Diamondbacks Trounce Rockies after Record-breaking Third Inning

Ketel Marte of the Diamondbacks diving into home against the Rockies
(Photo by Zac BonDurant/Getty Images)

Diamondbacks 16, Rockies 1

PHOENIX, Mar. 28 — The Arizona Diamondbacks rode a record-breaking third inning to a 16–1 blowout victory over the visiting Colorado Rockies Thursday evening.

Rockies starting pitcher Kyle Freeland had a nightmare of an outing, allowing 10 runs on 10 hits while walking one and striking out two across 2 1/3 innings. Seven Diamondbacks reached base, six with base hits, before Freeland even recorded an out in the third. Rockies manager Bud Black said of Freeland, “I’d have to reconstruct that inning when we look at video, but it looked to be a number of fastballs and pitches up in the strike zone and not down at the knees with Kyle’s usual movement.”

Rockies – Diamondbacks Game Summary

The Diamondbacks took the lead in the bottom of the first on a two-run homer by left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Two straight doubles by the Rockies in the top of the second, the first by second baseman Brendan Rodgers and the second by third baseman Ryan McMahon, made the score 2–1. With two outs and McMahon on third, designated hitter Elehuris Montero ripped a liner headed for the left-field corner. But newly acquired Diamondbacks third baseman Eugenio Suarez leapt high in the air to rob Montero of a game-tying double and retire the side.

A Record-breaking Inning for the Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks exploded in the bottom of the third, opening the frame with seven straight hits. Shortstop Geraldo Perdomo singled to right. Second baseman Ketel Marte beat out a grounder to short. Right fielder Corbin Carroll walked, loading the bases. Gurriel singled to left. First baseman Christian Walker doubled to left-center. Catcher Gabriel Moreno singled to center, as did Suarez. That brought up designated hitter Blaze Alexander, who flied to right for the first out. Before the Diamondbacks had even recorded an out in the third, the score had swelled from 2–1 to 7–1.

And they still weren’t done. Center fielder Alek Thomas doubled to right, knocking Freeland out of the game. Perdomo, facing debutant Anthony Molina, smacked his second single of the inning, once again to right field. Marte singled to left. Carroll walked for the second straight time. Gurriel singled to center, as did Walker to left. Moreno doubled to right. Suarez, with runners on second and third, hit a sacrifice fly to center, making the score 15–1 as Walker scored and Moreno advanced to third. Alexander followed with a single, his first major league hit, to bring Moreno home and make the score 16–1. Exit stage left for Molina, bringing Jalen Beeks in for mop-up duty. Beeks mercifully ended the inning as well as the scoring for the game, retiring Thomas on a grounder back to the mound.

What Went Right for the Rockies

Ryan McMahon

McMahon was a bright spot offensively, as he batted 2-for-2 with two walks and the lone Rockies RBI. He is the 15th Rockies player to ever reach base safely four or more times in a season opener. The last was C.J. Cron, March 30, 2023, at San Diego.

Stopping the Bleeding

Relievers Jalen Beeks, Victor Vodnik, and Nick Mears combined for 5 1/3 scoreless innings to keep the Diamondbacks from running the score up even more. The trio allowed two hits and walked one while striking out seven. Mears pitched the bottom of the eighth, striking out the side on 11 pitches without allowing a baserunner.

Beeks said of his outing, “I just tried to come in and pitch, you know, throw strikes, I knew we needed some length. So, I was just trying to throw as many strikes, I could get quick outs and, you know, help the bullpen out and help the team out a little bit so that we can, you know, win tomorrow and next day. That’s the goal.”

Black said of their performances, “Beeks, Vodnik, and Mears restored order. They put up five zeros, which is what we needed. We used four relief pitchers — granted, we threw a number of pitches between Vodnik and Molina — but (the Diamondbacks) used four relievers, and we used four (although) our pitch count was a little bit up.

“One huge inning was the backbreaker, but those guys did a good job. They threw really well. I thought Mears’ stuff was great. I thought Beeks’ stuff ticked up from what we saw in spring training. And Victor, he hung in there, man. Just a long at-bat to Walker got his pitch count up. But Victor threw the ball well, too. Fastball had life. Threw some good sliders, threw some good change-ups. Was on the attack. That was a good one for Victor when it counted, because it was a rough spring, as we know.”

What Went Wrong for the Rockies

The Third Inning

Obviously, the most glaring blemish on the Rockies’ evening was the fateful third inning. In the process, they set several ignominious records.

Freeland allowed seven consecutive batters to reach base safely (hit, walk, or HBP). Only one previous Rockies pitcher ever did that in a season opener: Jason Jennings (7), April 1, 2003, at the Houston Astros. The last Rockies pitcher to do this in any game was Noah Davis (7) on June 24, 2023, against the Los Angeles Angels.

Thirteen hits is the most the Rockies have ever allowed in an inning. The previous record? Ten, which happened three times, most recently on September 17, 2023, against the San Francisco Giants.

Fourteen runs is the most the Rockies have ever allowed in an inning. It is also the most any team has ever allowed in an inning during its first game of a season. The previous record, 12, came on April 14, 1925, when the St. Louis Browns coughed up that many to the then-Cleveland Indians in the eighth inning.

Cold Bats

McMahon’s two hits were half of the Rockies’ total. The other two hits came from Brendan Rodgers (1-for-4 with a double and a run scored) and Elias Diaz (1-for-3).

Quotes

“You just got to realize every inning is important. Some are more important than others, but every inning is important for me, so I just go out there and try to get guys out.” — Jalen Beeks on his mindset when coming into a game

“That was a tough baptism for (Molina) in his very first major league outing, but everybody’s career path is different.” — Black on Anthony Molina’s tough major league debut

“(The Diamondbacks) had a lot of momentum. They kept getting hits, and balls kept going through. Balls kept dropping. A couple were looped into the outfield, but you know, that’s baseball.” — Black on the Diamondbacks’ offensive outburst in the third

Looking Ahead

Gallen (1–0) earned the win, with Freeland (0–1) taking the loss.

The Rockies and Diamondbacks will meet again Friday in the second game of their four-game series. It will be a battle of right-handers, Cal Quantrill for the Rockies and Merrill Kelly for the Diamondbacks. First pitch will be at 6:40 pm Arizona Time/7:40 pm Mountain Daylight Time.

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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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