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D-Backs win on Upton's blast in ninth

CBSSports.com wire reports
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DENVER -- Justin Upton lost the grip on his bat and sent it spinning into the stands.

Usually, he might have let the lucky fan keep it as a souvenir. Only Upton's down to just a handful of bats after breaking quite a few on this road swing, so he had this one retrieved.

Upton put it to good use, too, hitting a two-out, two-run shot off closer Rafael Betancourt in the ninth inning to help the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Colorado Rockies 9-7 on Thursday.

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Upton sent a 93 mph fastball from Betancourt (1-1) over the right-field fence for his first home run in two weeks.

"That was nice," Upton said. "Just being able to put all my struggles aside and come up big for the team. That's always a goal, but it's not always that easy. When you can get it done, it definitely feels good."

His big hit was just part of the story. Upton also made a sliding catch to end the eighth and keep the game tied.

Any connection between the catch and the home run?

"It shows up a lot that way," Upton said. "A guy makes a good play and comes in and starts off an inning with a hit. It happens that way, but I don't know if you necessarily mentally bring it with you (to the plate). It definitely makes you feel good, that you can stop some runs from scoring. It kind of puts you in a good mood."

These days, good moods -- and swings -- have been hard to come by for the All-Star outfielder. Upton entered the game hitting only .163 during his past 13 games. Not only that, but his average was even lower (.111) with runners in scoring position.

That's not like Upton, who had a monster season in 2011 when he hit .289 with 31 home runs and 88 RBI.

With one swing, he felt more like himself.

"I was yelling at it to get up and it carried for me, which is nice," Upton said.

Willie Bloomquist and Ryan Roberts also drove in two runs apiece as the Diamondbacks won for the third time in 12 contests.

J.J. Putz escaped a bases-loaded jam in the ninth by getting Ramon Hernandez to hit into a game-ending 5-4-3 double play for his seventh save in nine chances.

The buzz surrounding this game, though, centered on the bees that invaded the stadium, taking over a camera bay next to the Rockies' dugout in the fifth inning and temporarily halting the game. They remained stuck to a railing until a beekeeper arrived an inning later to vacuum up the bees and relocate them.

"I'm not scared of bees," Carlos Gonzalez said.

Lately, Coors Field has resembled Wild Kingdom -- a squirrel scampered onto the outfield grass Wednesday night.

Troy Tulowitzki hit a two-run homer off starter Trevor Cahill and Jordan Pacheco added a solo shot to help stake the Rockies to an early 4-1 lead.

But it wouldn't last. Bloomquist ignited a four-run eighth with an RBI single off Rex Brothers. Jason Kubel, Paul Goldschmidt and Roberts also added run-scoring singles.

The three-run cushion wouldn't be enough as David Hernandez was roughed up in the eighth. He loaded the bases and then walked Dexter Fowler to bring in a run. Michael Cuddyer sent a chopper to Roberts, who booted the grounder to allow another run to score.

With the bases still full, Marco Scutaro drew another walk to tie the game at 7.

Brad Ziegler (2-1) relieved Hernandez and promptly gave up a sinking liner to pinch-hitter Wilin Rosario. But Upton made a sliding catch in right to quell the threat.

Gerardo Parra had a one-out double in the ninth and stole third. After Betancourt struck out Bloomquist, Upton drilled his fourth home run of the season.

"He's worked hard and he was rewarded today," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said.

Putz started out the ninth in rocky fashion, giving up singles to Gonzalez, Tulowitzki and Todd Helton. The Rockies then sent pitcher Alex White to the plate to pinch hit for Betancourt -- with no intention of swinging.

"We're not going to let him hit into a double play and wipe the inning out," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.

Instead, White took a called third strike on a 3-2 count.

"It was terrible. I was doing what I had to do to try to help the team, but obviously I wanted to swing there," White said.

Hernandez then hit a weak grounder to Roberts to end the game.

"Not the way you draw it up, but made a big pitch when I needed to," Putz said.

Rockies starter Juan Nicasio had a scare in the first inning when Bloomquist sent a liner straight at him. Nicasio turned his back just in time and was struck on the right thigh.

The play was eerily reminiscent of the line drive that hit Nicasio in the right temple last August, when he suffered a fractured skull along with a neck injury. Doctors had to perform emergency surgery to insert pins into the cracked C-1 vertebra and attach a small metal plate to the back of his neck.

Nicasio made a remarkable recovery to become one of the Rockies' most reliable pitchers this season.

That hit, though, caught him good.

"I can pitch, but I couldn't stay back," said Nicasio, who gave up one run in 4 2/3 innings. "I couldn't push off -- I was only throwing with my arm and my shoulder.

"It will be all right. I won't miss a start," he said.

Notes

  • Arizona OF Chris Young (shoulder) could be available as soon as this weekend for interleague play in Kansas City.
  • The Rockies will play host to the Seattle Mariners on Friday night, with White (0-2) facing RHP Kevin Millwood (1-4).
  • The Rockies issued nine walks against Arizona.
 
