clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

D-Backs 9, Rockies 7: A Crazy Series Win in the Rocky Mountain Heat

TL;DR: The offense soared, the pitching struggled, and the D-Backs outlasted the Rockies

Arizona Diamondbacks v Colorado Rockies
Christian Walker had himself a day in Denver
Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Some late-night heroics by the D-Backs last night - with some iffy pitching from newly-acquired closer Paul Sewald notwithstanding - put them into position to win consecutive series for the first time since late June when they took series against Cleveland and Milwaukee respectively. You can read all of the lovely totals from last night here in case you have been feeling particularly dispirited by the team’s recent struggles and didn’t feel like watching. The two teams continued what was a back-and-forth series with a topsy turvy series finale that included five lead changes and more baserunners than you can shake a stick at. In short, it was a classic Coors Field game where you can never have enough offense or enough runs to make a fanbase feel comfortable.

Slade Cecconi, making just his second career major league start, got the tough assignment to begin the crucial rubber game. While he wasn’t able to provide much length, he made up for it by being one of the more effective Arizona pitchers of the day. The offenses wasted no time starting the day as the D-Backs parlayed a double and a homer from Kyle Lewis and Christian Walker respectively to a 2-0 lead in the visitor’s half of the first while the Rockies answered with a solo shot from Ryan McMahon to put the Rockies on the scoreboard 2-1. An excellent throwdown from Jose Herrera that nabbed Ezequiel Tovar was the the only reason McMahon didn’t tie the score:

After those early fireworks, the two teams traded scoreboard zeroes for the next three and a half innings as the D-Backs hit into two double plays including this nifty one from Brendan Rogers. There was no lacking in baserunners either in that period as the two teams combined for seven baserunners - and one near baserunner after this non-reversed foul ball call that the Rockies challenged and lost. Cecconi opened the bottom half of the fifth by plunking Tovar, which ended his outing but not his responsibility as Tovar would eventually score off a combined Jurickson Profar double and McMahon single as Tyler Gilbert entered in relief to knot the score at 2-2. It was a particularly sloppy inning defensively for the D-Backs as Corbin Carroll failed to corral Profar’s double and Ketel Marte was unable to complete a double play, which allowed Profar to score from third for the Rockies’ third run and move the score to 3-2. The play was unsuccessfully challenged by Torey Lovullo who would come to regret the decision later in the game.

Fortunately, the D-Backs had on their Answerbacks hats on today as they took advantage of three walks and a single to plate the tying run 3-3 including an RBI walk from Buddy Kennedy that chased Austin Gomber from the game. They weren’t finished either as Nick Ahmed greeted Jake Bird by uncorking on the very first pitch he saw that caromed high off the outfield fence away from both outfielders. Ahmed thought he had a chance for a little league grand slam, but an excellent relay just beat his slide at home, but the damage was already done. You would be forgiven if you were feeling somewhat comfortable in the lead, but you would be wrong.

Torey called on Miguel Castro to open the bottom half of the sixth who struggled by allowing an infield single to Brendon Doyle and a bloop single to Tovar, but responded with a strikeout and flyout. Frustratingly, Castro could not quite escape from his own jam as Brendan Rogers lined a ball into the left field corner that scored two and Nolan Jones followed with a two-run homer to give the Rockies a 6-7 lead. The bats would again go “quiet” in the seventh, but the D-Backs would pop off in their half of the eighth as Walker shot his second homer of the game and 28th of the year that gave the D-Backs the lead 8-7 after a Pham single led off the inning. Carroll would single then steal both second and third, but because of the misguided (in hindsight) challenge on the attempted Ahmed inside-the-park home run, the on-field call could not be overturned.

Fittingly, the Arizona offense had one last charge in them as they pounced on an erratic Daniel Bard who loaded the bases courtesy of a plunked Alek Thomas and walks from Herrera and Lewis. Pham managed to poke a pitch just deep enough to left to score Thomas on a sacrifice to provide the final score 9-7, but failed to find the knockout punch they needed to make us feel more comfortable. Paul Sewald entered in the ninth looking for redemption and begrudgingly earned it as he allowed just a Charlie Blackmon single in a scoreless inning to secure the win.

Overall, the Diamondbacks required the services of seven pitchers who delivered 192 pitches for just the fourth time this season (per Baseball Reference and editor extrordinaire Jim McLennan). While the playoffs may still be a pipe dream, it was encouraging to see signs of life from the offense and a return to a style of play that served them so well in the early parts of the season. There are plenty of areas for improvement however, especially on defense as they nearly allowed the Rockies to vault themselves back into the game in multiple situations.

This chart has Colorado levels of elevation change