If facing Zack Greinke (0-1, 15.75) to open the 2016 Major League Baseball season was supposed to be a character builder, the Colorado Rockies have a lot of character. Rookie Trevor Story got under a Greinke fastball in the 3rd with one in and runners on 2nd and 3rd and lifted it into the right-field stands to put the Rockies out to a 4-1 lead. They would eventually run it to 7-1 before a bunch of drama in the middle innings, then Nolan Arenado delivered a coup-de-gras in the 8th to propel Colorado to a 10-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday night at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Jorge De La Rosa got the start against Greinke, and was OK early, getting nicked for one in the 2nd when David Peralta singled with one out, Yasmani Tomas doubled him to 3rd, and Greinke knocked him in with a Baltimore chopper over the head of DLR. Colorado answered big in the top of the 3rd. DJ LeMahieu led off with a sharp single to right and moved-up on a De La Rosa chopper over a charging Jake Lamb. Charlie Blackmon plated LeMahieu with a double into the right-center gap to tie the game, then Story dropped his bomb about 10 rows over the right-field wall. Carlos Gonzalez took Greinke deep with a line-shot to right center, then Gerardo Parra doubled with one out and LeMahieu knocked him in with a 2-out single and Nick Hundley on 1st for a 6-1 Colorado advantage.
Story would lead-off the 4th with a large solo shot to left that ran it to 7-1, but De La Rosa, who had a disappointing night, gave 2 back in the bottom of the inning on a Peralto single and Lamb homer. DLR couldn’t make it out of the 5th, surrendering a leadoff single to Segura and getting burned on another, disputed Baltimore chopper (looked safe to me— I don’t know what ROOT was looking at) by Chris Owings to bring Paul Goldschmidt to the plate. DLR wanted nothing to do with Goldshmidt, walking him on 4 pitches, then got Welington Castillo and Peralta on a pop fly and a strikeout, but Tomas singled to make it 7-5, and after De La Rosa walked Lamb, Rockies’ manager Walt Weiss was forced to pull the left-hander for Justin Miller (1-0, 0.00), who struck-out pinch hitter Phil Gosselin.
In the 6th it was Miller who got in trouble. Nick Ahmed singled leading-off and Segura drove him to 3rd with a single, then Owings lined a screamer toward Arenado, who turned-in his first defensive gem of the season, snaring the drive and diving to the bag to double-off Ahmed. Miller set down Goldschmidt, now batting with 2 out, finishing-off what turned-out to be the first of 4 scoreless innings by the Colorado pen.
When the 8th inning rolled-around, Dbacks manager Chip Hale had Andrew Chafin on the hill, and Chafin walked Blackmon with one out and allowed a Gonzalez single with 2. Hale turned to right-handed Silvio Bracho to face Arenado, and “the Book” failed as Arenado blasted Bracho’s first offering into the left-field night, running the score out of the Dbacks’ reach at 10-5. Boone Logan, who pitched a clean 7th, and Chad Qualls handled the 8th for Colorado, and Miguel Castro worked his way through the 9th to seal victory number 1 in game number 1 for the local nine.
The Division rivals go back at it tonight. Chad Bettis will go for Colorado against Arizona’s second big offseason splash, right-hander Shelby Miller. Game time is once again 7:40 in Phoenix.