Copyright 2014 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
Arizona

J. Upton
AB 3
R 2
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
Colorado

T. Tulowitzki
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 

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Arizona Diamondbacks
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Gerardo Parra, CF4210212 .256
Willie Bloomquist, SS6122024 .239
Justin Upton, RF3212310 .224
Miguel Montero, C5000124 .256
Jason Kubel, LF5221022 .299
    David Hernandez, P0000000 .000
    Brad Ziegler, P0000000 .000
    J.J. Putz, P0000000 .000
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B3121210 .231
Ryan Roberts, 3B5032021 .232
Aaron Hill, 2B4110106 .241
Trevor Cahill, P1000011 .000
   a- Cody Ransom, PH0000000 .304
   b- Lyle Overbay, PH1011000 .333
    Craig Breslow, P0000000 .000
    Bryan Shaw, P0000000 .000
   c- A.J. Pollock, PH-LF2000000 .229
Totals399139912  
a-announced for Cahill in the 6th
b-singled for Ransom in the 6th
c-grounded out for Shaw in the 8th
Batting
2B - Gerardo Parra (8, Betancourt)
HR - Justin Upton (4, Betancourt)
SH - Trevor Cahill (3)
RBI - Willie Bloomquist 2 (8), Justin Upton 2 (12), Jason Kubel (16), Paul Goldschmidt (16), Ryan Roberts 2 (15), Lyle Overbay (5)
2-OUT RBI - Willie Bloomquist (2), Justin Upton 2 (4), Jason Kubel (7), Paul Goldschmidt (11), Ryan Roberts 2 (8), Lyle Overbay (4)
SB - Gerardo Parra (9, 3rd base off Betancourt/Hernandez), Willie Bloomquist (4, 2nd base off Brothers/Hernandez)
Team LOB - 13
Fielding
DP - Roberts-Hill-Goldschmidt
E - Ryan Roberts (6, Misplayed grounder)
Arizona Diamondbacks
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Trevor Cahill 5544362 4.01
Craig Breslow 1100000 1.37
Bryan Shaw 1100010 2.30
David Hernandez (BS,3) 0.2231300 2.50
Brad Ziegler (W,2-1) 0.1000000 1.06
J.J. Putz (S,7) 1300010 7.50
Pitches-Strikes - Trevor Cahill 81-52, Craig Breslow 13-7, Bryan Shaw 10-7, David Hernandez 34-17, Brad Ziegler 1-1, J.J. Putz 15-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Trevor Cahill 5-3, David Hernandez 1-2, J.J. Putz 1-0
Batters Faced - Trevor Cahill 22, Craig Breslow 3, Bryan Shaw 4, David Hernandez 8, Brad Ziegler 1, J.J. Putz 5
Colorado Rockies
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Marco Scutaro, 2B3111201 .254
Jordan Pacheco, 3B4111002 .250
    Esmil Rogers, P0000000 .000
   a- Wilin Rosario, PH-3B1000003 .220
Carlos Gonzalez, LF5120021 .307
Troy Tulowitzki, SS4122101 .275
Todd Helton, 1B4110111 .236
Tyler Colvin, RF3120010 .315
    Josh Roenicke, P0000000 .000
    Rex Brothers, P0000000 .000
    Jonathan Herrera, 3B0000000 .246
   b- Jason Giambi, PH1010000 .269
    Eric Young Jr., PR0100000 .286
    Rafael Betancourt, P0000000 .000
   c- Alex White, PH1000013 .167
Ramon Hernandez, C5010004 .233
Dexter Fowler, CF2012200 .248
Juan Nicasio, P2000022 .143
    Josh Outman, P0000000 .000
    Matt Belisle, P0000000 .000
    Michael Cuddyer, RF2000010 .265
Totals37712668  
a-lined out for Rogers in the 8th
b-singled for Herrera in the 8th
c-struck out for Betancourt in the 9th
Batting
2B - Marco Scutaro (6, Shaw), Tyler Colvin (2, Breslow)
3B - Dexter Fowler (3, Cahill)
HR - Jordan Pacheco (1, Cahill), Troy Tulowitzki (4, Cahill)
RBI - Marco Scutaro (4), Jordan Pacheco (3), Troy Tulowitzki 2 (16), Dexter Fowler 2 (18)
2-OUT RBI - Marco Scutaro (1), Troy Tulowitzki 2 (8), Dexter Fowler (9)
CS - Tyler Colvin (2, 3rd base by Breslow/Montero), Ramon Hernandez (1, 3rd base by Cahill/Montero)
Team LOB - 9
Colorado Rockies
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Juan Nicasio 4.2211570 4.37
Josh Outman 1111130 22.50
Matt Belisle (H,4) 1411100 2.75
Josh Roenicke (H,1) 0.1000000 2.95
Rex Brothers (BS,4) 0.2244210 6.28
Esmil Rogers 0.1200000 8.50
Rafael Betancourt (L,1-1) 1222011 3.00
IBB - Upton by Rex Brothers
WP - Juan Nicasio 2 (3), Rex Brothers (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Juan Nicasio 103-55, Josh Outman 22-12, Matt Belisle 28-18, Josh Roenicke 7-4, Rex Brothers 27-14, Esmil Rogers 14-10, Rafael Betancourt 18-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Juan Nicasio 3-4, Rex Brothers 1-0
Batters Faced - Juan Nicasio 21, Josh Outman 5, Matt Belisle 8, Josh Roenicke 1, Rex Brothers 6, Esmil Rogers 3, Rafael Betancourt 5
Game Information
Attendance - 32035
Game Time - 4:00
Temperature - 75
Umpires - Home - Jim Reynolds, First Base - Mike Estabrook, Second Base - James Hoye, Third Base - Jim Joyce