Colorado at Arizona

W: D. Hernandez (1-0) L: F. Paulino (0-1)
S: J. Putz (7)
HR: COL - C. Gonzalez (2)   ARI - H. Blanco (1),J. Upton (6)

Diamondbacks 4, Rockies 3 wire reports

PHOENIX -- Since taking over as Arizona's manager last season, Kirk Gibson has repeatedly given his hitters the green light on 3-0 counts, hoping it would make them comfortable whenever the situation arises.

Sometimes it's worked, a lot of times it hasn't.

Justin Upton got it to work in a big way.

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Swinging on 3-0 in a tie game, Upton led off the eighth inning with a home run to right field, lifting the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 4-3 victory against the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.

"For J-Up to go [opposite field] like that, it's a good approach, and it was a game-winner," Gibson said. "That's one of the times where it's paid off when we've done it."

Joe Saunders gave Arizona a decent start for the first time at home this season and David Hernandez (1-0) worked out of a jam in the eighth inning. Most of the offense came in the third, when Henry Blanco hit his first home run in nearly a year and Xavier Nady had a two-run single to prevent Jorge De La Rosa from becoming the NL's first five-game winner.

All that set up Upton.

In a good power groove to start the season, Upton took his usual don't-do-too-much approach on a 3-0 count, using an inside-out swing against Felipe Paulino (0-1) to lift the ball just over the wall in right for his sixth home run. J.J. Putz followed by finishing off the ninth with his seventh successful save opportunity to open the season, giving the Diamondbacks their fifth victory in eight games.

"I wasn't trying to do too much," Upton said. "Just make sure it's a strike and don't come out of your shoes, and I was able to get a good pitch to hit."

Colorado had its chances.

De La Rosa was solid after the third inning, Carlos Gonzalez hit a mammoth home run against Saunders and Jonathan Herrera had a run-scoring triple off him.

The Rockies just couldn't come through when they needed to, failing to score in the eighth with a runner on third and one out while finishing 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position.

"We had a wonderful opportunity in the eighth inning and we weren't able to get a hit there," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "That is where the game lies. Our chances were there. We just couldn't get a big hit."

De La Rosa had a strong previous outing, striking out nine while allowing a run in seven innings against the Cubs.

He had more trouble than that just in the third inning against the Diamondbacks.

Blanco led it off with his first hit in 11 at-bats this season, sending the left-hander's first pitch to the back of the lower level in left. It was his first home run since June 10 last season against San Diego, a span of 90 at-bats.

Saunders followed with his first hit in nine at-bats this season, a slap single to left, then De La Rosa struggled with the strike zone, walking two batters to load the bases. Nady capped the inning with a two-run single up the middle, putting the Diamondbacks up 3-1.

"I was making mistakes with most hitters and I paid for it," said De La Rosa, who allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings.

Saunders just couldn't hold the lead.

The left-hander gave up his first run on Ryan Spilborghs' sacrifice fly in the second inning and followed Arizona's big inning by giving up a leadoff home run to Gonzalez, an estimated 453-foot shot that landed behind the pool in right-center. Herrera tied it in the fifth with a run-scoring triple to the corner in right.

Saunders didn't give up anything else, though, leaving with the score tied after allowing three runs on six hits in six innings. He didn't get the victory, but after going 0-2 with an 8.82 ERA in three previous starts at Chase Field, it was at least an improvement.

"I didn't feel like I had my best command or stuff, but we fought through it," said Saunders, who ended an 0-for-18 streak over two seasons with his single in the third. "Got through six and gave us a chance to win the game."


