PHOENIX — So much for building off the momentum of the previous day’s starter.
Instead, Arizona Diamondbacks left-hander Robbie Ray built off the momentum of his previous start.
And that, folks, is momentum in the opposite direction.
Ray (1-1) allowed five runs in his second straight start as the Colorado Rockies homered four times to win the opener of the three-game series, 9-0, in front of an announced crowd of 23,004 on Friday at Chase Field.
The victory snapped a five-game losing streak and handed the D-backs their first shutout defeat of the season.
Ryan Raburn and Nick Hundley hit solo home runs in the fourth inning while Trevor Story and Nolan Arenado went back-to-back in the fifth.
Story’s blast was a two-run shot and his 10th of the season, tying the MLB rookie record for the month of April; half of the bombs have come against the D-backs.
Arenado also hit his 10th, sharing the major league lead with Story.
Ray, who had not allowed a home run all season, only worked four innings, coming on the heels of a three-inning performance against Pittsburgh.
Meanwhile, Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood (3-2) scattered five hits over 6.1 scoreless innings to beat the D-backs for the second time this season
The Rockies improved to 3-1 against the D-backs this season.
With his first-inning walk, Paul Goldschmidt reached base safely for a 39th consecutive game against the Rockies, setting a club record against any opponent. The previous mark of 38 games, also against the Rockies, was held by Luis Gonzalez from June 25, 2000-Sept. 21, 2002. Goldschmidt finished with a pair of walks and leads the league with 25.
Of the D-backs’ five hits, two belonged to Chris Owings, who doubled to center in each of his first two plate appearances and momentarily raised his average to .299. He flew out to center later in the seventh inning and finished 2-for-3, putting his average at .294. Over his last 11 games, Owings is batting .378 (14-for-37) with four RBI.
The bullpen trio of Jake Barrett, Randall Delgado and Enrique Burgos each pitched a scoreless inning. In fact, they were each perfect, combining to retire nine straight Rockies batters between the fifth and seventh innings. Barrett, the former Arizona State Sun Devil, recorded a pair of strikeouts and ran his scoreless streak to three innings pitched.
Though he held the Rockies scoreless a third of the way through the game, Ray needed 64 pitches to complete three shutout innings. The breakdown: 19, 16 and 29 pitches with 36 strikes and 28 balls. Keeping that pitch-count down, or at least manageable, has been something Ray has struggled with often in his year-plus in the big leagues.
Through three innings, Ray hadn’t thrown a ton of first-pitch strikes—five to 13 batters faced—but the first offering he delivered to open the fourth was lifted high into the air and into the left field seats by Raburn for a leadoff home run, his fourth of the season. Two batters later, Hundley lined an 85-mph changeup over the left field fence to make it a 2-0 Rockies lead.
Over a 10-pitch span in the fifth inning, both Story and Arenado connected on their 10th home runs of the season. Story hit a first-pitch, two-run homer to score Charlie Blackmon, who had led off the frame with a single. Then Arenado, after fouling off four straight pitches, made it back-to-back jacks into the left-field seats to extend the Rockies lead to 5-0.
Only once did a D-backs base runner reach third base, and only three times did an Arizona player make it as far as second. The team’s biggest threat to score came in the fourth inning when Goldschmidt led off with a walk and David Peralta followed with a single. Unfortunately, Yasmany Tomas grounded into a 4-3 double play and Welington Castillo struck out to end the threat.
STAT OF THE GAME
4: The Rockies hit four home runs off Ray, who hadn’t allowed a single homer all season in his first four starts.
HE SAID IT
“He threw so many pitches again. It brought back a lot of memories of last year, the amount of pitches he threw early in the game. You knew he was going to maybe get five innings at the most, six if we were lucky,” manager Chip Hale said. “They obviously like swinging the bat in this ballpark. It’s very obvious that that’s how it is, and if you don’t locate your pitches they’re going to hit them, that’s what happens with confident hitters.”
– Story’s 10 home runs in his first 21 games tied him with George Scott (1966) as the fastest players in MLB history to 10 homers.
– Brandon Drury started for the second time this season at second base. It was his third straight start at a third different position.
– Nick Ahmed was given the day off. He’s seen his average drop to .190 and appears to be “pressing a little bit,” according to Hale.
– The game was played with the roof open, allowing fans to enjoy the 80-degree temperatures and at first pitch a 15-mph wind.
– As selected by @Dbacks Twitter followers as part of #DbacksSocial Media Night, the team wore its home alternate teal uniforms.
– Among those in attendance was Arizona Senator Jeff Flake and his family; they sat row two just to the right of the D-backs dugout.
It’s Zack Greinke’s turn in the rotation, and while his numbers are still un-Greinke like, he carries a two-start winning streak into the second game of the three-game series on Saturday, April 30.
First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. MST with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Greinke (2-2, 6.16) has posted wins over the Giants and Cardinals in his past two outings, though the victory over St. Louis came despite him getting tagged for seven runs on 11 hits, including a pair of home runs, in 6.2 innings.
Greinke faced the Rockies in his D-backs debut on Opening Day and suffered the loss, allowing seven runs in just four innings of work.
Colorado hit three home runs off Greinke.
The Rockies, meanwhile, send left-hander Chris Rusin (1-0, 2.45) to the mound in what will be his first start of the season.
Rusin has pitched four times in relief, and he currently owns a 9.2 scoreless-inning streak, which is tied for the eighth-longest in the National League.
Rusin is 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA in three career starts against the D-backs, all at Chase Field.
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