D-Backs smash 5 homers in win over Rockies
The Arizona Diamondbacks pounded out five home runs to win an Opening Day slugfest over the visiting Colorado Rockies.
Newly-acquired second baseman Felipe Lopez and veteran first baseman Tony Clark each homered twice while third baseman Chad Tracy connected for the game-winning shot in the seventh inning as Arizona prevailed 9-8 at Chase Field.
“Every time we responded, they responded, and so forth, and then Trace ends up hitting the big one,” Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said in his post-game press conference. “And Tony Pena ended up being huge in that game.”
Pena, the fifth of six Arizona pitchers to work in the game, retired all four batters he faced in the seventh and eighth innings to earn the victory. Chad Qualls then pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to record the save.
The D-backs and Rockies combined for eight home runs (five by Arizona and three by Colorado) and 22 hits (12 by the D-backs and 10 by the Rockies). Lopez and Clark, both of whom are switch-hitters, each launched homers from both sides of the plate.
Lopez, who was signed in the off-season as a free agent to play steady defense at second base and set the table for the offense by batting in the leadoff position, hit the second pitch he saw in the bottom of the first inning for a home run. Batting left-handed off Colorado starter Aaron Cook, Lopez hit the ball the opposite way over the 376-foot sign in left field.
The Diamondbacks added another run in the second inning when Conor Jackson singled with one out and scored on a double to the left-field corner by Chris Snyder.
The Rockies scored four times in the top of the third off Arizona starter Brandon Webb, who pitched just four innings on the day. Cook began the rally for the Rockies with a one-out single. After a double by Ryan Spilborghs put runners on second and third, Cook scored on a groundout off the bat of Seth Smith. Todd Helton and Garrett Atkins then walked to load the bases, and Brad Hawpe unloaded them with a three-run double to right-center field.
The D-backs answered right back with four runs in the bottom of the third. The inning featured a lead-off double by Chris Young, a walk by Stephen Drew, an RBI single by Tracy, a run-scoring sacrifice fly by Eric Byrnes and a two-run homer to right field by Clark.
Clark’s clout put the D-backs ahead 6-4 and spelled the end of the afternoon for Cook, who was relieved by Glendon Rusch.
Webb was unable to hold the lead, as Colorado tied the game at 6-6 on back-to-back home runs by Troy Tulowitzki and Chris Iannetta to begin the fourth inning.
Lopez hit his second homer of the game to lead off the bottom of the fourth. While Lopez was batting right-handed this time against the left-hander Rusch, he again cleared the fence of the opposite field, hitting the ball into the seats in right-center.
The two-homer game is the third of Lopez’ career and his first since 2006. After hitting a career-high 23 homers with the Cincinnati Reds in 2005 (when he drove in 85 runs), Lopez totaled just 26 round-trippers over the next three seasons. Last year, he finished with six homers, 46 RBIs and a .283 batting average in 143 games, splitting the season between the St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals.
The Rockies scored a run in the fifth off reliever Doug Slaten to tie the score at 7-7. After Slaten retired the first two batters in the inning, the Rockies strung together a double by Hawpe and an RBI single by Ian Stewart.
One inning after Lopez became the fourth player in Diamondbacks history to homer from both sides of the plate in the same game, Clark matched the feat, doing it for the second time in his D-backs career when he connected for a solo shot to center field off Rusch. Clark’s second homer of the day gave Arizona an 8-7 lead.
After the Rockies tied the game at 8-8 in the top of the seventh on a home run by Smith off Scott Schoeneweis, the Diamondbacks went ahead to stay at 9-8 in the bottom of the inning when Tracy lifted a leadoff homer to right field off losing pitcher Jason Grilli.
By: Tom Kessler
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