PHOENIX — The location was a perfect fit for what the Rockies did Saturday night at Chase Field.
They rose from the ashes.
Trailing 1-0 entering the ninth, and having not scored a run in 16 consecutive innings, the Rockies scored four runs with two outs off closer Mark Melancon to beat Arizona, 4-1.
In beating the D-backs, the Rockies snapped a five-game road losing skid and made sure Kyle Freeland’s excellent start wasn’t wasted.
“These are the games you have to grind out,” said Freeland, who pitched six scoreless innings. “You have to do what you can to scrape out runs, and then have our starter and our bullpen (match the opposition). Hopefully, at the end of the day, we score more runs than they do.”
C.J. Cron opened the ninth by drawing a walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Garrett Hampson. Ryan McMahon singled, but Melancon struck out Elias Diaz and got Brendan Rodgers to ground into a fielder’s choice force out.
But Yonathan Daza, who had replaced Sam Hilliard in the seventh inning, tied the game with a line-drive RBI single. Jose Iglesias put the Rockies in front with another RBI single and Connor Joe’s run-scoring single — and a subsequent throwing error by center fielder Jordan Luplow — gave Colorado its 4-1 lead.
“Basically, I tried to hit the ball up the middle,” said Daza, who’s hitting .364 (12-for-33). “That was amazing to win. It was a big-time win. Iglesias, Connor Joe and those guys came through.”
Added manager Bud Black: “We were able to put the ball in play in a couple of key spots. Daza was able to hit a solid line drive. Iglesias found a hole, groundball, that’s baseball. Connor Joe, groundball, eluded (shortstop Nick) Ahmed — baseball.
“But we made our breaks that’s part of being able to win a game like that.”
Daniel Bard closed out Arizona in the ninth for his ninth save of the season.
Considering that the Rockies were not hitting — they were held scoreless from the first inning of Friday’s 4-1 loss to Arizona until the ninth inning Saturday — it looked like a lost cause after the D-backs took a 1-0 lead in the eighth.
Luplow drew a walk from reliever Alex Colome and then swiped second base. Luplow stole third base, too, even though Diaz’s throw had him dead to rights. But McMahon’s tag missed Luplow’s hand and he was ruled safe.
Naturally, the miscue haunted the Rockies. Ketel Marte drew a walk and Christian Walker hit a double off the glove of right fielder Charlie Blackmon, who collided with the wall. Luplow scored.
But Colome coaxed Ahmed to ground into a crucial double play. Ahmed hit a hot shot to Iglesias at short, who fired home to Diaz for the first out, who then threw to C.J. Cron at first to rescue the Rockies.
“They had one out and had momentum on their side, but Alex made a pitch and we turned a double play,” Black said. “That was probably as key as anything.”
Freeland pitched like it was 2018, the season in which he posted a 2.85 ERA and finished fourth in voting for the National League Cy Young Award. He pounded the strike zone and limited Arizona to five hits while striking out five. He had all of his pitches working, but his slider was especially effective.
Freeland, who reduced his ERA to 3.94, said he feels like he’s in a good place.
“I think it’s a bit about having some age in the game and learning a lot about myself,” he said. “The momentum helps build the confidence as well. So I can use that to my advantage. I can continue to build and look forward to every five days, knowing that I’m going to be in control of the game.”
Arizona right-hander Zach Davies put up similar numbers to Freeland: 6 1/3 innings, three hits, two walks and six strikeouts.
Freeland gutted out a tense sixth inning. He struck out Cooper Hummel and induced Luplow to ground out to third. That was the easy part.
Marte singled and stole second and Freeland walked Walker. Then Freeland walked David Peralta to load the bases, even though it appeared Freeland had struck out Peralta looking. Freeland was clearly ticked off, but he got Ahmed to ground out back to the mound to keep the game scoreless.
The only inning in which the Rockies even remotely threatened Davies was the fourth. Cron drew a two-out walk and hustled to third on McMahon’s single to right. But Colorado’s rare scoring threat fizzled when Diaz flew out to left.
The Rockies will try to win the three-game series on Sunday afternoon at Chase Field.
RHP Germán Márquez (0-2 6.92 ERA) at Diamonbacks RHP Zac Gallen (1-0, 1.27)
2:10 p.m. Sunday, Chase Field
Radio: 850 AM/94.1 FM
Hard to believe, but Marquez has been the weak link in Colorado’s rotation in the early going. The right-hander, a first-time all-star last season, pitched well in his 2022 debut vs. the Dodgers but has struggled in his last four games. He’s allowed 38 hits through his first five starts, the most by a Rockies starter through their first five starts of a season since lefty Chris Rusin allowed 41 in 2016. Opponents are hitting .336 against him and his 6.92 ERA ranks as the second-highest in the majors among starting pitchers. In his last start, against Washington at Coors Field, Marquez gave up seven runs on 10 hits through 5.0 innings. In 19 career games (18 starts) against Arizona, he is 5-5 with a 3.98 ERA. In 10 games (nine starts) at Chase Field, he’s 2-2 with a 3.61 ERA, 54 strikeouts and 17 walks.
Gallen notched his first win of the season against Miami, allowing two runs on five hits over 6 1/3 innings. He fanned five. The right-hander has pitched well vs. the Rockies, going 2-1 with a 2.48 ERA in seven career starts. He’s allowed two or fewer runs in five of those seven starts. Gallen was traded from the Marlins to the D-Backs in exchange for shortstop Jazz Chisholm Jr. in a 2019 deadline deal. In a late April start, Gallen was at his best, beating the Dodgers, 3-1, at Chase Field. Gallen allowed two hits over six scoreless innings.
Trending: Right-hander Tyler Kinley’s 0.87 ERA (entering Saturday) was the lowest ERA by a Colorado reliever through 12 games to start a season since Adam Ottavino’s 0.71 mark in 2018.
At issue: Right-hander Carlos Estevez, who gave up three runs on two homers in the eighth inning of Colorado’s 4-1 loss to Arizona on Friday, has been getting rocked. Opponents are hitting .344 (11-for-32) against him, with lefties batting .316 (6-for-19) and right-handers .385 (5-for-13).
Monday: Rockies LHP Austin Gomber (2-2, 3.58) at Giants LHP Alex Wood (2-2, 4.38), 7:45 p.m, ATTRM
Tuesday: Rockies RHP Antonio Senzatela (2-1, 3.75) at Giants TBA, 7:45 p.m., ATTRM
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