PHOENIX (AP) — Leave it to Arizona manager Kirk Gibson to provide an absolute truth about baseball, and to explain the plight of his punchless Diamondbacks in the process.
“You are never going to win,” he said, “if you don’t score.”
Arizona returned home after winning three of its last four on the road and fell flat against the surging Colorado Rockies and their young left-hander Christian Friedrich, losing 4-0 on Monday night in the opener of a six-game home stand.
“We weren’t able to swing the bats at all,” Gibson said. “It has been a trend.”
Justin Upton went 0 for 4 and is 4 for his last 28 at bats. Chris Young was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and is 6 for 46 (.130) since returning from the disabled list. The lineup’s recent bright spot, Paul Goldschmidt, who earlier in the game doubled to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, struck out twice with runners in scoring position.
“Any time you get shut out it is going to be frustrating,” Goldschmidt said. “Joe (Saunders) did well. The bullpen did well. Obviously we weren’t able to score enough runs — any runs.”
For the second game in a row, Colorado got a terrific outing from a young starting pitcher.
Friedrich pitched four-hit ball for seven innings in the best start of his young career and the Rockies won for the seventh time in eight games.
The 24-year-old left-hander struck out four and walked two, both in the first inning, to improve to 4-1 in six starts. The performance came one day after 23-year-old Alex White surrendered just two hits in 6 2-3 innings in the Rockies’ 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Wilin Rosario had a solo home run and an RBI infield single for the Rockies, who snapped a five-game Chase Field losing streak. Saunders (3-4) allowed four runs on 11 hits in 6 2-3 innings to take the loss.
Matt Belisle and Adam Ottavino each pitched an inning to complete the shutout.
With the victory, the Rockies pulled within a half-game of Arizona for third in the NL West.
Rosario not only sparked the offense, as catcher he nursed Friedrich through a somewhat shaky start to the game.
“I definitely didn’t have a feel for the fastball. It just wasn’t coming out right,” Friedrich said. “Willie started calling some other pitches off-speed and we got out of the jam. He had the confidence in me to throw those breaking ball pitches and it worked out.”
Dexter Fowler started the game with a triple to the right-center gap, extending his hitting streak to nine games. Marco Scutaro followed with a sacrifice fly and it was 1-0 in a hurry.
The Rockies got two more in the second after Todd Helton stretched his hitting streak to 10 games with a leadoff double, then Jordan Pacheco singled to put runners at first and third. Rosario beat out a grounder to shortstop for an infield hit and brought Helton home. DJ LeMahieu singled and Pacheco scored on catcher Henry Blanco’s passed ball to make it 3-0.
The Rockies added a run in the fourth when, on a 3-0 pitch, Rosario hit one into the swimming pool area in right-center, his ninth home run of the season.
Arizona loaded the bases in the first but came up empty. Willie Bloomquist drew a leadoff walk, then Goldschmidt’s two-out double put runners on second and third. Chris Young walked, but Jason Kubel’s fly out to center ended the inning.
The Diamondbacks threatened again in the fourth when Aaron Hill led off with a double and advanced to third when Upton grounded out, but Friedrich struck out Goldschmidt and Young. Gerardo Parra’s pinch-hit double led off the Arizona eighth and Hill drew a one-out walk. Upton grounded in to a fielder’s choice and, with runners at first and third, Belisle struck out Goldschmidt to end the inning.
NOTES: The seven innings tied Friedrich’s longest outing of the year. … Ian Kennedy (4-5, 4.26 ERA) goes for his second straight win for Arizona on Tuesday night, while the Rockies send Joe Guthrie (3-3, 5.48) to the mound. … In his nine-game hitting streak, Fowler is 17 for 32 with three triples, three homers, nine RBIs and 15 runs scored. … Arizona is 10-16 at home, Colorado 9-15 on the road. … Nine players had hits for the Rockies.