PHOENIX | Pavin Smith started this season in Triple-A. Drey Jameson spent a stretch down in Reno, too.
The Arizona Diamondbacks’ rapid improvement into one of the better teams in the National League has created competition to stay on the team’s big league roster. Now that Smith and Jameson are back in the majors, they’re playing like guys who intend to stay there.
Smith hit a go-ahead, three-run homer, Jameson threw 3 2/3 innings of impressive relief in his return to Arizona and the Diamondbacks rallied for a 7-5 win over the Colorado Rockies on Monday.
“It just shows you nothing’s guaranteed,” Jameson said of his two-week demotion to Triple-A. “You’ve got to make pitches, you’ve got to get outs and you’ve got to win ballgames to stay up here. That’s what I’m here to do.”
The Diamondbacks stormed back from an early 4-0 deficit with a five-run second inning, punctuated by Smith’s three-run homer to right-center that made it 5-4. Jake McCarthy had a two-run single earlier in the rally.
A third of the way through the season, the D-backs are on a 93-win pace. Two years ago, they finished with a 52-110 record.
Colorado’s Ryan McMahon homered in his fourth consecutive game, hitting a 445-foot drive that cleared the center-field wall for a 1-0 lead in the first. McMahon had four hits and finished a double short of the cycle. He went deep in all three games of the team’s previous series against the New York Mets.
The Rockies scored three more in the second on Ezequiel Tovar’s two-run double and McMahon’s RBI single.
But the D-backs roughed up Rockies starter Karl Kauffmann (0-3), who was making his third major league start. The right-hander gave up seven runs on nine hits and two walks over four innings, striking out just one. He was optioned to Triple-A following the game.
Arizona stretched its advantage to 7-4 on Gabriel Moreno’s sacrifice fly in the third and Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s solo homer in the fourth.
“We tacked on some runs just by being good hitters,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “Just a lot of little things took place today that allowed us to win this game.”
The Rockies cut that margin to 7-5 on McMahon’s RBI triple and loaded the bases in the seventh, but Jameson struck out Harold Castro to end the threat. Jameson also wiggled out of a jam in the eighth, getting slugger Kris Bryant to pop out to second for the third out with runners on first and second.
Arizona starter Ryne Nelson (2-2) pitched decently after his rocky first two frames. He gave up five runs on eight hits and three walks over five innings, striking out one.
Jameson gave up a two-out single in the ninth, so Lovullo turned to lefty Andrew Chafin for the final out. He struck out Elehuris Montero to earn his eighth save in 10 chances.
The Rockies lost despite getting 13 hits. Arizona had 11.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT DREY
Jameson was brought back to the big leagues on Saturday after his stint at Triple-A Reno.
The hard-throwing right-hander has a vicious slider that’s made him one of the organization’s top prospects. He had a terrific cameo as a starter with the Diamondbacks late in 2022, compiling a 1.48 ERA over 24 1/3 innings.
He’s bounced between the bullpen and rotation this season, struggling as a starter before getting demoted to Triple-A on April 24. After a few good weeks with Reno, he was called back up and is in the bullpen for now.
He struck out six in Monday’s outing.
“Drey was a major reason we won the game,” Lovullo said. “The ability to spin the breaking ball, the consistency of all of his pitches, the changeup I thought had really good arm speed. When all his pitches are working and he’s using them, he’s a very tough at-bat. That’s what we saw today.”
Rockies: OF Charlie Blackmon was placed on the bereavement list. Montero was called up from Triple-A. … LHP Ryan Rolison was reinstated from the 60-day injured list and sent to Triple-A.
Diamondbacks: Reinstated OF Kristian Robinson from the injured list and sent him to Class A. To make room on the 40-man roster, the team designated RHP Peter Solomon for assignment. Robinson has been dealing with legal issues over the past three years, stemming from his arrest in 2020.
The four-game series continues Tuesday night. The D-backs send RHP Zac Gallen (6-2, 2.97 ERA) to the mound while the Rockies counter with LHP Kyle Freeland (4-5, 3.86).