Manager Kirk Gibson is confident his Arizona Diamondbacks will be just fine after they failed to hold a late lead for one of the few times this season.
The AL West-leading Diamondbacks look to get back on track when they conclude their season series with the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night at Coors Field.
Arizona (81-61) was 65-3 when leading after seven innings before Tuesday, when it blew a two-run advantage by allowing seven runs in the eighth of an 8-3 loss at Colorado (67-75). It was just the second defeat in 14 games for the Diamondbacks, who still have a seven-game lead over San Francisco in the West.
“It was a normal game, just the ending was different,” Gibson said. “Something we haven’t experienced yet. It’s disappointing we lost the game but we’ll regroup, come back (Wednesday) and be fine.”
Aaron Hill(notes) and Justin Upton(notes) each had two hits and Miguel Montero(notes) drove in a run in the loss for the Diamondbacks. Montero is batting .352 with 13 RBIs during a 14-game hitting streak, while Hill is 18 for 36 with seven RBIs in his last nine games, including 10 for 20 versus Colorado during that span.
Hill is 9 for 24 (.375) with two doubles and a home run against scheduled Rockies starter Kevin Millwood(notes) (2-1, 3.34 ERA), who is coming off his best outing since Colorado signed him as a free agent Aug. 10.
Millwood had not pitched in the majors since last season with Baltimore, but in his fifth start with the Rockies gave up seven hits and struck out eight over seven innings of a 3-0 win at San Diego on Friday.
“I had a lot of people, to my face even, question if I still had what it took,” Millwood said. “That kind of spurred me on a little bit. To get this opportunity and to be pitching pretty well is a big thing.”
The right-hander is 6-1 with a 1.93 ERA in nine starts against the Diamondbacks, but has not faced them since 2006, while pitching for Texas.
Arizona counters with Joe Saunders(notes) (9-12, 3.86), who hopes to bounce back from another subpar outing and continue his success against the Rockies. The left-hander is 4-1 with a 3.13 ERA in six career starts versus Colorado, including 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA in two this season. He allowed homers to Jason Giambi(notes) and Ty Wigginton(notes) in eight innings of a 5-2 victory at Coors on May 24.
Saunders, however, yielded four runs in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-2 loss at San Francisco on Friday to fall to 1-4 with a 5.05 ERA in his last six starts.
Tulowitzki is just 2 for 11 with a double versus Saunders, but has a pair of three-run homers in this week’s series.