Randal Grichuk has been playing in the majors long enough to know that being swept in a three-game series can lead to major troubles.
The Colorado Rockies outfielder made sure his club didn’t see its losing streak stretch to four and now will look to help the squad post consecutive wins when the Rockies face the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night in Phoenix in the second contest of a four-game series.
The 30-year-old Grichuk played the role of hero in Thursday’s series opener when he hit a booming tiebreaking double to deep right center in the top of the ninth inning as the Rockies posted a 4-3 triumph.
Colorado had scored just six total runs in losing the three straight games to the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to arriving in a city in which the team has experienced countless issues.
“Anytime you get swept, you know you can go down in a spiral that’s not good,” Grichuk said afterward. “For us to come get the first game here in Arizona, that’s huge. Hopefully we can build on that and win a series.”
The victory was just Colorado’s sixth in its past 18 games in Phoenix. The Rockies have dropped their past five series at Chase Field.
But they are now one win away from ensuring at least a split, partly thanks to Grichuk, who doubled twice in four at-bats and also scored a run.
Jose Iglesias also was 2-for-4 and he started the ninth inning with a hard single to left off Arizona’s Mark Melancon. Iglesias scampered home on Grichuk’s double, avoiding the tag of Diamondbacks catcher Carson Kelly with a hook slide.
“He smoked that ball and got that inning rolling and luckily I was able to drive him in,” Grichuk said of Iglesias. “Luckily I was able to stay tight on the cutter and got it far enough away from the center fielder.”
Kelly homered and drove in all three of Arizona’s runs in the opener.
The Diamondbacks have lost two straight games after winning the first two contests of a three-game home set against the San Francisco Giants.
Arizona’s bullpen allowed five runs over the final two innings of Wednesday’s 7-5 loss to the Giants and Melancon couldn’t get the job done in the ninth on Thursday.
“I felt like we had some opportunities,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said after Thursday’s loss. “We’ve got to find a way to make good things happen. We’re all a little bit frustrated.”
Arizona’s Zac Gallen (4-2, 3.40 ERA) and Colorado’s Chad Kuhl (5-5, 3.83) will square off Friday for the second time in five days. Both right-handers received no-decisions in the Rockies’ 6-5 home win on Sunday.
Gallen gave up three runs and four hits over six innings. C.J. Cron’s three-run blast in the sixth accounted for all the runs off Gallen.
Kuhl gave up five runs and seven hits over five innings. David Peralta roughed him up for a grand slam in the fifth inning.
Kuhl is just 1-3 over his past six starts but the victory was a gem. He gave up just three hits against the Dodgers on June 27 for his first career shutout.
The 29-year-old has a 4.91 ERA in two no-decisions against Arizona this season, and is 0-1 with a 7.58 ERA in five career appearances (four starts). Ketel Marte is 3-for-4 with a homer against Kuhl.
Gallen, 26, has received four straight no-decisions and is winless in six outings since beating the Atlanta Braves on May 30.
He is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts against Colorado this season, and 3-1 with a 2.38 ERA in nine career starts. Charlie Blackmon is 10-for-24 with three doubles against Gallen.
–Field Level Media