For the past month or so, the Diamondback season has followed a repeated trajectory. Beat bottom-dwellers, lose to contenders. Win at home, struggle on the road.
In Sunday’s series finale against the Rockies, that trend continued. After splitting the first two games of this weekend’s set, the Diamondbacks won, 6-4, to move to 48-59 on the season.
The early going Sunday rewarded the Diamondbacks faith in their current roster at last week’s trade deadline. After trading David Peralta to Tampa Bay, they mostly held pat, only swapping reliever Luke Weaver for backup third baseman Emmanuel Rivera. That meant holding onto Zach Davies — their No. 4 starter on an expiring contract — and Christian Walker, their slugging first baseman with two-plus years of team control.
“The fact that they’re here, I love it,” Lovullo said. “And I think the organization made a statement by saying we want you guys here as we keep moving forward.”
In the bottom of the first, Walker crushed an inside sinker 431 feet to left field, putting the Diamondbacks up 2-0 with his 26th home run.
Davies, meanwhile, had a rocky start, loading the bases with one out in the first and allowing a double leadoff in the second. After getting out of both those jams, he sailed through the rest of his outing, producing three straight 1-2-3 innings. The performance marked a major step forward for Davies, who allowed four runs in two innings in his last time out after the Diamondbacks eschewed a rehab assignment — a move presumably made to showcase Davies’ health to potential trade deadline buyers.
“Just kinda recognized their approach for the day and tried to work around that,” Davies said. “It was leaving everything down in the zone alone and staying off-speed pitches. So I tried to work to combat that and got better results and was able to flip the script from letting guys get comfortable in the box.”
The Diamondbacks, however, squandered Davies’ start in the sixth. Kevin Ginkel’s six batters went like this: walk, double, double, single, walk, single. There was a touch of hard luck — one double deflected off Ginkel’s legs and into the outfield; the other was on a good inside fastball.
But when Ginkel gave up a single on a hanging slider and walked the bases loaded — all with no outs — it was a curious decision for Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo to leave him out there. The Rockies made Lovullo pay, turning their 2-0 deficit into a 4-2 lead.
“We needed some strikeouts and I felt like he was the one true strikeout pitcher that I had in that moment,” Lovullo said. “And I felt like if he just got in a rhythm, he could start punching some guys out without allowing some runs. I just think his dele (slider) was popping.”
Again, though, the Diamondbacks trade deadline moves proved important in the bottom half of the inning. Rivera hit his first homer with the club out to right, trimming the deficit to one. An inning later, Josh Rojas tied it up, bringing home Sergio Alcantara on an opposite field double.
In the eighth, no Diamondback needed to drive home the winning run. Instead, Rockies reliever Alex Colome balked with the bases loaded, capping off a brutal weekend after he took the loss on Friday. Alcantara then gave Arizona a bit of insurance with a sacrifice fly to left.
Mark Melancon — who closed out the game with Ian Kennedy unavailable and Joe Mantiply having pitched earlier — didn’t need it. In his first save situation since being stripped of the full-time closer’s role earlier this week, Melancon loaded the bases with two outs but ended the threat there, inducing a game-ending groundout to short.
Theo Mackie covers Arizona high school sports, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Rising FC. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @theo_mackie.