Photo by Associated Press.
Originally Published: May 8, 2017 6:01 a.m.
DENVER — Tyler Chatwood was off his game — and that was a good thing.
Usually one to throw harder and harder in times of trouble, Chatwood reversed that trend and leaned more on his off-speed pitches.
Throwing slower made him even more steady.
Chatwood pitched two-hit ball into the eighth inning before exiting after deflecting a comebacker with his pitching hand, Mark Reynolds homered for a third straight game and the Colorado Rockies beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2 on Sunday.
“I didn’t get predictable, throwing fastballs in fastball counts,” said Chatwood, who has a fastball around 97 mph and a curve at 77. “I took (that approach) out there and it translated.”
Pat Valaika lined a two-run homer and Charlie Blackmon added a solo shot into the second deck as the NL West-leading Rockies took two out of three from the Diamondbacks.
“Two out of three will get you to the playoffs,” Reynolds said. “That’s what we preach around here.”
Chatwood (3-4) surrendered a single to Jake Lamb in the fourth and was cruising along until he tried to corral Daniel Descalso’s infield hit with his right palm to start the eighth. Chatwood took a warmup toss before manager Bud Black motioned to the bullpen with the Rockies leading 5-0. Chatwood allowed one run over seven innings.
“I’m good. It didn’t hurt,” Chatwood said.
Taijuan Walker (3-2) surrendered three runs — one earned — over 5 2/3 innings. He was undone by some faulty fielding, including a flyball lost in the sun.
Arizona scored twice in the eighth before Mike Dunn got the final out of the inning with lightning visible in the background and the wind picking up. Rain followed and the game was delayed 1 hour, 22 minutes.
Greg Holland pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 13th save in as many chances.
The game-changing play took place in the sixth, when Reynolds reached on second baseman Chris Owings’ two-out error. Trevor Story followed with a towering fly to right, with David Peralta initially stumbling after it. Peralta got back to his feet in time, but then lost the ball in the sun, allowing Reynolds to score from first on Story’s double.
“I had my sunglasses on my head, but the sun wasn’t hitting right at me,” Peralta explained. “But when I fell down and tried to look for the ball I looked straight to the sun.”
Reliever J.J. Hoover entered and gave up Valaika’s first homer of the season to make it 4-0.
That was more than enough for Chatwood, who bounced back from two less-than-stellar outings.
“Not one guy hitting looked like they were comfortable up there,” Reynolds said of Chatwood’s performance. “That was good Chatty.”
Diamondbacks: Walker was hit on side of his right foot by a liner in the second inning. He stayed in the game.
Rockies: OF Carlos Gonzalez (calf) went hitless in his return to the lineup after missing two games. ... 3B Nolan Arenado was given a day off.
THE POLLOCK PLAN
Arizona OF A.J. Pollock was out of the starting lineup Sunday — all part of manager Torey Lovullo’s plan to keep him fresh. Pollock was limited to 12 games last season because of a broken right elbow and later a groin injury. Lovullo will play him between 130 and 140 games this season. Pollock entered as a pinch hitter in the eighth and grounded out.
QUITE A SAVE
A member of the grounds crew was dragged across the batter’s box while holding onto a corner of the tarp with the wind and rain picking up. He kept it secure until ballast was added. The crowd cheered his effort.
Reynolds finished 2 for 4 to raise his average to .321. His 11 homers are among the NL leaders.
“My swing is on time. I’m finding barrels and getting it up in the air,” Reynolds said. “That’s a good combo.”
Diamondbacks: Off Monday before opening a two-game series against Detroit. LHP Robbie Ray (2-3, 3.47 ERA) goes for Arizona, while the Tigers send RHP Justin Verlander (2-2, 4.21) to the mound.
Rockies: National League rookie of the month Antonio Senzatela (4-1, 2.84 ERA) faces the Chicago Cubs on Monday. RHP Jake Arrieta (4-1, 4.63) throws for the Cubs.