DENVER | An infield hit, a bloop single, a flyball out and a long, drawn-out walk were some of the elements that combined to put an end to closer John Axford’s run of success to start his first season with the Colorado Rockies.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia drove home the tying run by drawing a walk and pinch-hitter Aaron Hill hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly to cap a three-run rally as the Arizona Diamondbacks came back to beat the Colorado Rockies 8-7 on Wednesday night in a game that began with a 46-minute rain delay.
Down 7-5 heading into the ninth, Arizona pulled within a run on Yasmany Tomas’ RBI single, his career-high fourth hit.
After a bloop single by Jake Lamb loaded the bases, Axford (1-1) fanned Chris Owings. But then in a grueling 10-pitch confrontation, Axford walked Saltalamacchia, forcing home the tying run and blowing a save for the first time in 13 chances this season.
“A big battle with Saltalamacchia there,” Axford said. “I mean, he battled off a lot of pitches. That was a hard-fought battle. I had to take a few extra deep breaths and try to gather myself. That was mentally tough, and physically tough.”
Hill, batting for reliever Daniel Hudson (2-2), then drove a fly ball to deep center, scoring Tomas from third.
“I’ve had a lot of good things happen, for me personally this year, a lot of luck,” Axford said. “Whatever I’ve had this season obviously wasn’t there tonight.
“I felt great. Obviously, I could feel when I was in the dugout a little more tired. It’s probably the most pitches I’ve thrown. But yeah, the first hit, we had a little bit of a shift on. It was just perfect placement. Another bloop, a groundball that found its way through the hole. Two walks in between that obviously aren’t going to help.”
Brad Ziegler pitched a perfect ninth for his 11th save.
Paul Goldschmidt’s two-run homer in the fifth off starter David Hale gave Arizona a 5-3 lead. It was his 20th home run of the season, giving him one more homer than he had all of last year.
“It slipped right over the middle,” Hale said. “I wanted it away and it just kind of ran back over.”
But Colorado came right back in its half of the fifth, regaining the lead with a four-run burst. The go-ahead run crossed the plate after Nick Hundley, who homered in the second, drew a bases-loaded walk off reliever Randall Delgado.
“It was awesome to see them come back and have the lead there. Unfortunately, we couldn’t hold on to it, but that happens,” Hale said.
Trailing 3-0, Arizona evened the score in the fourth inning, pulling to within a run on successive doubles off Hale by Tomas, Lamb and Owings. Nick Ahmed added an RBI single.
The Rockies jumped on Allen Webster for two unearned runs in the first, with Webster’s errant pickoff throw to first and shortstop Ahmed’s errant throw home opening the door to the runs.
Hundley drove a 1-1 offering from Webster over the center field wall in the second.
Diamondbacks: RHP Archie Bradley, one of the club’s top prospects who has been battling right shoulder tendinitis, was scheduled to make his first rehab start Tuesday night for Triple-A Reno at Tacoma. … An MRI showed no problems with Jeremy Hellickson’s lower back/left hip area and a subsequent bullpen session went well, and team officials expect he’ll make his next scheduled start on Saturday against San Diego. Last Sunday against the Padres, Hellickson was hit in the left hip area by a pitch and later tweaked his lower back swinging the bat.
Rockies: OF Carlos Gonzalez took batting practice swings in a cage, but was held out of the starting lineup for a second consecutive game because of a left hand strain. He entered as a defensive replacement in right field in the eighth inning.
Diamondbacks: RHP Rubby De La Rosa (6-3) will be making his fifth career appearance and third start against the Rockies in the series finale. He’s 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA against Colorado.
Rockies: LHP Jorge De La Rosa will face Arizona for the first time this season after going 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA in four starts against the Diamondbacks a year ago.