Diamondbacks start key series with win over Rockies
DENVER — Taijuan Walker struck out a career-high 10, Daniel Descalso homered and the surging Arizona Diamondbacks started a key weekend series with a 9-5 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
The Diamondbacks won their eighth straight and increased their lead to 4 1/2 games over the Rockies for the first NL wild-card spot. Milwaukee beat Washington on Friday to pull within 1 1/2 games of Colorado for the second wild card.
The Rockies fanned 12 times in losing for the third time in four games.
Walker (8-7) lasted only five innings due to a high pitch count, but he made big pitches when it counted. He struck out Carlos Gonzalez on a 77 mph curveball to end the first inning with the bases loaded and got Mark Reynolds looking with two on in the second.
Arizona scored runs in the first three innings off starter Kyle Freeland (11-9), including Walker’s RBI single to first that made it 2-0. Arizona blew it open in the seventh when Colorado committed three errors and Descalso hit a three-run homer, his ninth, off Mike Dunn to go up 9-2.
The Rockies scored twice in the sixth off reliever David Hernandez and three more times in the seventh. They stranded 12 runners.
Diamondbacks: The team released RHP Rubby De La Rosa to make room on the 40-man roster. De La Rosa underwent Tommy John Surgery on Aug. 21 after appearing in nine games this season.
Walker recorded the first eight outs by strikeout, becoming the second Diamondbacks pitcher to do it. Dan Haren got the first nine outs by strikeout against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 11, 2010.
He’s the third pitcher in Arizona history to strike out 10 in five innings or less.
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Both teams bolstered their benches with September call-ups Friday. Arizona added RHPs Silvino Bracho, Braden Shipley and J.J. Hoover, C John Ryan Murphy and OF Kristopher Negron from Triple-A Reno. The pitchers have all appeared in a game this season for the Diamondbacks, while Murphy, a veteran of two major league teams, and Negron, have not played for Arizona.
The Rockies recalled RHPs Carlos Estévez and Jeff Hoffman, LHP Zac Rosscup, INF Ryan McMahon, C Tom Murphy and OF Mike Tauchman from Triple-A Albuquerque. All six have appeared on Colorado’s roster this season.
Diamondbacks: LHP Patrick Corbin (12-11, 3.91 ERA) is 4-0 with a 0.30 ERA in his last four starts.
Rockies: RHP Jon Gray (6-3, 4.18 ERA) is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in three career starts against the Diamondbacks.