Diamondbacks’ offense sparks early lead in win over Rockies
Kole Calhoun set the tone for the Arizona Diamondbacks on the first pitch of the game Monday night.
Needing just one pitch to kick things off, the outfielder took advantage of the thin Colorado air, punishing opposing starting pitcher Jon Gray with a solo shot into the stands in the team’s 12-8 win over the Rockies.
“I was just trying to treat it like any other at-bat and try to get a pitch to hit,” Calhoun said after the victory. “I got a pitch I liked, put a good swing on it and started the game off on the right foot for us.”
Following Calhoun’s lead, the D-backs continued their aggressive approach from the plate.
Second baseman Ketel Marte — batting in the No. 2 spot in the lineup — continued to put the pressure on Gray early, adding to the hurler’s pitch count before roping a double into left field. A Starling Marte flyout moved Ketel Marte to third.
Then up came Christian Walker.
Looking at two outs with a runner in scoring position, the first baseman added to his hit totals for the year, recording a double off of an 86-mph slider.
The first inning double marked Walker’s eighth double of the season, a team high.
“It was a good game offensively, we came out and swung the bats extremely well,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said after the game. “I think Kole leading off the game with solo home run really set an aggressive tone for us. And we just followed it up with quality approaches.”
The hot bats proceeded to sizzle in the third inning.
Following an RBI single from Peralta to extend the team’s lead to 3-1, Walker got his shot again at adding to the scoreboard.
Staring at an 0-2 count, Walker put the third pitch of the at-bat in play, scoring Starling Marte off an RBI single.
Catcher Stephen Vogt made it 5-1 after bringing Peralta home on a groundout.
And while the D-backs’ offense had little trouble in the runs department, the Rockies didn’t do themselves any favors in the fourth inning.
After Starling Marte scored shortstop Nick Ahmed on a groundout, Peralta stepped up into the batter’s box with one out and two on, meaning a ball in the outfield would give the Freight Train the pay off he was looking for.
Peralta did just that, hitting a short single, which forced Rockies outfielder David Dahl to overrun the blooper. Dahl was unable to recover, resulting in not one, but two D-backs runs due to the combination of Peralta’s single and the error.
Peralta’s fourth-inning hit gave the outfielder his 11th RBI of the season, tying Calhoun for the team high. The duo’s followed closely by Walker, who sits at 10 RBIs.
But even with the barrage from the D-backs’ bats, the Rockies hung around for most of the night. Scoring in four of the first five frames, Colorado nearly followed suit with Robbie Ray on the mound to start the game.
The D-backs’ pitcher allowed a home run to the second batter of the night, before giving up five more in the second and third innings. All told, Ray went 3.2 innings, giving up seven hits, six earned runs, and three walks. He also struck out six. Reliever Alex Young recorded the Rockies’ only other run in 2.0 innings of work.
“I thought Robbie at times was aggressive and throwing some quality pitches, but he ran up his pitch-count into the mid-80s [over] 3.2 [innings],” Lovullo said. “I tack on extra pitches when we come up to this altitude, I’m very careful with that. I wish it was a different outcome, but we turned it over to the bullpen and I thought they did a really nice job with the back half.”
Luckily for the D-backs, Calhoun provided the bookends of the evening.
With just a one-run lead and two men on in the seventh inning, Calhoun turned on the sixth offering of his plate appearance, sending a hard-hit ball over the heads of the Rockies outfielders and off the left field wall. Ahmed and outfielder Jon Jay had little trouble crossing the plate, giving the team its 10th and 11th runs of the evening.
Ketel Marte added an insurance run for good measure in the ninth inning thanks to an RBI single.
“This is a great place to hit, I think that’s no secret,” Calhoun said. “20 runs put up by both teams, it feels like it’s going to be a slugfest no matter what.
“No score’s safe, so it’s nice to see the guys just keep swinging it and putting up crooked numbers. It’s definitely nice as a team for everybody to get a little bit of confidence in the box.”
The 12 runs scored Monday night marked the second-most runs scored in a single game this season by the team. The D-backs’ season high sits at 14 in Arizona’s win over the Houston Astros.
“There’s a lot of little things that happened inside of our game offensively that I can’t quite add up right now,” Lovullo said. “I’m very pleased with our overall approach today.”
– The D-backs set a new season high in hits, putting up 18 on the Rockies.
– Peralta and Ketel Marte led all Arizona batters with four hits each, while Calhoun paced the team in RBIs (3).
– Calhoun leads all D-backs with four home runs.
– Closer Archie Bradley earned a save on his birthday, becoming the first D-back to do so in franchise history.