Bats come alive late for D-backs

PHOENIX — Miguel Montero wore a bubble gum container on his head, the clubhouse rocked to Fuel’s Hemorrhage (In My Hands) and Josh Collmenter traded high-fives with the training staff as the Diamondbacks partied out the end of April with the kind of victory that made them the comeback team last season.

Montero blasted his first career walk-off hit, his third home run of the season, to open the 10th inning, the final stroke as the D-backs’ recovered from a four-run deficit in their 5-4 victory over Colorado at Chase Field.

"It only took me 13 years," Montero said with a smile. "The first couple of swings, it was typical, swinging pretty hard, trying to launch one. It’s a funny game. The last one, I was just trying to protect with two strikes."

Everyone was smiling in the D-backs’ clubhouse late Wednesday, a look they have not worn much during their 9-22 start that led to job speculation. 

The D-backs know there is a lot of ground to make up. But after snapping a four-game winning streak by recovering from a 4-0 deficit, players sensed something special about this one, which included a two-out, two-run rally in the ninth inning and two-strike hits by Chris Owings and Martin Prado. It was a flashback to 2013, when the D-backs won a major league-high 34 one-run games and 11 extra-inning games.

After Cody Ross singled to open the ninth, the D-backs were down to their final out before Owings lined an 0-2 pitch from Rex Brothers down the right field line that he turned into a hustle double with a quick turn around first base. Brothers hit Gerardo Parra on the right arm with a 3-1 pitch to load the bases before Prado hit a 0-2 slider up the middle for the game-tying single. Prado had three hits and is 8 for 20 in his last five starts.

"In games like that, situations like that, I feel like everybody in this locker room needs me," Prado said, "so I try to do the best I can to make the pitcher a tough time. When you give another pitcher a tough time, your teammates respect that, and I hope they respect that every time I go there. I want to step up for my team. 

"Everybody is battling to get out of this losing streak. It is a great feeling to win this game the way we did, because we know we are capable to do a lot of good stuff in baseball."

Collmenter was doing his normal post-start conditioning work in the weight room when the D-backs rallied after giving them seven innings, although the Rockies had a 4-0 lead on a Carlos Gonzalez homer and a homer from starter Jordan Lyles before Collmenter started to get into a rhythm and keep his pitches down.

"Just to see those at-bats in the ninth inning … that’s the thing you can tell that’s going on in this clubhouse," Collmenter said. "There is no quit. We are fighting all the way through to the end. I think that’s a good sign.

"It hasn’t been our month by any stretch of the imagination, but the fact that the atmosphere still remains loose and relaxed and guys are still having fun and enjoying it, that’s huge for us. Hopefully we can take that on the road and come back and defend our home turf."

Winning at home has not been easy — the D-backs have lost 12 of their last 14 at Chase Field as they begin a 10-game road trip to San Diego, Milwaukee and Chicago with a three-game series against the Padres on Friday.

It was not easy Wednesday, either, although Collmenter played a big part by retiring 14 of the final 16 batters he faced. Aaron Hill’s groundout scored Prado in the sixth inning, and Paul Goldschmidt’s bases-empty homer, his fourth homer of the season, made it 4-2 in the eighth.

The D-backs fought through the top of the 10th inning, too. Reed gave up a looping double off left fielder Ross’ glove to Corey Dickerson to lead off the inning, but with Dickerson on third Reed struck out Drew Stubbs with a high fastball and got Carlos Gonzalez on a liner to center. Stubbs’ opposite field homer off a Reed slider in the ninth inning Tuesday pushed the Rockies to a 5-4 victory.

Then Montero homered.

"This was huge for us," Reed said. "We haven’t had any walk-offs this year. We’ve been struggling to get wins, and to get it the way that we got it tonight is huge."

Montero’s winner came with what has become the standard coronation, a bucket of dirt to the head.

"We like dirt," Prado said. "It’s part of our game. We’re hoping that every single guy here can get dirt at some point this year."

D-backs 5, Rockies 4

Diamondbacks left fielder Cody Ross made a nice defensive play in the first inning, reaching into the seats to catch a foul fly ball. If Cubs left fielder Moises Alou had been able to do the same thing on Oct. 14, 2003, Steve Bartman would be living a normal life these days.

28 — home runs give up by the Diamondbacks’ starting pitchers, the most in the major leagues.

Chris Owings has a fan. Not only did Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa give Owings a standing ovation in the press box after his diving catch Tuesday, La Russa had more praise after Owings turned a line drive down the right field line into a hustle double in the ninth inning Wednesday. "I like him. He’s got speed," La Russa said.

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