The final out of Francisco Liriano's no-hitter for Minnesota was shown on the video screen before the start of the third inning, drawing a smattering of applause from the fans. ... Saunders has yet to get to the seventh inning in six starts this season. ... The Rockies have hit more home runs against left-handed pitchers (12) than any other NL team this season. Arizona is second with 11.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Players of the Game

J. Upton
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1

C. Gonzalez
AB 2
R 2
H 2
HR 1

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February 17, 2017
NL West Preview: Colorado Rockies (2:26)
Colorado Rockies
Dexter Fowler, CF4110103 .262
Jonathan Herrera, 2B4021011 .311
   a- Jason Giambi, PH1000011 .158
Todd Helton, 1B5020002 .313
Troy Tulowitzki, SS4000003 .284
Carlos Gonzalez, LF2221200 .247
Jose Lopez, 3B4000003 .141
Ryan Spilborghs, RF2001110 .167
Chris Iannetta, C3010113 .183
Jorge De La Rosa, P2010000 .267
   b- Ian Stewart, PH1000011 .074
    Matt Lindstrom, P0000000 .000
    Felipe Paulino, P0000000 .000
   c- Seth Smith, PH1000000 .299
a-struck out for Herrera in the 9th
b-struck out for De La Rosa in the 7th
c-flied out for Paulino in the 9th
3B - Jonathan Herrera (1, Saunders)
HR - Carlos Gonzalez (2, Saunders)
SF - Ryan Spilborghs (1)
RBI - Jonathan Herrera (6), Carlos Gonzalez (15), Ryan Spilborghs (7)
SB - Carlos Gonzalez (4, 2nd base off Saunders/Blanco)
Team LOB - 9
Colorado Rockies
Jorge De La Rosa 6733261 2.92
Matt Lindstrom 1000110 0.77
Felipe Paulino (L,0-1) 1111011 6.10
Pitches-Strikes - Jorge De La Rosa 100-59, Matt Lindstrom 14-7, Felipe Paulino 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jorge De La Rosa 5-6, Felipe Paulino 2-0
Batters Faced - Jorge De La Rosa 26, Matt Lindstrom 3, Felipe Paulino 4
Arizona Diamondbacks
Chris Young, CF4000022 .224
Ryan Roberts, 2B2100200 .319
Justin Upton, RF4131000 .283
Stephen Drew, SS3000101 .295
Xavier Nady, 1B4012001 .286
Melvin Mora, 3B4010032 .269
Gerardo Parra, LF3000020 .271
Henry Blanco, C3121010 .154
Joe Saunders, P2110001 .091
    Esmerling Vasquez, P0000000 .000
   a- Kelly Johnson, PH1000000 .173
    David Hernandez, P0000000 .000
    J.J. Putz, P0000000 .000
a-flied out for Vasquez in the 7th
2B - Justin Upton (8, De La Rosa), Henry Blanco (1, De La Rosa)
HR - Justin Upton (6, Paulino), Henry Blanco (1, De La Rosa)
RBI - Justin Upton (15), Xavier Nady 2 (6), Henry Blanco (1)
2-OUT RBI - Xavier Nady 2 (3)
CS - Ryan Roberts (2, 2nd base by Lindstrom/Iannetta), Melvin Mora (1, 2nd base by De La Rosa/Iannetta)
Team LOB - 5
DP - Roberts-Drew-Nady, Drew-Roberts-Nady
Arizona Diamondbacks
Joe Saunders 6633321 5.67
Esmerling Vasquez 1100020 2.79
David Hernandez (W,1-0) 1100200 1.88
J.J. Putz (S,7) 1100010 3.00
IBB - C. Gonzalez by David Hernandez
WP - David Hernandez 2 (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Saunders 98-54, Esmerling Vasquez 24-15, David Hernandez 29-15, J.J. Putz 13-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Saunders 9-5, David Hernandez 1-2, J.J. Putz 1-1
Batters Faced - Joe Saunders 25, Esmerling Vasquez 4, David Hernandez 6, J.J. Putz 4
Game Information
Attendance - 18887
Game Time - 3:05
Temperature - 89
Umpires - Home - Kerwin Danley, First Base - Paul Nauert, Second Base - Doug Eddings, Third Base - Dana DeMuth