Grit Index: Goldschmidt’s career day fuels D-Backs to series victory
Paul Goldschmidt improved his candidacy for the National League MVP award, as he fueled the Arizona Diamondbacks to an 8-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies Sunday afternoon.
The All-Star first baseman didn’t waste time getting his team on the scoreboard, as he drove in Adam Eaton on an RBI single in the opening frame. In the third, Goldschmidt smashed a 1-1 fastball to dead center field for his 32nd home run of the season, giving Arizona a 3-0 lead. Following a rare error by shortstop Troy Tulowitzki in the fourth — which should have been an inning ending double play– Goldschmidt opened the floodgates with a two-run double. The D-backs had a 6-0 lead at the time, and they never looked back.
Matt Davidson hit his first career home run in the fifth, while Chris Owings drove in his first career RBI in the eighth for added insurance. Davidson said after the game that removing the leg kick from his swing — thanks in part to hitting coach Don Baylor — has helped him go 4-for-7 during the home stand with three extra-base hits. Manager Kirk Gibson said in his post-game conference that he’ll continue to play Davidson because he possess great power and has had success since making adjustments at the plate.
Behind a quality start from Randall Delgado and three scoreless innings of relief from the bullpen, the Rockies couldn’t muster an offensive rally. The win improved Delgado’s record to 5-6 and lowered his ERA to 3.98.
The first-year D-back only allowed three hits through the first four innings, before he made his only mistake of the afternoon to pinch-hitter Charlie Culberson in the fifth. Culberson hammered a two-run home run to left field to cut the deficit to three. Delgado would eventually get out of the inning, and pitched a scoreless sixth to complete his outing. Relievers Matt Langwell, Joe Thatcher, Will Harris, and Chaz Roe combined for three shutout innings to close the door on the game and the series.
– Paul Goldschmidt went 4-for-4, tying a career-high with five RBIs — which included a double and a monster home run to center. He sits atop the National League in OPS and RBI and trails only Pedro Alvarez in the home run category by one.
– Matt Davidson is demonstrating what all rookies need to be doing when they get called up: listen to their coaches and make adjustments. After an abysmal 2-for-19 hitting stretch over a span of eight games, Don Baylor and Kirk Gibson advised Davidson to remove the emphatic leg kick from his swing. The move seems to be paying off, as he’s making better contact at the plate and subsequently getting more playing time.
– There wasn’t much to complain about Sunday, with the exception of another home run ball allowed on a two-seam fastball by Delgado. After the game, Gibson observed that the right-hander’s high home run rate has to do with him missing his pitches over the plate, instead of locating them on the corners.
– Adam Eaton’s lackadaisical approach when fielding Charlie Blackmon’s base hit to center field in the third inning turned a single into a double. However, the runner was Blackmon was stranded on second, so ultimately no damage was done.
– D.J. LeMahieu was dealt a bad card in the seventh inning when he was sent to pinch hit in the pitcher’s slot. After flying out to center field, manager Walt Weiss kept him on the bench, ending his 14-game hitting streak.
– Sunday’s attendance of 26,845 included 252 dogs as part of Chase Field’s bring your dog to the park promotion.
HE SAID IT:
“I don’t know who’s better than him in the outfield, certainly out in the corner there.”- Kirk Gibson on Gerardo Parra.
The D-Backs will try to stall the Dodgers’ inevitable NL West title celebration for as long as possible, as Don Mattingly’s squad comes to town Monday for the first of four games. Arizona sends Trevor Cahill (6-10, 4.22 ERA) to the mound, and he’ll be opposed by Los Angeles’ Hyun-Jin Ryu (13-6, 3.07 ERA). While Ryu has tormented most of his opponents in 2013, the D-Backs have been a thorn in his side. He has a 6.55 ERA in two starts at Chase Field, surrendering 10 hits over six innings to Arizona on September 11. First pitch is set for 6:40 p.m. MDT and can be heard on Arizona Sports 620.