Diamondbacks keep good times rolling with 14-run inning, Opening Day rout of Rockies

Mar 28, 2024, 11:57 PM | Updated: Mar 29, 2024, 7:56 am

Lourdes Gurriel Jr....

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates after hitting a home run against the Colorado Rockies at Chase Field. (Arizona Sports Photo/Felisa Cardenas)

(Arizona Sports Photo/Felisa Cardenas)

PHOENIX — Torey Lovullo has managed over 1,000 games but has never seen anything like what transpired at Chase Field on Opening Day. Eugenio Suarez has played nearly 2,000 professional games, and what the Arizona Diamondbacks accomplished in the third inning against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday night was completely new to him.

The D-backs stacked hit after hit to reach 14 runs on 13 knocks in a single inning, both franchise records.

Arizona hit around twice and won its season opener 16-1 in front of a sold-out crowd of 49,011.

How’d the Diamondbacks score 14 runs in an inning?

This was not two grand slams in an inning, Fernando Tatis-style. This was paper cuts, the reciprocal of their four-homer inning in Game 3 of the 2023 NLDS in a way.

Of the 13 hits that the D-backs rallied off, 10 were singles and three were doubles. No homers — the only one of the game was a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. two-run blast in the first inning.

The only other team in the modern era to score 14 runs in an inning with no big flys were the 1948 Athletics. Not the Oakland A’s. The Philadelphia A’s, 50 years before the D-backs played MLB games.

“It was the situational hitting, it was taking walks when you’re supposed to, it was an all-field approach,” Lovullo said. “One home run and you score that many runs in a baseball game, you’re expecting that everyone is going to have hit home runs. We had one tonight. We were a good hitting team today.”

“It’s crazy just being a part of that,” outfielder Alek Thomas said. “Pretty cool to be a part of that and watch everyone have good at-bats or have good swings and everything. We had a lot of two-strike hits. A lot of guys shortened up, guys putting good swings on balls.”

Four of the hits came after 0-2 counts, and the D-backs finished the game an astounding 12-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

Star Corbin Carroll coincidentally was the only player without a hit during the marathon, but he worked two crucial walks to keep it going. Five players had multiple hits, including Gurriel — his five RBIs on Thursday were the most by a Diamondbacks player on Opening Day.

“Everybody got on base and almost everybody got two hits. That was wild,” Suarez said.

Blaze Alexander, in his MLB debut, picked up his first big-league hit to drive in the 14th run. He mistook the count and started walking to first base on ball three, so he had to come back. Thomas cracked up on deck, but Alexander made the most of his second chance. Thomas called it a Blaze moment.

“The emotions were high,” Alexander said. “It was definitely 10 times more than I thought it was going to be just hearing the crowd. I don’t think I’ve played in front of even 20,000 people and they had 48,000. I know that was a 3-1 or whatever it was. I thought it was ball four and kind of embarrassed myself a little bit but made up for it with the RBI hit.”

When the inning ended, the fans at Chase Field gave an elongated standing ovation for the show that put the first win on the board.

Lost in all this was a winning performance from starting pitcher Zac Gallen, who started his 2024 with five innings and one earned run. It wasn’t the sharpest Gallen outing, as he threw 90 pitches and only 51 strikes, but he drew enough whiffs and weak contact to keep the scoring down.

Gallen had an unusual task of having to play catch twice, jump rope and do what he could to stay warm during a 14-run inning.

“The offense was great. My joke at one point, I was like, ‘Hey, I want to play,'” Gallen said. “Obviously, makes our job as pitchers a lot easier.”

His start and a scoreless bullpen outing were helped by a stellar effort by the defense, which is expected from a Lovullo-led squad.

Suarez — who had two hits in his D-backs debut — got up to snag a liner with two outs and save a run in the second inning. Geraldo Perdomo and Christian Walker each came up with sliding plays, and Thomas made up ground on a late jump to make a leaping grab in center field.

Even after taking a decisive lead, Arizona’s defense continued to be sharp. Lovullo said it didn’t blink.

Lovullo felt the squad was sharp in its tune-up exhibition games against the Cleveland Guardians this week, and he “couldn’t express enough” how ready they were for the season to start. There was no better indication of that than the opener, but it’s only one of 162 at the end of the day.

The follow-up is Friday night with Merrill Kelly taking the ball with Colorado right-hander Cal Quantrill on the other side. It will be ring night with a pregame ceremony at 6:10 p.m. to celebrate the 2023 NL pennant victory.

First pitch for Rockies-Diamondbacks is at 6:40 p.m. on the Arizona Sports app and 98.7 HD2. 

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Diamondbacks keep good times rolling with 14-run inning, Opening Day rout of Rockies