PHOENIX – The Colorado Rockies scored 17 runs in winning their first two games in Arizona over the weekend.
Then they ran in to Zack Greinke.
The Arizona ace shut down one of baseball’s most powerful offenses on Sunday in a 6-1 victory that snapped the Rockies’ seven-game winning streak.
“Zack came out on a day when we could have been flat-lined and picked us up,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “And we jumped on his back and he carried us a long way today.”
Greinke allowed one run and two hits and struck out a season-high 13 in eight dominant innings.
“It was vintage Greinke for sure,” Rockies manager Bud Black said.
The Arizona pitcher threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of the first 20 batters and cruised from there.
“The last two games everything’s been really good,” Greinke said. “I felt comfortable out there and made a lot of good pitches.”
Shortstop Nick Ahmed drove in three runs and robbed Nolan Arenado with a diving stop for the game’s final out.
The only hits off Greinke (11-5) were Ian Desmond’s solo home run in the fourth and Trevor Story’s one-out single in the seventh. The right-hander threw a season-high 111 pitches in his longest outing of the year. He walked one while improving to 5-0 with a 1.14 ERA in his last five starts.
“The thing that stood out for me was the use of all pitches,” Black said. “In a lot of ways you see Zack’s fastball, slider, change, but the curve ball really came into play today, the slow curve ball. He did a great job of mixing pitches.”
Greinke finished his night with a 68 mph curve ball that caught pinch hitter Raimel Tapia looking. The “ephus” pitch has been useful for Greinke all season and especially in this recent stretch of success.
“The results have been as good as you could hope for,” Greinke said of the swooping pitch that’s become an Diamondback fan favorite. “It’s going to stop working anytime now but as of now it’s still working.”
Arizona moved back into second place in the NL West, 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers. Colorado had briefly moved past the Diamondbacks by winning the first two games of the series 11-10 and 6-5. The Rockies left Arizona a half-game behind the Diamondbacks and two behind the Dodgers.
Ahmed had a two-run triple and a bases-loaded walk for his three RBIs. Jeff Mathis added a two-run single and Steven Souza Jr. doubled in a run.
Antonio Senzatela (3-3), activated from the disabled list (finger blister) before the game and making his third start of the season, gave up four runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings.
The Diamondbacks took the lead with a pair of two-out doubles by A.J. Pollock and Steven Souza Jr. in the first.
Senzatela retired the first two in the fifth before walking Jake Lamb on a 3-2 pitch. Daniel Descalso dribbled a single through the Rockies shift defense in right to put runners at first and third. Ahmed brought them both home with a shot past the diving left-fielder Gerardo Parra, a bases-clearing triple that made it 3-0.
In the Diamondbacks’ sixth, Arizona loaded the bases without a hit on two walks and second baseman Garrett Sampson’s fielding error on what could have been an inning-ending double play. Yency Almonte walked Ahmed to bring in a run and Mathis’ two-run single put Arizona up 6-1.
TRAINER’S ROOMRockies: Senzatela took the roster spot vacated by RHP German Marquez, who was placed on the paternity list.
Diamondbacks: RHP Clay Buchholz (left oblique strain) pitched a bullpen session on Sunday and, if it went well, he will return to the rotation and start Tuesday against the Cubs in Chicago. ... LHP T.J. McFarland (left neck tightness) threw a side session on Sunday and will be activated before the Cubs series opener on Monday.
GOLDSCHMIDT’S STRUGGLESAfter an outstanding run heading into the All-Star break, Paul Goldschmidt went 1-for-12 in the three-game series against Colorado, striking out a whopping nine times, including three times on Sunday. The All-Star first baseman was the player of the month for June after beginning the season with one of the worst and most extended slumps of his career.
UP NEXTRockies: Colorado returns home for a two-game set with reigning World Series champion Houston. LHP Tyler Anderson (6-3, 3.72 ERA) starts for the Rockies against the Astros’ Gerrit Cole (10-2, 2.52).
Diamondbacks: Arizona opens a four-game series at Wrigley Field Monday with LHP Patrick Corbin (6-4, 3.24) on the mound for the Diamondbacks. The Cubs have not announced their starter.