PHOENIX — A seemingly triumphant victory for the Arizona Diamondbacks headed by a gem start from Zach Davies crashed with two outs in top of the ninth inning.
The Colorado Rockies scored four runs off closer Mark Melancon while down to their final out to swipe a 4-1 win at Chase Field on Saturday night.
“We grind through the day and put ourselves in a position to win the game, we just didn’t execute well enough in the ninth,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “One out away with your closer on the on the mound, I’ll take those odds.”
The game developed as a pitcher’s duel with Davies and Kyle Freeland tossing six scoreless frames.
The only runner to reach scoring position in the first three innings did so via an error by Colorado shortstop Jose Iglesias.
Something eventually had to give, and it did in the eighth inning.
D-backs first baseman Christian Walker stepped up with one out and runners on the corners following a pair of walks by Colorado reliever Alex Colome.
Walker belted a fastball to deep right field, just over the glove of leaping outfielder Charlie Blackmon and off the wall.
MORE LATE GAME MAGIC. pic.twitter.com/ryDS6Cv3vi
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) May 8, 2022
Arizona center fielder Jordan Luplow — who stole two bases during the inning — scored with ease and second baseman Ketel Marte held up at third.
The D-backs were held to one run, though, as shortstop Nick Ahmed grounded into a 6-2-3 double play with the bases loaded after an intentional walk to left fielder David Peralta. Ahmed went 0-for-4 with runners on base Saturday.
Not scratching across insurance runs proved costly as Colorado collected five singles in the ninth inning, three with two outs.
Rockies outfielder Yonathan Daza poked the game-tying RBI single to center on a knuckle curve, and Iglesias drove in the go-ahead score with a single to left on a pitch well below the knees.
“We didn’t execute in a couple of key areas and I felt like we could have put ourselves in a better position, but the bottom line is we didn’t win the game,” Lovullo said. “We played well enough to win, but I think we could have done more to make it a little bit easier on ourselves.”
Davies did all he could allowing only six base runners in 6.1 innings, one of which came on an error.
His change-up continued to evade hitters as he finished off six batters on strikes using the pitch, including center fielder Randal Grichuk three times.
His final line was 6.1 frames, no earned runs, six punch outs, three hits and a pair of walks.
“The command was there and not allowing them to put good swings on it,” Davies said postgame. “That’s my style of pitching. I’m not a guy that’s gonna strike out a lot of guys but wants to have them off balance and have them (hit) weak ground balls, jam shots. Those are the kind of things that I’m looking for.”
Zach Davies picking up where Merrill Kelly left off.
Five Ks through six innings so far pic.twitter.com/3XX7GeGOdy
— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) May 8, 2022
The 29-year-old has thrown 14.1 straight innings without allowing an earned run, adding to the D-backs’ vaunted starting rotation which entered Saturday with the second-best ERA in MLB at 2.44.
Freeland made more stressful pitches at the end of his outing than Davies, but he successfully stranded runners on the corners in the fifth inning and the bases loaded in the sixth.
The lefty punched out five batters in his first scoreless start of the season, while the D-backs went 1-for-8 with runners on base against him.
WALKER FINDING HOLES
Walker went 2-for-3 with a walk on Saturday, his second multi-hit game of the year.
The veteran entered the matchup in the sixth percentile of the league in barrel percentage, per Statcast, but was struggling to find holes with a .154 batting average.
Hitting coach Joe Mather said pregame the message to Walker is to simply keep going.
“That’s a tough message to keep saying, but he’s hitting a lot of balls really hard,” Mather said. “His expected numbers are way higher than his actual ones. He’s just gotta stay the course.”
D-backs catcher Carson Kelly was scratch from the lineup on Friday with left abdominal tightness. He did not play again Saturday, and Lovullo told reporters that Kelly has a Grade 1 left oblique strain.
An update on how the team handles this will come on Sunday.
The loss snapped a four-game win streak from the D-backs and sent them back to .500 at 14-14.
The rubber match is set for Sunday at 1:10 p.m. with Zac Gallen on the hill for Arizona. You can tune in on ESPN 620 AM or 98.7 FM HD-2.