Young finishes double shy of cycle in 13-4 rout
DENVER (AP)—Around this time last September, the Arizona Diamondbacks were celebrating an NL West title in Colorado. Things are quite a bit different this season, with the Diamondbacks being on the other side of the chase.
“We realize every day is a must win for us,” manager Bob Melvin said after the Diamondbacks’ 13-4 rout of Colorado on Sunday to take two of three in the series.
One must-win game down, seven more to go. That’s how many games remain in their season.
But they made up ground Sunday, and trail the Los Angeles Dodgers by just 2 1/2 games in the race for the NL West crown.
“A lot of teams would give a lot to be in this position,” Chris Young said. “It’s what it’s all about.”
Young led the offensive charge Sunday, driving in four runs and finishing a double shy of the cycle. He had a single in the first, a solo homer in the second and a three-run triple over Ryan Spilborghs’ outstretched glove in the fifth.
The Diamondbacks center fielder had two more shots to get the cycle, but he drew a walk in seventh and lined sharply to third baseman Jeff Baker in his final at-bat in the ninth.
“No doubt I was going for it,” Young said. “If it was a groundball to the shortstop, I probably would’ve kept running to second base.”
Adam Dunn drove in three runs, including a two-run double in the first, and Conor Jackson had four hits as part of the Diamondbacks’ season-high 19-hit barrage. Every player in the Arizona lineup had at least one hit.
“We had a lot of hard hits, we had a lot of soft bloopers as well,” Young said. “When you’re getting both, it’s going to turn out good.”
Dan Haren was his vintage self—getting ahead of hitters, keeping the ball down, mixing up his pitches—as he improved to 3-0 against the Rockies this season. Haren (16-8) allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings.
“Typical Danny,” Melvin said.
However, Haren would like to have one pitch back—a cutter that Garrett Atkins hit for a three-run homer in the fourth.
“The only real mistake,” Haren said. “Left that one over the middle.”
Haren also came through at the plate with a career-high three hits, including an RBI single in the first after Augie Ojeda was intentionally walked to get to the pitcher’s spot.
Perhaps he can take over Micah Owings’ pinch-hitting role now that he’s gone?
“Maybe next year I’ll get a few,” Haren said with a grin. “When I’m up there, very rarely am I swinging for the fences. I try to put a good at bat up there—I take pride in not striking out so much.”
The defending NL champion Rockies played their final home game of the season, finishing with a 43-38 mark. It’s their 11th winning season at Coors Field in the stadium’s 14-year existence.
“Obviously, late in the season we want to win at home, especially the last game at home,” Spilborghs said.
The Diamondbacks have four games remaining at St. Louis, before closing out the season by hosting Colorado.
There’s not much time to make a move. Still, Melvin is living by the old adage—take it one game at a time.
“That’s all we can do,” said Melvin, whose team improved to 12-3 against Colorado this season. “You can’t win three games in a day and can’t look ahead at all. We have to keep grinding, hopefully we get help. We need it.”
The Diamondbacks chased Rockies starter Greg Reynolds from the game after just 1 1-3 innings. Reynolds (2-8) allowed six runs and seven hits, most of the damage done in the first as Arizona sent 10 batters to the plate in a five-run frame.
“I think it was pretty much the same stuff we’ve seen so far—the fastball command is lacking and that’s causing him some challenging situations,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “His command has not been his best friend out there.”
The Diamondbacks’ new best friends are now San Diego and San Francisco, who each play the Dodgers three more times.
“We know we have a significant road ahead of us still,” Melvin said. “We have to keep winning games.”
The Rockies’ attendance this season was 2,650,218, their highest since 2002. … Arizona’s Josh Whitesell hit his first major league homer in the ninth, a solo shot to deep right-center. … Atkins has now hit at least 20 homers for the third straight season.