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D-backs ride homers to first sweep of season

Goldschmidt, Owings, Montero all go deep against Rockies

DENVER -- It took 62 games, more than one-third of the season, but the D-backs finally have the satisfaction of sweeping a series. In keeping with the bumpy road they have traveled in 2014, it wasn't easy.

And not surprisingly, the achievement came on the road Thursday, when they polished off the Rockies, 12-7.

The D-backs are 17-14 on the road but have a Major League-worst home record of 9-22. This three-game series was a welcome interlude for the D-backs. They have lost three straight games at Chase Field, where they went 3-3 on the homestand preceding this series and where they play their next five games against the Braves and Astros.

The D-backs had last swept the Rockies on July 5-7, 2013, at Chase Field and last accomplished the feat at Coors Field on April 4-6, 2008. While winning the final two games of this series, the D-backs piled up 28 runs on 39 hits, five of them homers. In those two victories, they also went 15-for-30 with runners in scoring position.

"As everybody knows, the ball carries very well here," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We elevated a lot of balls, got some extra-base hits, got some hits when they counted. We kept the line moving and did good enough defensively and pitching. We got on a little bit of a roll. We want to continue that."

The defeat extended the Rockies' losing streak to seven games, their longest skid since they dropped nine straight games in September 2012.

The D-backs scored in seven innings, including five of the first six. They knocked out starter Juan Nicasio in the sixth and had built a 7-2 lead. All those runs were charged to Nicasio, (5-4) who yielded season-highs in runs and hits (11), including solo homers to Miguel Montero in the third, his seventh of the season, and Paul Goldschmidt in the fifth, his 11th.

But then the D-backs had to hold on tight as the Rockies offense came alive.

Bronson Arroyo gave up a leadoff homer in the bottom of the sixth to Troy Tulowitzki, his 16th, followed by Michael Cuddyer's double. But Arroyo (5-4) got Corey Dickerson to ground out, struck out Wilin Rosario and got Charlie Culberson to pop out to escape further damage.

"It's a very strange place to pitch," Arroyo said. "I threw a lot of fastballs today, stayed away from the breaking ball because it's hard to make it move here. I probably threw two-thirds fastballs, which isn't usual for me."

The Rockies struck for three runs with two out in the seventh to trim the D-backs' lead to 7-6. The first run was charged to Arroyo, who gave up four runs in 6 1/3 innings, when Drew Stubbs' dribbler down the third-base linescored DJ LeMahieu, who led off with a walk. Trevor Cahill relieved Arroyo, walked Tulowitzki, gave up a run-scoring singles to Cuddyer and Dickerson and then walked Rosario to load the bases. He left without recording an out.

When Rockies manager Walt Weiss summoned lefty-swinging Justin Morneau to pinch-hit, Gibson countered with Oliver Perez, who got Morneau to ground out on an 0-1 fastball.

"I think it was the biggest pitch of the game," catcher Montero said. "Obviously in that situation, Morneau can change the game with one swing, and Perez made a heck of a pitch. And we got lucky, I guess."

Chris Owings, who went 5-for-11 with seven RBIs in the series, made it 9-6 with a two-run homer with two out in the eighth off Chris Martin, who was recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Colorado Springs for his second stint with the Rockies this season. Owings' fifth homer of the season gave him four RBIs for the game.

Rockies pinch-hitter Brandon Barnes hit an inside-the-park homer in the eighth to cut Arizona's lead to 9-7. The ball ricocheted off the base of the wall in center, leaving center fielder Ender Inciarte to make a futile chase as Barnes rounded the bases.

"I feel like I keep on saying the same thing, but we battled back," Tulowitzki said. "We didn't quit. We came out there and played hard, so you can't fault these guys in the locker room. They're coming to play every single day. It's just not happening right now."

The D-backs iced the game with a three-run ninth, parlaying four singles and third baseman Cuddyer's error into breathing room for Addison Reed in the ninth and cinching the win for Arroyo and the team's long-awaited series sweep.

"This place is hard to come in and pitch, especially you got [Chase] Anderson, myself and [Josh] Collmenter throwing and nobody's a hard thrower," Arroyo said. "You just don't know what you're going to get; these guys hit so well at home. We outslugged them in the series, which was nice."

Jack Etkin is a contributor to
Read More: Arizona Diamondbacks, Miguel Montero, Bronson Arroyo, Paul Goldschmidt, Chris Owings