getting away from the outfielder. I’m a doubles guy,” said Arenado, who leads the majors with 26 doubles.
“I was pitching good until that inning,” said Greinke, who worked 7 1/3 innings, leaving after Arenado’s triple. “And even then, I made the right pitches. They took better swings at it. I felt really good, and I thought I made pretty good pitches. Blackmon just kind of slapped a ball in a good spot. And LeMahieu and Arenado did a good job with what I gave them.”
The loss dropped the Diamondbacks two games behind the Rockies, who maintained their half-game lead in the National League West over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Greg Holland worked the ninth and earned his 25th save in 26 chances. After issuing a one-out walk, he struck out Jeremy Hazelbaker. While facing Gregor Blanco, Holland put the tying run in scoring position with a wild pitch, but Holland came off the mound to field Blanco’s nubber and threw him out to end the game.
The win was the sixth straight for the Rockies — one shy of their season high — and their 13th in the past 16 games.
The Diamondbacks’ season-high seven-game winning streak ended as they lost for only second time in 12 games. Arizona’s five-game winning streak on the road also ended.
The Rockies improved to 11-2 in one-run games while the Diamondbacks fell to 15-7 in such contests.
Chris Owings’ sacrifice fly cut Colorado’s lead to 2-1 in the sixth, but that could have been a bigger inning for Arizona. Rockies starter German Marquez hit Goldschmidt with a pitch to open the inning, and Jake Lamb sent him to third with a single. Catcher Tony Wolters nailed Lamb trying to steal just ahead of Owings’ sacrifice fly to deep right-center.
That was the only run allowed by Marquez, who gave up four hits in six innings with two walks and three strikeouts. It was the first time in five starts that Marquez has pitched six innings.
Gonzalez, steadily pulling out of the 0-for-27 slump he ended Friday, drove a homer an estimated 449 feet, over the fence in center with one out in the fifth, putting the Rockies ahead 2-0. It was his sixth homer of the season and his first homer, RBI or extra-base hit since June 6.
The homer came on a 2-1 slider from Greinke, whom Gonzalez has hit well. He entered the game 13-for-36 with four homers and six RBIs against Greinke.
The Diamondbacks gift-wrapped a run for Colorado in the second. With one out, Ian Desmond was safe on a slow roller that third baseman Lamb barehanded but threw the ball past first base.
Catcher Jeff Mathis retrieved Greinke’s wild pitch, tried to get Desmond at third but made an errant throw that allowed Desmond to score the first run.
NOTES: Rockies RHP Jon Gray (left foot stress fracture) makes his third rehab start Saturday and second for Triple-A Albuquerque. … Rockies LHP Tyler Anderson (left knee inflammation) made a rehab start Sunday for Triple-A Albuquerque and will be re-evaluated this week. … Diamondbacks OF AJ Pollock (strained right groin) felt right quadriceps tightness before a rehab game Monday with Triple-A Reno and will not play in a game before Friday. … Diamondbacks RHP Zack Godley will start the series finale Thursday, and LHP Patrick Corbin will be pushed back one day and start Fridayat home against Philadelphia. … Joe West worked home plate as he umpired his 5,000th major league game. He joined Bill Klem (5,375) and Gerry Davis (5,163) as the only umpires to reach the 5,000-game plateau.