Ketel Marte was told his playing time would decrease. A struggling bullpen was informed their roles would be juggled.
They responded in a big way.
Marte drove in four runs, including a two-out, two-run triple to break a sixth-inning tie, reliever Yoshihisa Hirano helped Arizona weather a ninth-inning scare for his first big league save and the Diamondbacks pulled closer in the NL West standings by beating the first-place Colorado Rockies 6-3 on Tuesday night.
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The Diamondbacks cut their deficit in the division to 2½ games. The Rockies maintained a 1½ -game advantage over the Los Angeles Dodgers, who lost for a second straight day in Cincinnati. Colorado is chasing after its first NL West crown in franchise history.
“We needed to win a game,” said reliever Brad Ziegler, whose team stopped a three-game skid. “It doesn’t matter how it happens as long as we walk away happy at the end of the night.”
With Marte, the plan is to use the Daniel Descalso a little more down the stretch. Marte made his case to remain in the lineup with his league-leading 11th triple. He also added a two-run single in the eighth for a 6-3 lead.
“I’ll be ready whenever they need me,” Marte said.
As for the bullpen, it’s been altered after some struggles of late.
“They kind of said from about the sixth inning on, everybody be ready at any point,” Ziegler explained.
Zack Greinke (14-9) gave up two runs in the first before recovering his command to allow three runs in 6 2/3 innings. He retired 15 straight batters at one point as he beat the Rockies for a third time this season.
Pinch-hitter Matt Holliday nearly tied the game at 4 in the seventh off Greinke, with his two-out double to right-center hitting off the top of the wall. That would’ve been a homer in his first stint with the Rockies, but team the raised the wall in 2016.
Andrew Chafin relieved Greinke and walked two straight. He was replaced by Brad Ziegler, who retired DJ LeMahieu on a groundout. Ziegler also bottled up the Rockies in the eight.
Jake Diekman started the ninth, only to surrender a double to Carlos Gonzalez and a bunt single to Ryan McMahon. Hirano struck out two straight, then retired Charlie Blackmon on a flyout.
“We had a lot of chances. Tonight we didn’t get the big hit,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “They made some pitches when they needed to.”
Antonio Senzatela (4-6) gave up two runs in the first and four runs total over six innings. The Rockies pitching staff has a 7.75 ERA in the opening frame.
Senzatela was cruising along until two outs in the sixth when he thought he threw strike three to end a harmless inning. Paul Goldschmidt took the pitch for a ball and followed with a double. A.J. Pollock reached on an infield single, and Marte lined a changeup past a diving McMahon at first to make 4-2.
Greinke masterfully varied speeds and pitches all night to keep the Rockies off balance. A sample: He struck out McMahon on a 90 mph fastball, Tony Wolters on a 83 mph slider and both Trevor Story and Carlos Gonzalez on curves ranging from 65-to-67 mph.
“You just never know what you’re going to get,” Story said. “He just keeps hitters off balance.”
David Peralta hit a two-run homer in the first that landed in the trees over the fence in straightaway center. Colorado answered as Blackmon doubled to lead off the first. Nolan Arenado and Story both delivered RBI doubles.
THIS & THAT
Goldschmidt finished 1 for 3 with a walk to extend his streak of reaching base in road games to 47 straight. ... Greinke struck out five to reach 2,421 and move one ahead of Max Scherzer for 43rd place. ... Story has 100 RBIs to become the second major league shortstop with at least 30 homers, 100 RBIs and 25 stolen bases in a season. Story joins Alex Rodriguez.
The Diamondbacks send LHP Patrick Corbin (11-9, 3.01) to the mound Wednesday against the Rockies. He’s 6-1 with a 2.33 ERA against the division this season. The Rockies will throw righty Jon Gray (11-7, 4.69), who is 4-0 with a 3.17 ERA since being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque.
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