DENVER -- Before Sunday's game, before his team came back to beat the Colorado Rockies 5-4 with two runs in the ninth, Arizona Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said, "I'm not here for moral victories."
The Diamondbacks had lost the first two games of this series 3-1 and 4-3. And it looked like they might be headed for a third successive defeat when they fell behind 3-0 in the third inning Sunday.
But they struck for two runs in the fifth, and closed to within one run of the Rockies when Cody Ross doubled home a run in the eighth. That set the stage for a bizarre two-run rally in the ninth that ended the Rockies' eight-game winning streak and handed them their first loss at home after eight wins, a franchise record for consecutive home wins at the outset of the season.
Didi Gregorius, who homered in the fifth for the first hit allowed by starter Juan Nicasio, led off the ninth by grounding a single up the middle off Wilton Lopez. Lopez was trying to close the game, because Rockies manager Walt Weiss wanted to give Rafael Betancourt, who is 7-for-7 in save opportunities, a day off after he had pitched in the Rockies' previous four games over a five-day span.
A.J. Pollock then hit a high bouncer that went over the head of leaping third baseman Jonathan Herrera and landed in short left field for a double.
"I was playing like two steps in front of third base," Herrera said. "It was perfect. He was swinging, and the ball was over my head. I almost caught that ball but nothing you can do."
Pinch hitter Alfredo Marte hit a grounder that Herrera charged. He looked home but thought better of trying to get Gregorius at the plate and took the out at first.
"I saw him break on contact," Herrera said. "I caught the ball like on my left side and I telling myself I need to make a perfect throw (home) and throw out of my balance. It's a tough decision. You take a shot and you don't know what's going to happen. It's going to be a really close play at home plate."
Gerrardo Parra followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Pollock, who had taken third on Marte's grounder.
Diamondbacks starter Brandon McCarthy, who went to high school in Colorado Springs, 60 miles south of Denver, gave up four runs in six innings. The Rockies pounced on him for three runs in the second with four consecutive one-out singles, and Troy Tulowitzki homered in the sixth.
"I didn't feel too bad," McCarthy said. "I was able to do a lot of things that I wanted to and command it. That (third) inning got a little weird. The home run to Tulowitzki, I wasn't happy about, but other than that, everything felt good. I was able to keep fighting my way through it."
Rockies starter Juan Nicasio was less fortunate. He held the Diamondbacks hitless until Gregorius led off the fifth with a homer. But Nicasio left after 4 1/3 innings when Parra doubled home a run on his 96th pitch.
"I need to command my fastball because I throw like 90-some pitches in three games," said Nicasio, whose previous three starts included 97 pitches in six innings and 95 and 97 in five. "I need to go longer in the game."
The win improved the Diamondbacks' record to 6-0 in series finales and 5-0 on getaway days.
"They're playing extremely well in all aspects of the game," said winning pitcher J.J. Putz. "They've been pitching really well. They've been getting key hits. We were able to salvage one win here. Anytime you can come in here and at least get one, it's always a bonus."
Notes: Rockies pitcher Jhoulys Chacin (back strain) was placed on the disabled list retroactive to Saturday and will undergo an MRI on Monday. Reliever Rob Scahill, who had a 1.04 ERA in six September appearances for the Rockies, was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he is 2-0 with a 4.26 ERA in five games. Chacin left his start Friday after 6 1/3 scoreless innings when he threw his 100th pitch and felt back pain. He will miss at least two starts. ... Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler was not in the lineup. He was hit in the right hand with a pitch in the third inning on Saturday night but stayed in the game. One week ago in San Diego, he fouled a ball off his left foot. Fowler has one hit in his past 15 at-bats, but manager Walt Weiss said he wanted to rest Fowler because he had been getting "dinged up" and not because of how he was hitting. ... Rockies first baseman Todd Helton was not in the lineup for the second straight game because of a left forearm strain. Helton received an anti-inflammatory injection and said he wouldn't play Monday. If he is still sore Tuesday, Helton said the disabled list would have to be a consideration ... Gregorius was back in the lineup after not playing Saturday night. Gregorius was on the disabled list until April 16 with a right elbow strain and Gibson said he didn't plan on playing Gregorius three straight games because "he's back, but on the back end of his rehab. I don't want to play him every day. That wouldn't be smart." Gregorius made his major-league debut Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.