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Tapia's slam caps 6-run 7th, lifts Rox in slugfest

Arenado hits two homers as Rockies top D-backs for sixth straight win
MLB.com @harding_at_mlb

PHOENIX -- The Rockies' Raimel Tapia had just watched normally reliable D-backs relief pitcher Archie Bradley walk in a run -- his third walk of the seventh inning. But Tapia had no temptation to wish for a fourth on Friday.

Instead, Tapia swung at the first two pitches, then -- with the count even -- launched a grand slam to right field to lift the Rockies to an 11-10 victory over the D-backs at Chase Field.

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PHOENIX -- The Rockies' Raimel Tapia had just watched normally reliable D-backs relief pitcher Archie Bradley walk in a run -- his third walk of the seventh inning. But Tapia had no temptation to wish for a fourth on Friday.

Instead, Tapia swung at the first two pitches, then -- with the count even -- launched a grand slam to right field to lift the Rockies to an 11-10 victory over the D-backs at Chase Field.

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"I stuck to my strength, which is being aggressive in the zone, being ready to hit," said Tapia, 24, whose aggressive approach has earned him an extended look in a bench role. "Sometimes you try to play that game of changing and stuff."

Video: COL@ARI: Tapia belts a go-ahead grand slam in the 7th

Tapia's first homer of the season -- and third in 102 Major League games -- meant Nolan Arenado's two homers could be celebrated for more than just pulling him into a tie with the Brewers' Jesus Aguilar for the National League lead with 25.

Most importantly, it kept the Rockies -- winners of 14 of the last 17 games, and six straight -- two games behind the NL West-leading Dodgers, and a half-game behind the second-place D-backs.

"It was a helluva game," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "Knock-down, drag-out situation, and we prevailed."

It didn't come easily. Adam Ottavino, closing because Wade Davis was at the team hotel due to an illness, gave up two hits and a run, and committed an error in 1 1/3 innings. But he benefited from a run-saving catch by center fielder Charlie Blackmon, then froze Jon Jay on a 1-2 fastball with the potential tying run at third to complete his third save.

Video: COL@ARI: Arenado belts 2 home runs vs. the D-backs

It was reminiscent of the D-backs' 11-8 victory over the Rockies in last year's NL Wild Card Game and so many Rockies-D-backs games.

"One of those Rockies-Diamondbacks games -- 11-10, typical," Ottavino said. "I said, 'What if Tapia hits a grand slam here,' to Jake McGee [in the bullpen]. And he did. That was awesome."

The two-out slam was part of a six-run outburst against Bradley -- who had thrown scoreless ball in all but three of his previous 23 games. The right-handed Bradley had held lefty hitters to 1-for-33 over his previous 18 games, but the leadoff walk to Blackmon, an RBI single to Carlos Gonzalez (one of his two hits through gaping holes on the left side), walks to Gerardo Parra and Wolters and the homer all came from left-handed hitters.

Video: COL@ARI: Black on Tapia's grand slam in 11-10 win

Tapia, who hit for average throughout the Minors but found his power with 10 homers this year in Triple-A, is beginning to contribute off the bench. He delivered a pinch-hit, RBI single off the D-backs lefty Andrew Chafin in the game-deciding sixth inning of a 5-1 victory at Coors on July 12.

On Friday night, he swung through a pitch, fouled one off, then worked the count to 2-2 before swatting Bradley's 96 mph fastball a projected 387 feet to give the Rockies an 11-8 lead.

"You've got to give 'Tap' a ton of credit there for having an at-bat in a big spot and delivering," Black said. "It's great to see for a young player to do that, because it tells you there's growth. He's been in in the big leagues for a couple of years, and it's a process.

"Here he is, to a point to where he has had some big league at-bats where the moment is not fazing him."

Video: COL@ARI: Gonzalez hits an RBI single to left-center

Arenado's two two-run shots came off D-backs starter Robbie Ray, in the first and fifth innings. But that wasn't going to be enough because of a starting pitching hiccup -- rare during the current run but always feared because of the Rockies' less-than-seasoned starting staff, and a bullpen that has spent the last month-plus searching for consistency.

Righty German Marquez gave up eight hits and six runs (five earned) in five innings, leaving with a one-run deficit. His biggest contribution was a 2-for-2, one-RBI night that left his batting average at .361. Marquez, a rookie on last year's squad that made the postseason, entered having won his last three starts with a 1.80 ERA in 20 innings.

Video: COL@ARI: Ottavino, Blackmon on game-saving defense

Most observers believe the Rockies are not likely to swing a deal for a more experienced starter before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline -- in part because they value the talent of pitchers like Marquez over the pitchers expected to be available. He said Friday's game "sped up," but he'll correct things.

"For me, stay calm, under control," Marquez said. "That's the battle that I've got to fight and conquer."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Ottavino's throwing error let Jake Lamb reach to open the ninth and Ketel Marte singled, then stole second. Ottavino then left a pitch over the plate that Alex Avila lined into to right-center. Blackmon made a sliding catch to limit Avila to a sacrifice fly.

Video: COL@ARI: Blackmon runs 68 ft. for clutch diving catch

"I thought he had no shot at it, honestly," Ottavino said.

Blackmon said the catch, which was rated a 4-star play with 37 percent catch probability, was harder than it had to be.

"Actually, I had taken two steps toward the wrong gap just before that pitch," Blackmon said. "So I'm glad I didn't take three, or we might still be playing."

SOUND SMART
It was Arenado's 14th multi-homer game and second this season. He hit two at Wrigley Field on May 2. Additionally, Arenado is tied with the Cubs' Javier Baez for the NL lead in RBIs with 72.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, who homered Tuesday night in his first All-Star Game, flashed the other part of his game -- athletic defense -- in the bottom of the seventh. Story ranged to the second-base side on the outfield grass for Nick Ahmed's bouncer, slid, spun and threw to first base.

Ahmed was called safe, but the play was overturned via review -- and will no doubt be on Story's highlight reel.

Video: COL@ARI: Story nabs Ahmed at first after challenge

UP NEXT

Lefty Kyle Freeland (8-6, 3.11) will face the D-backs and righty Zack Godley (11-6, 4.61) on Saturday night in a 6:10 p.m. MT matchup. Last time they met, on July 12, the D-backs ran Freeland's pitch count to 98 in 5 1/3 innings. But Freeland held them to one run on six hits but received a no-decision in the Rockies' 5-1 victory.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.

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