PHOENIX — If the Diamondbacks attempted to shake off the deflation of a horrendous Opening Day, they had about as much success early in their second outing as a furry, limbless creature trying to rid itself of a grass burr clinging to its body.
Luckily for the D-backs, snakes aren’t furry.
Starting pitcher Shelby Miller followed Zack Greinke by allowing his own three home runs and a six-run inning against the Colorado Rockies, but unlike the case for the D-backs’ ace, the run support was able to come through Tuesday.
Arizona rallied from four runs down for a 15-hit outburst in an 11-6 win.
“Sometimes you do have to play look-at-the-scoreboard and other times you don’t, so when you get down just don’t think, ‘hey you have to get four runs at once,'” Paul Goldschmidt said after accounting for four RBI, three of which came on a three-run triple in the seventh inning.
Miller lasted just six innings after allowing eight hits and six earned runs, all in the fourth inning.
“I think they were just ambushing a little,” Miller said of the Rockies. “This team hacks a lot. They have a lot of good hitters that have a lot of power. Playing at Coors (Field), they’re trying to hit the ball into the air all the time. I wouldn’t say that I pitched inside too much that (fourth) inning, just made some mistakes. But all around, you know, I felt good.”
Thankfully for Miller, the Diamondbacks put together a three-run sixth inning to chase Colorado starter Chad Bettis as Colorado held a 6-5 lead.
Arizona’s unwavering focus at the plate continued in the seventh inning as Goldschmidt and crew manufactured their own six-run frame to take an 11-6 lead.
While Arizona’s pitching through two outings has been disappointing considering all Arizona gave up this offseason to acquire Greinke and Miller — money, prospects and starting players — the offense has held up to the high expectations. The D-backs’ 27 hits set a franchise record for the most hits through the first two games, breaking the 2001 World Series-winning team’s 26 hits in its first two outings.
As for Miller, Hale liked that his starter “sucked it up” following the six-run fourth. The skipper called Miller’s sixth and final inning his best.
“The biggest thing is to just, you know, you’re losing the ballgame 6-2. For me, the biggest thing is to get in there and get as many innings as I can in, hopefully to save the bullpen,” Miller said.
The bullpen also came through, closing the game with Tyler Clippard — he earned the win — Daniel Hudson and Jake Barrett each going an inning and only allowing one combined hit.
But Tuesday was about that offense.
“I just think it’s their personality,” Hale said. “Whether we score runs or we don’t, or we come back to win or we tie it, they never stop rooting for each other, talking to each other. They just want to have productive at-bats and they want their teammates to.”
– Paul Goldschmidt’s first hit of 2016 was classic Goldy. He took a 1-2 pitch by Chad Bettis to deep center in the first inning, but the real question is why Bettis decided to throw three fastballs right down the middle of the pipe against one Paul Goldschmidt.
This dude here threw three fastballs sorta, kinda right in the middle of the zone for Goldschmidt. pic.twitter.com/IgTjrRk8H6
— Kevin Zimmerman (@KZimmermanAZ) April 6, 2016
Goldschmidt’s three-run triple gave the D-backs an 11-6 lead in the seventh inning. Additionally, he accounted for all the outs in the top of the third inning, first rushing a bunt with a runner on first to get the force out at second. Then, he fielded a hopper and made a throw to second in time to get the 3-6-3 double-play.
– Jean Segura hit a one-out home run to left field for a 2-0 Arizona lead in the bottom of the third. His two-run triple with one out in the sixth, against reliever Christian Bergman, pulled Arizona within 6-5 and followed up a Nick Ahmed RBI single. Coincidentally or not, Segura and Ahmed were No. 1 and 2 of the D-backs regulars in spring training batting average.
– Arizona tied the game in the bottom of the seventh. David Peralta doubled, Welington Castillo singled and Jake Lamb walked before Yasmany Tomas ripped shot to right field for a sac-fly that knotted the game at six runs apiece. More sharp hitting helped the D-backs add two more runs on singles by Ahmed and a pinch-hitting Chris Owings for a 8-6 lead.
– Colorado’s Trevor Story was at it again after his two home runs on Monday, drilling a solo home run to begin the top of the fourth. With two runners on and an out later, Rockies catcher Nick Hundley caught a Miller pitch and hit a three-run bomb to left field for a 4-2 Colorado lead.
– Following Hundley’s home run, Colorado’s Ben Paulsen doubled by watching his pop-up near the left field foul line land before Yasmany Tomas could cover enough ground to make an out. D.J. LeMahieu then drilled another homer off Miller for a 6-2 lead.
STAT OF THE GAME
27: The number of hits by Arizona through the first two games of 2016, a franchise record for the first two outings of a season.
HE SAID IT
“You can see it in the dugout. They know they’re good. They know they’re capable of going out there and scoring 11 runs like they did tonight.” – Shelby Miller on the mentality of the Diamondbacks’ offense
– The D-backs announced center fielder A.J. Pollock’s elbow surgery went well. He had a plate placed on the tip of his elbow after suffering an olecranon fracture. There is still no timetable for a recovery.
– The Rockies’ Story became the second player in the modern baseball era (since 1900) to recorded three homers in his first two games. He’s the first player to follow a two-homer debut with a home run since Charlie Reilly in 1889. Reilly played for the Columbus Solons.
– Peralta’s five hits through his first two games are tied for second-most in D-backs history. Gerardo Parra (2013) and Eric Byrnes (2007) reached that mark, and Steve Finley had 6 in 2000.
– Goldschmidt has reached base in 37 straight games against Colorado. One more, and he’ll have the club record against any opponent.
– Thanks to Goldschmidt and Segura’s evenings, it was the fourth time in team history the D-backs had two players record a home run and a double each.
Arizona closes its first series of 2016 with a 12:40 p.m. MST start Wednesday against the Rockies.
Patrick Corbin will take the mound for the D-backs, while right-hander Tyler Chatwood will start for Colorado. Chatwood last pitched in the majors in April of 2014 before missing all but four starts of that season and all of 2015 following Tommy John surgery.
The lefty Corbin pitched in five springs games and came away with a 1.71 ERA through 21 innings for the D-backs.