Rockies roll on Stubbs' go-ahead jack in ninth
Center fielder contributes solo homer in final frame, records last out
PHOENIX -- With all the heavy lumber the Rockies have unleashed in the last two days against the D-backs at Chase Field, Drew Stubbs was basically sitting on the bench as an afterthought -- until the ninth inning on Tuesday night.
Stubbs smacked a go-ahead solo homer off D-backs closer Addison Reed to open the final inning and win the game, 5-4. He then ended it with a catch toward the 407-foot mark in dead center on a drive hit by Eric Chavez with the tying run on second and potential winner on first.
It was all in a brief night's work. Asked which of the two feats he preferred, Stubbs said, "I'd say the home run. When you get to the point where you have to make a catch to end the game, that gets a little more nerve-racking. It was two contributions to an all-around team effort and a win, which is most important."
Stubbs had plenty of help. Troy Tulowitzki continued his sizzling hot streak, picking up where he left off in Monday night's 8-5 win. He reached base safely eight times in his nine plate appearances during the first two games of the three-game series that ends on Wednesday night.
In the past two games, Tulowitzki has had two homers, two doubles, a single, three walks, five RBIs and three runs scored. He gave the Rockies a short-lived 4-3 lead with his seventh homer of the season, a two-run blast in the sixth against rookie D-backs starter Mike Bolsinger.
A.J. Pollock answered with a homer of his own after Boone Logan struck out the first two batters of the eighth to tie the score, 4-4, setting the stage for Stubbs.
In addition, Nolan Arenado extended his Major League-leading hitting streak to 19 games and Justin Morneau kept pace with him by hitting safely in his 13th consecutive game. The pair combined to drive in two runs in the fourth when Morneau tripled home Tulowitzki and Arenado knocked Morneau in with a single.
"I think right now you see signs of a group that is coming together and understands how important it is to win," Tulowitzki said. "You see young guys buying in to doing things right to try and win the games. That's what we've been trying to accomplish here for the last few years. This group has a firm grip on that, to prepare every day to win. That's what's important to me."
To Tulowitzki's point, the Rockies increased their record to 16-12 by winning their fourth series in a row and first in Arizona since the last weekend of the 2012 season. In doing so, they kept pace in the National League West as the first month of the season is ending, a half game behind the first-place Giants, winners at home against the Padres.
Conversely, the D-backs slump continued as they lost at home for the 15th time this season in 17 games. Their overall record of 8-22 and .267 winning percentage are the worst in the Majors.
The D-backs had numerous chances to win this one, but none better than the opening Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood gave them when he loaded the bases with none out in the sixth inning and had to leave because of right elbow tightness.
Chatwood walked Aaron Hill, allowed a Chavez single and walked Pollock to load the bases. After throwing ball one to Chris Owings, Rockies trainers and manager Walt Weiss went to the mound and removed him in favor of right-hander Chris Martin.
"I was going to give [Chatwood] another hitter because he's been one of our best ground-ball guys," Weiss said. "It's a tough spot to bring in a kid with the bases loaded and nobody out. I was going to give Chatty an opportunity to get a double-play ball and then go from there. It worked out where Martin came into the game and was fantastic."
After an extended warmup, Martin retired the next three batters on six pitches to get out of the jam.
Martin came on with a 1-0 count to Owings, who jumped on the first pitch and grounded to third baseman Arenado, who turned it into an easy force at the plate. Pinch-hitter Roger Kieschnick struck out and Tony Campana grounded out to second, Martin ranging over quickly to barely take the throw in time at first base.
"That was a tough situation. Two ground balls and a strikeout," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We got nothing out of it."
In contrast to the Rockies, who are on a roll, that's been the tale so far of Arizona's season.