Miguel Montero was sprinting toward second base when he caught sight of his drive leaving the yard. Only then did the Arizona Diamondbacks catcher punch his fist in the air and gear down into a trot.
Montero singled and scored the tying run in the seventh inning and then hit a two-run home run in the eighth, lifting the Arizona Diamondbacks past the Colorado Rockies 6-5 Tuesday night.
“It didn’t cross my mind that I had it,” Montero said. “I was pretty sure it was going to hit the gap and I wanted to make it a double or triple, but I never thought it was going to go out. I hit it good.”
Montero has been doing a lot of that lately. The homer was his fourth in his last seven games. He has now hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games, batting .404 (21 for 52) in that span.
“He’s doing a lot of damage when he comes up to bat,” Arizona manager A.J. Hinch said. “He’s zoning in on a lot of good pitches. His swing has been smooth the last couple of weeks to a month of regular playing time. He inflicts so much energy into our team and obviously he’s come up with clutch hits.”
Mark Reynolds began the decisive rally with a one-out single off reliever Juan Rincon (1-1). Montero followed with a drive that sailed over the center-field fence for his eighth homer of the season and a 6-4 Diamondbacks‘ lead.
Pinch-hitter Ryan Spilborghs tripled off the right-field scoreboard to pull the Rockies within a run in the eighth but it wasn’t enough for the Rockies, who were limited to one hit in the final five innings after taking an early 3-0 lead.
“Credit their bullpen for shutting our offense down,” Colorado manager Jim Tracy said. “You can’t do a lot with one hit from the fifth inning on and that one came from our bench.”
Juan Gutierrez (2-2) picked up the win with an inning of scoreless relief. Chad Qualls got four outs for his 18th save in 22 chances.
Aaron Cook, bidding for a seventh consecutive winning decision, went 6 1-3 innings and gave up eight hits and four runs, the last of which evened the score at 4-all.
“That was a tough one because you feel like when you get up by three runs, we should have been able to put it away,” Cook said. “I feel like I got a couple of pitches up and they capitalized and it’s just a tough team loss.”
Montero led off the seventh with a single and Cook got Chris Young to pop out before being relieved by Franklin Morales. Successive walks to pinch-hitter Josh Whitesell and Augie Ojeda loaded the bases before Stephen Drew singled for the fourth time, scoring Montero with the tying run.
Arizona pulled to 3-1 on Justin Upton‘s run-scoring groundout in the fourth but the Rockies scored again in their half of the inning. Cook had his second sacrifice of the night to put Chris Iannetta into scoring position at second base and Dexter Fowler singled with two outs for the second time to once again give the Rockies a three-run cushion.
The Diamondbacks‘ two-run sixth was aided by center fielder Fowler’s misjudment of Upton’s liner to center that fell for a one-out triple. Fowler initially ran up on the ball but it curved past him, allowing Ojeda, aboard with a walk, and Drew, who had singled, to score to make it 4-3.
“I wouldn’t consider that a complete misplay by Dexter,” Tracy said. “That was one of those knuckleball jobs that took a left-hand turn as he was squaring up to make the catch.”
Fowler said he thought he was in the right place to make the play.
“You just never know with those kinds of balls,” he said. “It was knuckling and I was right there and it just cut on me.”
Max Scherzer struck out the side in the first inning but he took 30 pitches to do it, tossing nearly one third of the 95 pitches he threw during a four-inning outing in which he allowed four runs.
Tulowitzki led off the second with his 17th homer. Ian Stewart followed with a triple and came home on a wild pitch by Scherzer. Fowler added an RBI single in the inning.
Right-handed reliever Ryan Speier (hamstring strain) was activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to the game and the Rockies optioned right-handed reliever Joel Peralta to Triple-A Colorado Springs. … Tulowitzki’s 17 homers are tops among major league shortstops.