PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks lost the first two games and saw their NL wild card lead dwindle to three games.
The slipup could have made the Diamondbacks tense, led to their cushion becoming even smaller.
Instead, Arizona went got back to its good-pitching, big-hitting ways for two decisive victories and a larger wild-card lead.
A.J. Pollock had four RBIs for the second straight day, J.D. Martinez homered for the 10th time in 11 games and the Diamondbacks extended their NL wild-card lead to five games with a 7-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.
“After the first two games, we could have flat-lined, we could have caved, but these guys don’t do that type of stuff,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “They went out there and executed yesterday. They executed today.”
Zack Godley (8-7) pitched eight sharp innings as Arizona opened a comfortable edge over Colorado for the top wild-card spot with 15 games left. The Rockies lead Milwaukee and St. Louis by 2 1/2 games for the final wild-card slot.
“We’re frustrated because we won six in a row on this trip, and you’d like to really finish it off with a bang,” Rockies manager Bud Black said.
Pollock drove in four runs in an 8-2 win over the Rockies on Wednesday and he added three more with a double in Arizona’s five-run first inning against Chad Bettis (1-3). He had a run-scoring single in the fifth to become the sixth Arizona player to have at least four RBIs in consecutive games.
Martinez has provided Arizona with a huge boost in its push toward the playoffs since being traded from Detroit on July 18. He has provided extra protection for NL MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt and has been on a tear recently, going 23 for 51 the past 11 games.
Martinez hit a solo homer off Chris Rusin in the third inning, his career-high 39th and reached base safely for the 18th straight game. He has 23 homers in the second half of the season and 10 in September, both team records.
“There have been some marquee pickups and this has been a pretty impressive one,” Lovullo said. “He set a franchise record for home runs in the second half and he hasn’t even been here the whole second half. That just speaks volumes to what he’s done.”
Godley benefited from the early lead and three double plays turned behind him in his career-longest outing. The right-hander struck out seven and allowed five hits.
In his previous start, Bettis earned his first win since returning from testicular cancer, allowing four runs in five innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The right-hander struggled from the start against the Diamondbacks, giving up five runs, three hits and walking two while getting just one out.
“Those are tough days. It was really bad,” Bettis said. “I think nibbling got the best of me.”
Godley always runs off the field at the end of inning, but was also quick to put on his helmet after finishing off the eighth. Due up second, he wanted a chance to hit and get the complete game, so he tried hurrying past Lovullo.
“I was trying to grab my helmet and my stuff and get to the on-deck circle before he could see me, and he’d be just like: `All right, he’s going to go,'” Godley said. “He caught me before I could even get to the steps.”
With 103 pitches, Lovullo said there was about a 1 percent chance he would have sent Godley out for the ninth.
Colorado’s DJ LeMahieu went 0 for 3 to end his streak of reaching base safely at 25 straight games. … Martinez was the last player with consecutive four-RBI games, knocking in 10 runs Sept. 2-4. … The Rockies allowed five runs in the first inning for the first time since April 20, 2015, against San Diego and first time on the road since Sept. 23, 2011, at Houston.
Rockies: RHP Tyler Chatwood (7-12) is 1-2 with a 4.82 ERA in three starts against San Diego headed into Friday’s start against the Padres.
Diamondbacks: LHP Robbie Ray (13-5) has been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past month, entering Friday’s game against San Francisco 4-0 with a 1.42 ERA and 45 strikeouts his past four starts.
By JOHN MARSHALL, AP Sports Writer
(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)