If I were to mention to someone that Jon Duplantier only managed to go 3 2⁄3 innings in his start and that the Diamondbacks supported him by committing not one or two, but actually three errors, and that the bullpen also allowed an additional nine hits and four runs in their 5 1⁄3 innings of work, all of this in the lofty confines of Colorado, most would be inclined to figure the Arizona Diamondbacks were blown out by the Rockies. This was anything but a typical game. The Diamondbacks, a team finding a good deal of success based almost entirely on pitching and defense, found itself to do either very well on Tuesday. On the other hand, the Arizona offense has been known to be unable to hit its way out of a wet paper bag for most of the season. Yet on Tuesday, they rapped out 13 runs on 13 hits and four walks, en route to a convincing clobbering of their division rival.
Duplantier started off with a rough first inning. Twenty pitches in, he had already surrendered a run on two doubles and a walk and had runners on the corners and was still not out of the first inning. It was a 23-pitch inning when all was said and done. From that point on though, Duplantier cruised. Whatever switch clicked once he induced a fielder’s choice out of Ryan McMahon, it was the right one.
The Diamondbacks did not respond until putting up a crooked number in the third. As fate would have it, this bit of offensive outburst may just have been what caused Duplantier a long, fruitful outing. The inning started off quiet enough. Nick Ahmed attempted to bunt for a hit but was thrown out by the catcher, Danny Butera. That brought up Duplantier. Duplantier lined a ball over the head and into the left field corner. Running hard, the Diamondbacks pitcher legged out a double. Brandon Marsh followed with a double. Duplantier, still running hard tested the arm of Peter Bourjos. Duplantier was safe at home. David Peralta followed all that by striking out. Brandon Marsh then stole second base during Ketel Marte’s at-bat. Marte eventually walked, bringing up Josh Rojas. Rojas continued to impress, stroking a triple to right, scoring Marsh and Marte. Carson Kelly then flew out to end the inning.
The top of the fourth was the end of the game - more or less. The Diamondbacks hung six runs on the embattled Colorado pitching staff. The big blow in the frame came when Josh Rojas came to the plate with two out and the bases loaded. With Wes Parsons pitching in relief, Rojas somehow managed to clear the bases with a grand slam that should never have left the park. Hitting the ball below the label, Rojas hooked the ball towards the right field corner at a leisurely 88.1 mph. The ball just scraped over the wall at the 377-foot mark and should likely have been caught by Charlie Blackmon. However, like the Diamondbacks, the Rockies weren’t playing much defense on Tuesday.
In the bottom of the fourth, Duplantier went back to the mound. He got two quick outs, but then called to the dugout. A tentative test pitch later, he was on his way to the dugout. Reports after the game are that Duplantier was experiencing some tightness in his right hamstring after having run the bases hard in the third and again in an extended fourth inning. Junior Guerra came in to relieve Duplantier. From this point on, it was a bullpen game for both teams. Neither bullpen seemed entirely interested in recording outs. New Diamondback, Braxton Garrett did not have an encouraging outing, giving up three runs in only 1 1⁄3 innings. Andrew Chafin needed to be called upon to stop the bleeding and close out the game for the Arizona.
Final Score: AZ 13 - COL 5
The player of the game was Josh Rojas. Rojas had himself a banner day. With a triple and a grand slam home run, Rojas pushed across six runners, enough to beat the Rockies, even without the other seven runs of support.
The same two teams will play the rubber game of the series in Colorado tomorrow.