The Diamondbacks faced off against the Colorado Rockies for game three of the Easter weekend set. Madison Bumgarner took the mound for Arizona. Kyle Freeland did so for the Rockies. It was not a particularly good outing for Bumgarner. He did manage to not walk anyone, which seems to be, in itself, a minor victory for the Diamondbacks these days. For Bumgarner, it was a game that seemed to get away from him by small degrees. After cruising through the first three innings, a single and a double by the Rockies scored a run in the fourth. The same happened again in the fifth. After five, the Diamondbacks trailed 2-0. Yet, even though the Rockies had already scored two runs on the back of those four hits, they had yet to actually square anything up. Even the doubles were a matter of the ball simply finding a hole which required Arizona’s defense to do some scrambling. Unfortunately, through the same five inning span, the Arizona offense was only able to muster a total of three walks and a single in total output.
In the sixth inning, the Rockies began to get to Bumgarner for real. The inning began with Nolan Arenado hitting a single through the 5.5 hole. That was followed up by a single to the hole in right center by Charlie Blackmon. Aggressive running by Arenado on that hit put runners on the corners with no outs for the Rockies. Yonathan Daza then hit a fly ball to medium right, more than sufficient to score Arenado from third. Ryan McMahon then clubbed a triple that banged off the wall in the right field corner, scoring Blackmon. Raimel Tapia then hit a high, towering fly to semi-deep center. With plenty of time, Starling Marte got himself into a strong position behind the play so that he could have his momentum coming home on the catch. Stepping right through the catch and firing home, Marte was able to gun down Daza at the plate in a close play to end the inning.
Tim Locastro led off the bottom of the sixth in what seems the most predictable of ways, he was hit by a pitch. He then stole second on the very next pitch. Ketel Marte drew a walk on a 3-1 pitch. Even the one strike was not a terribly good pitch, Marte’s at-bat looking a lot like a pitch around to set up a potential double play. The double play was not to be though. Eduardo Escobar was next to the plate. The Arizona third baseman smashed a hot shot back up the middle past a diving Trevor Story and into center field. The speedy Locastro scored without a throw. With runners still on first and second, Christian Walker drew a walk, his second of the day and the fifth of the day issued by Freeland. Nick Ahmed then took a page from Escobar’s book and smashed his own grounder up the middle and past a diving Story to score Marte from third. A deep fly to right by Kole Calhoun allowed Escobar to tag up and score from third. A fielder’s choice moved Walker over to third, but then Rojas popped out to end the inning. Still, the Diamondbacks put a three-spot on the board and were right back in the game.
Virtual Lovullo decided to turn to Andrew Chafin to pitch the seventh inning. Things started off nicely enough. He struck out both Tony Wolters and Freeland. Then, he went and walked Garrett Hampson. This was followed by a sharply hit single by Trevor Story, bringing up Nolan Arenado with runners at first and second and two out. With the count 1-0, Arenado got all of a poorly placed Chafin offering and sent it 447, up onto the concourse in left field. That brought an end to Chafin’s outing. Yoan Lopez was brought in to pitch. It took him only one pitch to retire Charlie Blackmon and retire the side.
In the eighth inning, the Diamondbacks attempted to mount a comeback. With two away, Nick Ahmed hit another single to center. This was followed by a walk, a passed ball, and another walk, giving Freeland seven free passes and a passed ball on the afternoon. Despite this wildness, pinch-hitter Stephen Vogt took an awkward swing at the very first pitch he saw and grounded out weakly to second base.
After getting his four outs, Lopez was relieved by Alex Young for the ninth inning. Despite a four-pitch walk to Story (who then stole second), the Rockies were kept off balance as Young picked up a strikeout and a couple of weak outs to get the Diamondbacks back into the dugout.
Carlos Estevez took the mound for the Rockies in the ninth inning. His first two batters were Starling Marte and Locastro. Both men hit hot shots through the 5.5 hole that exceeded a 105 mph exit velocity. Ketel Marte followed, striking out, but only after hitting a long, loud foul down the left field line that had plenty of distance, but just too much bend. Virtual Bud Black had seen enough. With the requisite three batters out of the way, Virtual Black made the call to the bullpen and brought in Jairo Diaz to close things out. Eduardo Escobar greeted Diaz by sending the very first pitch into the hole in left center. Aggressive base running by Escobar resulted in him sliding in safe at third with a triple. That proved key, as Diaz uncorked a wild pitch while facing Christian Walker, allowing Escobar to score. Walker then grounded out to short sharply enough that Escobar would have been forced to hold at third had he not already scored. Nick Ahmed then drew a walk before Carson Kelly grounded out to second, bringing an end to the rally and the game.
Final Score: COL 7 - AZ 6
OOTP gave player of the game honors to Kyle Freeland for managing to go a full eight innings, notching a win. Personally, I would probably have given the honor to Nolan Arenado for going 2-for-5 with a homer, two runs scored, and three RBI, including the decisive run. Still, Freeland did put in a mighty effort, using 113 pitches to wiggle his way out of trouble of his own making all afternoon.
The Diamondbacks are off tomorrow and will be travelling to Pittsburgh for a three-game series. Zac Gallen will have the start Tuesday, facing off against the Pirates’ Hector Noesi.