D-backs’ lineup, Drey Jameson come through in victory over Rockies
May 29, 2023, 5:42 PM | Updated: 5:49 pm
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks evaporated a 4-0 hole with five runs in the second inning and never relinquished the lead on Monday against the Colorado Rockies.
Pavin Smith — Arizona’s lead-off hitter — capped the barrage with a two-out, three-run jack to center field, and the D-backs opened the four-game set at Chase Field with a win, 7-5.
“We’ve just had that this whole year,” Smith said postgame on the ability to erase deficits. “Because we’ve done it in the past. We can build on that and it gives us confidence to be able to do that.”
Pavin Smith – Arizona Diamondbacks (5) pic.twitter.com/gaueV5Crlr
— MLB HR Videos (@MLBHRVideos) May 29, 2023
Arizona starter Ryne Nelson found trouble early, surrendering a solo shot to Rockies third baseman Ryan McMahon in the first followed by three runs on four hits in the second.
From there, Nelson gutted through three more innings, allowing one more run while stranding a runner on third with no outs in the fifth.
Manager Torey Lovullo turned to Drey Jameson, who returned to Arizona on Saturday after he was previously optioned to Triple-A Reno on April 24.
Jameson, who Lovullo said would be back in a bullpen role for now, bridged the gap with 3.2 scoreless frames before Andrew Chafin entered to record the final out.
“You’ve got to make pitches, and you’ve got to get outs and you’ve got to win ballgames to stay up here, and that’s what I’m here to do,” Jameson said postgame.
“He let us settle the game down, I felt like the momentum got more to a neutral state, and it was just obviously a really good outing for his first one,” Lovullo added. “He took a lot of pressure off the bullpen today.”
Drey Jameson, Wicked Sliders. 🤢 pic.twitter.com/wfa2szNrQc
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 29, 2023
Jameson threw 59 pitches (44 strikes), so the D-backs will use their computer model, advice from the medical staff and pitching coach Brent Strom to determine when he’ll be available again.
The rookie struck out six batters on Monday, saying his slider felt “really good.”
His slider produced 11 whiffs and only four balls in play on 18 pitches. Lovullo credited all of his pitches being effective, including a changeup Jameson noted he worked to improve in Reno.
“When all of his pitches are working and he’s using them, he’s a very tough at-bat,” Lovullo said. “That’s what we saw today.”
He was awarded this D-backs vest for his efforts:
Victory Vest? Here for it. pic.twitter.com/dPIpkthHQs
— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) May 29, 2023
He did not know what it was when asked about it postgame. Perhaps the D-backs have a new victory tradition?
Jameson came out because Lovullo saw a matchup he favored with Chafin against Rockies right-handed pinch hitter Elehuris Montero, who struck out to end the game.
Monday’s game started with a scoring frenzy, but neither team put up a run after the fifth inning.
Arizona’s offense began with a Christian Walker single in the second, followed by an Emmanuel Rivera knock and Josh Rojas walk against Rockies starter Karl Kauffmann.
With one out Jake McCarthy put a short swing on an outside sinker, poking it past the diving McMahon into left for a two-run single.
McCarthy went 2-for-3 with a walk on Monday.
He and Rojas executed a double steal, but Geraldo Perdomo popped up for the second out. Smith then jumped on a first-pitch sinker up in the zone, shooting it out 426 feet.
The blast vindicated Lovullo for the day, as he commented pregame that he believed in Smith’s approach and felt the results would come despite his .512 OPS in May.
“I’m asking a lot of him, he’s leading off against right-handed pitching and that’s more product of him just being able to see balls and strikes, get good pitches to hit and find himself getting on base,” Lovullo said.
“It hasn’t happened the way we know it can. But he’s in a good spot. I think the process is right, and it’s gonna probably start to translate.”
Arizona tacked on a run in each of the next two innings. Gabriel Moreno hit a sacrifice fly to score Rivera in the third, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. shot a solo home run to left in the fourth.
Gurriel has eight home runs in May, and his OPS jumped to .935 with a pair of hits on Monday.
Home run No. 8 in May for Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #Dbacks
— Alex Weiner (@alexjweiner) May 29, 2023
He entered the game second in MLB in slugging this month at .747, only trailing reigning American League MVP Aaron Judge at .803.
The D-backs will send Zac Gallen to the mound on Tuesday against Colorado’s Kyle Freeland.
Arizona scored three runs in six innings against Freeland on April 28 at Coors Field in a 9-1 win.
First pitch is at 6:40 p.m. on 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and ArizonaSports.com.