PHOENIX – Tyler Skaggs had never pitched in front of a bigger crowd, and he never had been better in his very young and so promising big league career.
Skaggs tossed eight innings of three-hit ball in his return to Arizona’s rotation, and the Diamondbacks opened a 10-game homestand with a 5-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night.
“He reminded me of Barry Zito when he was with Oakland,” said Michael Cuddyer, who had one of Colorado’s three singles. “He had a two-seamer away, and then in the middle innings he started throwing that curveball, which is a plus-plus curveball. It was very reminiscent of Zito in Oakland.”
Skaggs, who turns 22 next week and is considered one of the top pitching prospects in the game, struck out five and walked one after he was recalled from Triple-A Reno for the second time this season.
“I feel awesome,” the left-hander said. “It’s great. To be up here this young is a dream come true.”
Paul Goldschmidt drove in two runs with a double and single, raising his NL-leading total to 71 RBIs. A.J. Pollock had two hits and scored three times, and Aaron Hill had a two-run single.
Colorado’s Jorge De La Rosa (8-5) gave up three runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. He had allowed three runs combined in his previous three starts.
Corey Dickerson and Nolan Arenado also had a single for the Rockies. J.J. Putz got three outs to complete the three-hitter for Arizona.
The Diamondbacks, who concluded a 10-game trip with a 5-4, 15-inning victory at the New York Mets on Thursday, played in front of a sellout crowd of 45,505. It was the biggest total for Chase Field since opening day.
It also was their first home game since 19 Arizona firefighters died while trying to extinguish an erratic wildfire last Sunday. The Diamondbacks paid tribute to the victims of the tragedy during a pregame ceremony that featured a bagpipe band playing “Amazing Grace” while photos of each of the fallen firefighters were shown on the ballpark’s giant video screen.
Colorado had four baserunners, and only one of them reached second. One was thrown out trying to steal second and another erased on a double play.
Skaggs (2-1) retired 12 in a row in one stretch.
“After the road trip we needed him to come out and eat some innings up,” Goldschmidt said. “For him to go eight, and obviously not give up any runs as well, was huge. He set the tone early, was working quick. That was humongous tonight.
“We really needed a good outing to give the bullpen a little bit of rest, and it kind of energized the guys as well. You couldn’t ask him to do anything more.”
The Rockies, already with Troy Tulowitzki on the 15-day disabled list, were without Carlos Gonzalez because of a sore back.
Pollock tripled and scored on De La Rosa’s wild pitch in the first and came up with another big hit in the third.
Didi Gregorius led off with a single and was sacrificed to second by Skaggs. Pollock then hit a soaring fly ball to the left-field corner that bounced off the yellow line atop the Diamondbacks’ bullpen fence for a double, despite Dickerson’s attempt to haul it in.
Umpires reviewed the play and upheld the call on the field.
That left runners at second and third with one out. Gregorius was caught in a rundown on Hill’s chopper to third, but Goldschmidt’s soft single to center brought in Pollock.
After Skaggs cruised through a seven-pitch sixth, Arizona got another run and ended De La Rosa’s night in the bottom half. Hill led off with a double to the right-field corner, and then Goldschmidt scorched a line drive RBI double over the head of center fielder Tyler Colvin.
Arizona tacked on two more against Adam Ottavino in the seventh. Gregorius reached on his second single and was sacrificed to second by Skaggs. Pollock walked, and Hill singled to shallow center to bring both of them home.