Diamondbacks 5, Rockies 2

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PHOENIX (AP)—So far, so good for the new-look Arizona Diamondbacks.

Shawn Estes pitched seven strong innings, Tony Clark doubled in two runs and the Diamondbacks handed the Colorado Rockies their seventh loss in a row 5-2 on Wednesday.

Troy Glaus had two hits, including an RBI double, to help the Diamondbacks finish a nine-game homestand with their fourth consecutive victory.

“I’ll take a 6-3 start anytime,” first-year Arizona manager Bob Melvin said.

Craig Counsell scored the go-ahead run from third in the seventh inning on a wild pitch by Byung-Hyun Kim that hit plate umpire Kerwin Danley on the left hand. Danley left the field in pain, accompanied by Diamondbacks trainer Paul Lessard. X-rays showed no broken bones.

After an 11-minute delay, umpire John Hirschbeck moved from second base to behind the plate. Troy Glaus hit Kim’s first pitch after the interruption over center fielder Cory Sullivan for an RBI double. Shawn Green was walked intentionally, then Clark doubled to deep right-center to bring in both runners and make it 5-1.

The big hit came just hours after Clark’s pinch-hit double helped Arizona win 4-2 on Tuesday night.

“It’s nice at the end of the day when you’ve got an outstanding effort from the guy on the hill to be able to reward him with some runs late,” Clark said.

Estes (1-0), who won 15 games for Colorado last season, allowed one run and four hits, struck out six and walked three.

“The best left-handed curveball in the league, no question about that,” Colorado catcher Todd Greene said. “He used it early, and then he used his heater later. He’s a quality big league starter. He’s got good stuff. Obviously I worked with him a lot last year. He’s not scared. He throws strikes and lets his defense work for him.”

Estes downplayed any edge he might have facing his former team.

“It’s only an advantage if you know most of the guys in the lineup,”’ he said. “I think there were only three guys in that lineup that I played with last year.”

Estes retired his last 11 batters before Counsell batted for him leading off the seventh. Counsell walked, was sacrificed to second by Matt Kata’s bunt and stole third.

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said Kim shook off Greene’s signals until the call was for a slider, then threw a fastball that the catcher wasn’t expecting.

“Everything unraveled after that,” Hurdle said.

Brian Bruney pitched a hitless ninth for his first major league save, sending Colorado to its 16th loss in 18 games dating to last year.

The Diamondbacks tied it at 1-1 without a hit off starter Jeff Francis in the fourth. Royce Clayton and Luis Gonzalez walked, and advanced on a double steal. Clayton scored on Green’s sacrifice fly to deep center.

Kim (0-1), who as the Arizona closer blew two games in the 2001 World Series, allowed four runs and two hits in one inning. He walked two, one intentionally, and struck out two.

The Rockies, at 1-7 off to the worst start in their history, were swept at San Francisco and Arizona on an 0-6 trip. Dating to last year, Colorado has lost 10 in a row on the road, matching a franchise record. The Rockies managed just four runs in three games in Arizona.

Colorado went up 1-0 on doubles by Desi Relaford and Luis Gonzalez to start the third inning, the first down the left field line and the second down the right field line.

Francis, named the top player in the minor leagues last year by the Sporting News and USA Today, allowed one run and three hits in five innings, a vastly improved effort from his first outing. He struck out one but walked six, one intentionally.

“I thought it was a gutsy performance. I don’t think it was an effective performance by any means,” Hurdle said. “He was able to keep away from the big inning, which is a testament to his poise. … He gave us a chance to win the ball game.”

With Wednesday’s attendance of 19,272, the Colorado series drew the three smallest home crowds in the Diamondbacks’ eight-year history. Wednesday’s was the second-smallest.


The game had a 12:10 p.m. start—earliest ever for an Arizona home game—so the Diamondbacks could leave for Washington, where the Diamondbacks play Thursday in the Nationals’ first game in their new home. … Francis was the first lefty to start against Arizona this season. … Arizona’s Gonzalez went hitless for the first time this season.

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