PHOENIX -- When you hit in the middle of the D-backs' lineup, Jake Lamb says, it feels like there are always men on base.That was certainly the case in Thursday night's opener, as Lamb batted three times with the bases loaded and drove in four runs to power the D-backs
PHOENIX -- When you hit in the middle of the D-backs' lineup, Jake Lamb says, it feels like there are always men on base.
That was certainly the case in Thursday night's opener, as Lamb batted three times with the bases loaded and drove in four runs to power the D-backs to an 8-2 win over the Rockies in front of a sellout crowd of 48,703 at Chase Field.
Earlier in his career, the pressure of those moments might have gotten to Lamb, but the 27-year-old has grown comfortable with them.
"It happens so often that there's no added pressure whatsoever," Lamb said. "It's kind of just like a normal at-bat. It is a luxury. Guys that hit at the bottom of the order maybe don't have guys on, that's kind of when you start putting the pressure on yourself. I definitely did that my first year in the big leagues, hitting in that six, seven hole."
Lamb smoked a Jon Gray pitch off the right-center-field wall with the bases loaded in the first, plating a pair of runs in a three-run inning.
"Player of the game right there," D-backs reliever Archie Bradley said of his roommate. "I thought he went deep, though, so hopefully he got a quick postgame lift in to get that double to leave the yard next time."
With the bases full in the fifth, Lamb struck out against lefty Chris Rusin. But he got another bases-loaded opportunity in the sixth, and he blooped a single to left to score a pair of runs.
"Not get jammed," Lamb joked about what he was looking to do in that at-bat. "Just seeing something out over. I didn't execute my approach, but that's sometimes the beautiful game of baseball. I got lucky."
Hitting fourth in the D-backs lineup behind David Peralta, A.J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt means that Lamb will get plenty of opportunities to drive in runs. Last year, he set a career high with 105 RBIs.
"It's after a certain amount of reps, it's kind of like, 'This is happening all the time, this is just another AB,'" Lamb said. "My third at-bat with the bases loaded, I was already there twice, so there was no pressure whatsoever."
Lamb's offense made a winner of Patrick Corbin, who allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings in his first career Opening Day start.
"He had the good slider tonight," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "That was the key for him, the good breaking pitch. He went to it, and went to it often."
Gray took the loss for the Rockies, who received solo homers from DJ LeMahieu and Nolan Arenado. Gray allowed three runs in the first, but settled in after that and did not allow another run, despite departing with the bases loaded and no outs in the fifth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Answered right back: Much like they did against Gray in last year's National League Wild Card Game, the D-backs jumped on the right-hander early. After LeMahieu hit a solo homer in the top of the first, the D-backs' first three hitters reached base. Lamb followed with a two-run double, which hit off the wall in right-center field. Center fielder Charlie Blackmon appeared to possibly have a read on the ball, but the tricky overhang seemed to throw him off a little. The D-backs added another run on an RBI groundout from Alex Avila.
"It was great for our offense in the bottom of the first there to come back there and answer really quick and get the three runs," Corbin said. "They were great. They were on base all day, so that was fun to see."
Oh so close: After Rusin got out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth, Scott Oberg almost did the same in the sixth. Instead, Lamb fought off an inside fastball on an 0-1 pitch and blooped a single into left to score a pair. The D-backs scored three runs in the inning, but didn't hit any ball particularly hard, benefiting from a pair of walks, a bunt single and the bloop hit.
"It wasn't the most well-hit ball, but he put it in the right spot," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said.
That's why he's there: One of the reasons the D-backs didn't put Bradley in the closer's role was because they liked the flexibility of using him to get out of a jam in the seventh inning, and then have him pitch the eighth as well. That's just what happened, as the right-hander entered with one out in the seventh and runners on first and second, then got LeMahieu to hit into an inning-ending double play.
"There's something special when I come out of those [bullpen] gates and that crowd really gets into it, and I feel it, man," Bradley said. "It's a special feeling to run out and feel the crowd get behind you like that. It really gets the heart pumping and the adrenaline flowing. So I appreciate it, fans."
Rockies: Lefty Tyler Anderson (6-6, 4.81 ERA in 2017) starts against the D-backs on Friday at 7:40 p.m. MT. Keep an eye on Rockies right fielder Carlos Gonzalez, whose .733 slugging percentage in 15 at-bats against D-backs starter Robbie Ray is his second highest against a lefty he has at least 10 at-bats against.
D-backs: Ray makes his 2018 debut Friday night, as the D-backs take on the Rockies at Chase Field at 6:40 p.m. MST. Ray had a breakout year in 2017, when he established career bests in wins (15), ERA (2.89) and strikeouts (218).
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Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.