Rockies 8, Diamondbacks 4
DENVER (AP)—Taking advantage of mistakes is a big part of having success at Coors Field.
The Colorado Rockies weren’t able to do it early in the season, but they sure are now.
Shawn Estes pitched six solid innings and Colorado took advantage of Arizona’s shoddy defense in a five-run sixth inning to beat the Diamondbacks 8-4 on Saturday night.
“We’ve been able to capitalize on those mistakes when in the past we were the recipients of the capitalization,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “We were recipients of some good fortune tonight. You’re not able to control on the other team’s defense, but you need to capitalize on their mistakes.”
They sure did against the Diamondbacks.
Arizona starter Brandon Webb (4-12) cruised along nicely in the first five innings, giving up just three hits and a run. But it all fell apart for him and the Diamondbacks in the sixth.
Preston Wilson led off with a double to center and scored on a close play at the plate on Jeromy Burnitz’s single to right. Charles Johnson then reached on Shea Hillenbrand’s error after the first baseman dropped the ball trying to throw to second.
Colorado’s Luis Gonzalez squared around to bunt on the next pitch, but Webb hit him in the back to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney followed with a soft grounder to second, and Scott Hairston pulled up to let the ball go under his glove for another error and two more runs.
Aaron Miles made it 5-2 with a sacrifice fly to chase Webb, then Todd Helton hit a two-out RBI single off Randy Choate on a ball that fell in front of Quinton McCracken after the right fielder broke back before charging.
Just like that, what was once a 2-1 lead turned into a 6-2 deficit for the Diamondbacks.
“Tonight, we beat ourselves,” Diamondbacks manager Al Pedrique said. “Webb did his job. He got the groundballs and we didn’t make plays. In the long run, it hurt us.”
The Rockies wouldn’t have had much of a chance without another solid outing by one of their starters.
Estes (11-4) struggled in his last start, giving up seven runs in five innings in a loss to Los Angeles on Monday. Though his stuff wasn’t much better this time, he was able to work through trouble.
Estes gave up a run in the fourth inning on Luis Gonzalez’s run-scoring single, and Chad Tracy put Arizona up 2-1 with a sacrifice fly in the fifth after Hairston led off with a triple.
Estes ran into trouble in the sixth after Tim Olson’s leadoff double and a pair of two-out walks, but he got Chad Tracy to ground out to first to end the threat.
Estes was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the bottom half, leaving after giving up two runs and five hits for his fifth win in six decisions. Colorado has won seven of nine, in part because its starters are 6-1 with 21 earned runs in their past 63 1-3 innings.
“I think the rotation feeds off of each other,” Estes said. “When you are throwing the ball well, it becomes contagious.”
Colorado has won five straight over Arizona and seven of nine overall, including a 4-1 victory against Randy Johnson Friday night.
As for Johnson, he was still in a Diamondbacks uniform after several rumored deals never materialized. Arizona did unload center fielder Steve Finley, sending the four-time Gold Glove winner to Los Angeles for three players just before the afternoon deadline.
The Diamondbacks could’ve used him considering they had three errors and managed just eight hits to lose for the 15th time in 17 games since the All-Star break. Arizona finished July 5-23, the worst month in team history.
“We got a quality start from Webb and our defense let us down,” Pedrique said. “When we did put something together on offense we fell short of getting the big hit.”
Arizona’s troubles started early.
Colorado scored first, getting a run in the first inning on Preston Wilson’s RBI single after Miles reached on Hairston’s fielding error.
Webb settled in after that, allowing two hits over the next four innings. The right-hander deserved a better fate, but just couldn’t overcome the mistakes in the sixth inning.
Webb was pulled after allowing six hits and six runs—just one earned—in 5 2-3 innings. He also walked four to lose for the seventh time in eight decisions.
“You never get used to mistakes,” Webb said. “You have to pitch through them. We can’t control anything but the way we pitch.”
It was a good thing the Rockies had a cushion.
With Colorado leading 8-2, Hairston led off the ninth with his eighth homer off Adam Bernero. Shawn Chacon came in with the bases loaded and walked Luis Gonzalez to make it 8-4, but got Hillenbrand to fly out to center for his 25th save in 32 opportunities.
Arizona RF Juan Bautista was limited to pinch-hit duties after aggravating a hamstring strain Friday night against the Rockies. … Arizona’s previous worst month was this May, when the Diamondbacks were 9-20. … Estes is 6-0 against the NL West this season.