PHOENIX -- Nick Ahmed knows he has been labeled a "slick-fielding, light-hitting shortstop," but it doesn't mean he has to like it, or always play like one.
Ahmed showed his prowess at the plate Friday night, delivering a career-high five RBIs as the D-backs outlasted the Rockies, 9-8, at Chase Field.
"That's not who I want to be," Ahmed said of the label. "I don't think anybody wants that reputation. I feel like I've gotten a lot better, too. I'm just going to try and get better each day and stay in the moment and not try to do too much, and hopefully the team will have a great year."
Ahmed got the D-backs off to a good start when he capped a five-run first inning with a three-run homer to left field off Rockies starter Tyler Anderson.
"The pitch I hit was a changeup down," Ahmed said. "He's got a good changeup, we all knew that. So I was trying to get everything up in the zone. With two strikes, I was kind of battling a little, and the pitch was down and I was just trying to stay middle of the field and not hit the ball on the ground. I got it up in the air enough to drive in the guy from third and hit it over the fence, so that was pretty sweet."
Ahmed drove home a run in the third with a single to left and drove home the go-ahead run in the fifth with a line-drive single to right.
"Definitely a credit to the guys in front of me getting on base and giving me the opportunity to drive guys in," Ahmed said. "I think you're going to see that all year. Guys are going to be on base, and hopefully we're going to have good approaches in those opportunities."
Ahmed's offense helped make a winner of Robbie Ray, who struggled while allowing seven runs (six earned) on seven hits over five innings. He walked three and fanned eight.
"Just too many walks, and they made me pay for it," said Ray. "Guys getting on base, and then they did damage when they were on, so just got to limit that and be better."
The D-backs' bullpen came up big behind Ray, allowing one run over the final four frames.
Jorge De La Rosa worked the sixth, Archie Bradley allowed a run in the seventh while facing the heart of the order and Yoshihisa Hirano handled the eighth.
Brad Boxberger, who was acquired in November from the Rays, pitched the ninth to earn his first save as a D-back and his first since Oct. 1, 2015.
"He did everything we asked," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "That was his first appearance against a very [good] offensive team. He comes out and throws some quality pitches to the heart of their lineup. It's not easy to do, but I've seen him do it before, and I know he was prepared and ready for the challenge."
"I'll tell you what, he had a very good offensive year last year before he got hurt," Lovullo said. "He's constantly working, constantly adjusting and preparing for moments like today, and he deserves a moment like today."
Blackmon's blast:Charlie Blackmon's first hit of the season was a big one. With two on and one out in the fourth, Blackmon delivered a home run off the batter's eye in center that capped the five-run inning and tied the game at 7.
"Every inning against the Rockies is a fight," Ahmed said. "No matter how many runs we're up, we never assume that the game is over. We're always trying to push runs across."
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Rockies pinch-hitter Mike Tauchman was called safe at first as the D-backs tried to complete a double play. Arizona challenged the call, but the call was confirmed.
D-backs second baseman Ketel Marte was ejected by home-plate umpire Eric Cooper in the sixth inning after slamming (and breaking) his bat following a third-strike call. It was Marte's first career ejection.
Lovullo came out to talk to Cooper after the ejection, but agreed that it was warranted.
"To me, you can't act that aggressively at home plate and break your bat," Lovullo said.
Rockies: Saturday's series finale at Chase Field appears to be a good spot for Black to start Ryan McMahon, the Rockies' No. 2 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, and No. 41 prospect overall. Righty German Marquez (11-7, 4.39 last year) will start for the Rox, opposing D-backs righty Zack Greinke. Game time is 6:10 p.m. MT.
D-backs: Zack Greinke will make his season debut Saturday night at 5:10 p.m. MST against the Rockies. Greinke would have started Opening Night, but a right groin injury in mid-March delayed his preparation.
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