Rockies 6, Diamondbacks 5

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PHOENIX (AP)—So what if it’s only seven games into the season? The long-downtrodden Colorado Rockies have won four in a row—all on the road— and are in first place in the NL West.

Brad Hawpe fell a single shy of hitting for the cycle and drove in four runs Tuesday night, helping the Rockies spoil the Arizona Diamondbacks’ home opener 6-5.

“We’ve got to play and win games. That’s the best answer to all the baggage that any group will carry here that plays in Colorado from the previous records,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “This group has an opportunity to define itself and separate themselves from some of that baggage.”

It the second straight game Hawpe came close to a cycle. He was 3-for-5, falling a double short, in Sunday’s 10-4 win at San Diego. The two big days followed a batting cage and video session that led Hawpe to slightly change his hand position on the bat.

“He’s strung together probably two of the best games in the big leagues,” Hurdle said.

Todd Helton drove in two runs with his first homer of the season for the Rockies, who were coming off a sweep at San Diego.

Hawpe homered to lead off the second, doubled in the fourth and drove in two with a triple in the fifth—all off Arizona’s Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez. Hawpe bounced out to short, but drove in a run, in the seventh. He was on deck in the ninth when Matt Holliday grounded out to end the inning. Hawpe said he had never hit for the cycle at any level.

“I realized I was a base hit away,” he said. “That wasn’t my concern. Getting a base hit in this league is strong enough.”

His bounce out drove in what turned out to be the winning run.

“It was the one play you can’t come home with is a high chopper like that,” Arizon manager Bob Melvin said. “It was a good read by them.”

Shawn Green, 2-for-19 to start the season, hit a 431-foot home run off closer Brian Fuentes to lead off the ninth. One out later, Orlando Hudson reached on an infield single and Tony Clark hit ball off the wall about two feet foul in the right-field corner.

With Hudson on second base after a wild pitch, Clark struck out swinging and Fuentes got Craig Counsell to hit a fly ball to right field to break the club record with his 18th consecutive save—first this season.

Aaron Cook (1-1) allowed four runs on six hits in six innings to beat the Diamondbacks after losing to them in Colorado 4-2 last week. Hernandez (1-1) threw 108 pitches in 4 2-3 innings. He gave up five runs on six hits, struck out six, walked two and hit two.

Hernandez hit Helton and walked Garrett Atkins before Hawpe’s two-run triple down the right-field line put the Rockies up 5-0.

Counsell’s bases-loaded triple into the right-center gap cut it to 5-3 in the fifth. Johnny Estrada and Hudson singled, then Tony Clark walked to bring Counsell to the plate. Counsell scored on Jeff DaVanon’s ground out to make it 5-4.

A bizarre double play ended the Diamondbacks’ threat in the first inning.

Arizona had the bases loaded with one out in the first when Conor Jackson hit a blooper to left field. A charging Holliday trapped the ball. Jeff DaVanon ran home from third, but Chad Tracy stayed on second, believing the ball was caught.

Holliday threw to third for a force, then the relay to second ended the inning. Initially, the run counted, but the umpires huddled and took it off the board, leaving the Rockies up 2-0.

Hurdle said he’d never seen that before.

“I’ve only seen it one other time, and that was in high school,” Cook said.

Notes

Only four Colorado players have hit for the cycle. The last was Mike Lansing on June 18, 2000, who did it in four innings against Arizona. … Helton has hit safely in all seven games this season. … Colorado has scored 38 runs in its four-game winning streak. … The paid attendance was 37,355 and total tickets distributed 46,726.

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