Diamondbacks fall to Rockies, unable to complete series sweep
PHOENIX — After taking the first two games against Colorado and clinching their first series win in 66 days, the Arizona Diamondbacks were unable to complete the series sweep as they fell to the Rockies on Thursday, 9-3.
The bullpen woes continued as Arizona’s relief pitchers couldn’t maintain a 3-2 lead through five innings.
Starting pitcher Jake Faria made his third start for the D-backs and limited the Rockies offense as he only allowed two earned runs off five hits.
“[Faria] gave us five quality innings,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “He gave up only a couple of runs and when he left the game, we were ahead. And that’s what we ask our pitchers to do.”
Faria looked comfortable early on for Arizona as he got through the first inning with ease and only allowed one walk to Rockies shortstop Trevor Story.
In the second inning, Faria had a minor hiccup as he gave up an RBI double to Rockies catcher Dom Nunez and drove in third baseman Ryan McMahon to give Colorado a 1-0 lead.
The Rockies would strike again in the fourth inning as Colorado starting pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez hit a single to right field with runners on the corners and brought home another run to make it 2-0 Colorado.
However, Arizona would answer back in the bottom half of the fourth inning.
D-backs centerfielder Stuart Fairchild grounded into a double-play, but not before All-Star third basemen Eduardo Escobar reached home plate safely to cut the Rockies lead down to one.
Faria settled down in the fifth and retired the side for Arizona. In the bottom half of the inning, Lovullo decided to take Faria out of the game and brought in pinch hitter Andrew Young, who smacked a double to center field with one out.
Arizona second basemen Josh VanMeter then hit a two-run home run to give the D-backs the 3-2 lead.
Faria ended Thursday’s contest striking out five Colorado batters. He gave up two earned runs off of five hits in five innings of work.
“The effectiveness that [Faria] had as he was approaching that pitch count. He blocked it all out and executed, and that fifth inning will stand out more to me than any other,” Lovullo said.
Jordan Weems, who was picked up by the D-backs off of waivers from Oakland, came in as relief for Arizona.
He had a shaky sixth inning, giving up an RBI single to Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon to tie the game at three apiece. With runners on the corners, Weems threw a wild pitch during the next at-bat to give the Rockies a one run lead.
Lovullo took Weems out after just one inning and brought in Riley Smith to pitch the seventh inning.
Smith didn’t have much success on the mound for Arizona as he gave up four earned runs on five hits and allowed the Rockies to extend their lead to 8-3.
“There were a lot of mistakes, misguided mistakes that were well out of the zone. So he’s fallen behind in certain counts. He had thrown more center cut balls and he got banged around a little bit,” Lovullo on Smith’s outing.
Smith settled down in the eighth as he got through the inning without a hit.
The Rockies would tack on another run in the ninth inning in the form of a Joshua Fuentes RBI single.
In the last two innings, Arizona’s bats went cold as they went a combined 0-for-6 at the plate.
“We’re gonna close out the first half here with three games in L.A. and I know our guys are going to be ready,” Lovullo said. “I think they’re going to be energized after winning a series and feeling good about themselves.”
The D-backs will travel to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers for the final series before the All-Star break.
First pitch on Friday is at 7:10 p.m. and all the action can be heard on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.