DENVER | The Arizona Diamondbacks preserved their bullpen. Their psyche might have taken a big hit, however.
Arizona’s Coors Field dominance ended in a blast of offense by the Colorado Rockies. Carlos Gonzalez hit two homers, starter German Marquez also went deep for one of Colorado’s five home runs as the Rockies routed Arizona 19-2 on Wednesday night.
Gonzalez drove in six runs to help the Rockies end a nine-game home losing streak against the Diamondbacks. They scored 12 runs in the first three innings and only a couple of Arizona position players taking the mound settled things down.
“We’ve had trouble against this team, we all know it, so today was good,” Nolan Arenado said.
Arizona starter Shelby Miller (0-4) allowed five runs before leaving after the first with right elbow tightness. Miller was making his fourth start since returning from Tommy John surgery and was headed back to Phoenix on Wednesday night to be evaluated, manager Torey Lovullo said.
“He definitely didn’t seem himself,” said Alex Avila, who started at catcher and finished the game on the mound. “He was kind of struggling to command really anything, noticing him grimacing on occasion when he’d throw a pitch. Obviously there was something wrong there.”
With the game out of hand, the Diamondbacks turned to second baseman Daniel Descalso and Avila to pitch. Descalso tossed 2 2/3 innings in his fifth relief appearance. Avila threw two scoreless innings in his first time pitching since college.
“It’s like riding bike,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to do anything special, just made sure I tried to throw strikes and that’s really it.”
Colorado scored seven runs off Jorge De La Rosa and four more off Yoshihisa Hirano to bring on Descalso in the fourth. He had retired the first nine batters he faced his career but Arenado greeted him with an RBI single and Gonzalez followed with a two-run homer.
Descalso was the first position player in franchise history to pitch more than one inning. Avila became the second.
Charlie Blackmon and Ian Desmond also homered as Colorado ended a nine-game home losing streak to the Diamondbacks.
Marquez (8-8), who pitched six innings, hit his first career home run off Descalso that made it 19-1.
“I happened to make really good contact on that pitch and the ball left the yard,” Marquez said. “I’d be lying if I sometimes (don’t think) I’ve got to go yard at some point. I’m glad it happened tonight.”
The 19 runs were the most this season for Colorado and one short of the franchise best.
Diamondbacks: Reliever TJ McFarland left the game in the fourth inning with neck tightness. … Lovullo said OF Jarrod Dyson (right groin strain) is dealing with the break up of scar tissue related to his 2017 hernia surgery and said the team will keep him off his feet until after the break.
Rockies: RHP Bryan Shaw was activated from the 10-day DL and LHP Jerry Vasto optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque. Shaw pitched a scoreless ninth inning in his first appearance since June 23rd.
TWO FOR THE BOOKS
The Diamondbacks made history by pitching Descalso and Avila tossing multiple innings. The last time it happened was when the Philadelphia Phillies did it against the Chicago Cubs on July 22, 1945, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
In addition, Descalso coming on in the fourth inning was the earliest a position player pitched in a game since Sal Bando did it for Milwaukee on Aug. 29, 1979, according to Elias.
The Diamondbacks will need the upcoming All-Star break to regroup from the last four games. On Saturday they scored 20 runs to beat San Diego, went 16 innings the next day against the Padres and then allowed 19 runs against Colorado.
“The 20 runs followed by 16-inning game — I’ve never seen something like that,” Lovullo said. “Our positions players had to cover four-plus innings. So it’s a weird set of circumstances, but today only counts as one loss.”
Arenado has faced the toughest pitchers in the game with confidence but facing Descalso in the fourth inning was stressful for the All-Star third baseman.
“It was awkward, my heart was beating really fast because I didn’t want to get out,” he said. “It was nice to get a hit.”
The Diamondbacks released RHP Fernando Salas a few days after designating him for assignment.
Diamondbacks left-hander Robbie Ray (3-1, 5.23 ERA) and Rockies lefty Kyle Freeland (8-6, 3.18 ERA) will start on Thursday.