Rockies Avoid Sweep with Rout of Diamondbacks

Dinger waves a victory flag after the Rockies defeated the Diamondbacks, 12–4.
(Photo by Evan Thompson/Sport Relay)

Rockies 12, Diamondbacks 4

DENVER, Apr. 30 — C.J. Cron went 3-for-5 with a double, a homer, and four RBI while Harold Castro went 3-for-4 with two RBI to pace the Colorado Rockies to a 12–4 blowout victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday afternoon at Coors Field. Charlie Blackmon went 2-for-3, Randal Grichuk went 2-for-4, and Ezequiel Tovar also went 2-for-4 to help the Rockies prevent the sweep.

“It was a clunker,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “We’ve got to throw it out. But first of all, there are no throw-away games.” Lovullo added that he doesn’t “want anybody to think that because we won the first two that we were half-stepping it out there. I won’t let that happen. We’ve got to find a way to win games like this and close out a series.”

Rockies Score Early and Often, Overcome Narrow Diamondbacks Lead

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The scoring began in the top of the second on a tape-measure homer to left-center by Diamondbacks third baseman Evan Longoria off Rockies left-hander Austin Gomber. Rockies first baseman Cron led off the bottom half with a double to the right-field corner off Diamondbacks starter Ryne Nelson. He advanced to third on a single to center by Elias Diaz. Designated hitter Mike Moustakas, up next, took a thigh-high 2–2 fastball over the outer half of the plate. But plate umpire Paul Emmel called it ball three, giving Moustakas a lifeline. On the next pitch, Moustakas hit a tapper in front of the plate. By the time a hustling Nelson reached it, his only play was to first, where he retired Moustakas by a step. Cron scored on the play, tying the score at 1–1.

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The Rockies took the lead in the bottom of the third. A one-out walk by designated hitter Blackmon got the ball rolling. He advanced to second when left fielder Jurickson Profar dumped a single to right-center. Third baseman Ryan McMahon struck out, bringing up Cron with two out. Nelson hung a cutter on the first pitch. Cron blasted it 112.5 mph toward left-center. It settled into the stands for a 424-foot three-run homer, giving the Rockies a 4–1 lead. Diaz kept the rally going with a ground-ball double to the left-field corner. He scored when Moustakas bounced a single through the hole on the left side. When center fielder Grichuk bounced into a 6–4 force play, the inning ended with the Rockies holding a 5–1 lead.

The Middle Innings

It became a 6–1 game in the bottom of the fourth. Second baseman Harold Castro led off with a single to right and advanced to third on a follow-up single by shortstop Ezequiel Tovar. Blackmon plated Castro with a sacrifice fly to right. Despite Tovar advancing to second on a wild pitch and to third on a grounder to second by Profar, Nelson left him stranded, as McMahon ended the inning with a grounder to the mound.

More Rockies scoring came in the bottom of the sixth, turning the game into a rout. Grichuk, Castro, and Tovar led off with consecutive doubles, making the score 8–1. Tovar advanced to third on a fly to center by Blackmon and, after Profar walked, scored on a groundout. The ball deflected off pitcher Peter Solomon, who took the mound in the fifth. By the time Solomon corralled the grounder, his only play was to first, so Profar advanced to second. A Cron single brought Profar home, extending the lead to 10–1.

Dominic Fletcher Makes Major League Debut for Diamondbacks

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The seventh inning saw the score reach 12–1. A Moustakas walk, a Grichuk double, and a Castro infield single led to the first run of the inning. Blackmon scored Grichuk with the second run on a double to right. The Diamondbacks cut into the lead in the top of the eighth. With one out, outfielder Dominic Fletcher — in his first major league at-bat — doubled to center. He scored when Rivera doubled on a fly ball that landed a foot fair in medium left. Gurriel drove Rivera in with a double of his own. The rally fizzled when designated hitter Christian Walker struck out looking and second baseman Geraldo Perdomo flied to center.

“You get to make all your first phone calls after the game,” Lovullo said about Fletcher getting his first major league hit in his very first game. “Excitement is still going to be there for him. He’s going to be spending his second and third day in the big leagues (Tuesday and Wednesday), but he gets to tell everybody he got a base hit. It’s a big relief. He deserved it. It’s a great moment for us. We got to celebrate with him in the dugout on a pretty cruddy day.”

The top of the ninth saw the Diamondbacks cut further into the lead, although it was too little, too late. Nick Mears, called up before Sunday’s game, took the hill in mop-up duty. Shortstop Nick Ahmed drew a one-out walk and took second on defensive indifference. After Moreno struck out, Thomas lined a single to center. He also took second on defensive indifference. Fletcher hit a grounder up the middle that had a chance to get through, but a diving stop and strong throw to first by Tovar gave the Rockies their 12–4 victory.

The Pitching

Lovullo said that what made Gomber tough for the Diamondbacks was “a fastball in combination with a backdoor breaking ball.” In addition, Gomber used an “occasional” change-up and was “working the edge of the plate.” Lovullo commented on the performance, “When a pitcher gets locked in — and I know that he’s been throwing the ball well — they start to hit lines, the edges. And he did that today.”

After the Moustakas at-bat in the first inning, Lovullo talked to Nelson. He told the young hurler, “I’m proud of you for fighting through that, because I know it was a strike. I think everybody else knows it was a strike, and it only led to one run. Maturity led to that moment where you gave up only one run. I’ve seen it be worse.”

Lovullo did not blame the umpires for the loss. “They give their best effort,” he said. “Sometimes they don’t get it right. But they’re out there trying to do their best.”

Nelson felt he “made some improvements that the box score doesn’t always show.” He felt he was attacking guys and getting ahead but they “put some good swings on the ball when they were behind in the count.” On the Cron home run, Nelson said, “I left a slider up to Cron that went over the fence. Sometimes we make mistakes and they get punished, and (that) can take away from stuff that you did well. I’ve been working, trying to make adjustments, and I think a lot of that did show today. But at the end of the day, you have to keep runs off the board, and I didn’t do that.”

Looking Ahead

Gomber (2–4) earned the win, while Nelson (1–2) took the loss. The Diamondbacks (16–13, first in NL West) head to Arlington, Texas for a two-game set with the AL West-leading Texas Rangers Tuesday and Wednesday, while the Rockies (9–20, fifth in NL West) host a three-game home series with the Milwaukee Brewers from Tuesday to Thursday. Diamondbacks righty Zac Gallen (4–1, 2.15 ERA) will take the hill Tuesday against veteran Rangers right-hander Jon Gray (1–1, 3.91 ERA). First pitch will be at 7:05 pm Central/5:05 pm Arizona Time. Freddy Peralta (3–2, 3.77 ERA) will start Tuesday night for the Brewers, while the Rockies have yet to name their starter. First pitch will be at 6:40 pm Mountain Daylight Time.

Main Photo Credits:

DENVER (Apr. 30) — Dinger, the Colorado Rockies mascot, waves a flag to celebrate his team’s 12–4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday afternoon at Coors Field. (Photo by Evan Thompson/Sport Relay)

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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