Hoffman became the first pitcher in club history to give up nine runs in an inning at home, and the second overall. Mark Redman surrendered 10 runs in the first inning at Dodger Stadium on April 26, 2010.
It was not the kind of finish Hoffman expected. He left after 3 2/3 innings, despite pitching well for the first three. For example, in the second, with a runner at third and one out, Hoffman forced a Daniel Descalso grounder that couldn't score the run, then retired Chris Iannetta to end the inning.
Not much later, Hoffman would give up more runs than the eight off him in his 32 previous innings.
"In the fourth, I just couldn't get the ball down below thigh-high, and they put good swings on bad pitches," Hoffman said.
Hoffman could have had a similar escape to the second in the fourth. With one out, after a couple close misses to Brandon Drury, Hoffman hung a full-count slider that led to two runs.
Had he won that confrontation, the Rockies had plenty of options -- such as intentionally walking Descalso to make a force possible, or simply facing him.
Descalso grounded out again, but it foreshadowed the D-backs' strategy -- attack first pitches over the plate.
Iannetta doubled in a run for a 3-1 D-backs lead. After an intentional walk to Nick Ahmed, D-backs pitcher Taijuan Walker singled to drive in a run, and Charlie Blackmon committed an error in center.
"I threw him a cookie, and he put the bat on the ball and hit it hard," Hoffman said.
And the inning spun out of control.
"For Jeff tonight, it was a learning experience, no doubt about it," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "When he was a couple pitches away from keeping that game in order, it didn't happen. And he'll remember this one for a while, and be able to reflect back on it, and learn from it and be a better big league pitcher for it."
Hoffman was mixing a fastball, curve and slider effectively for the first three innings, then saw them all desert him in the fourth.
"I don't think it matters what pitch it is," Hoffman said. "If you do what you're supposed to and throw it where it needs to be, it doesn't matter whether it's a fastball or off-speed pitch."