D-backs' rally falls short in opening loss to Rox

D-backs' rally falls short in opening loss to Rox

PHOENIX -- Nolan Arenado made his first career hit off D-backs relief pitcher Jake Barrett a loud one -- a three-run homer in the eighth inning to key the Rockies' fifth straight victory and seventh straight on the road -- in a 5-4 win at Chase Field on Monday night.

Arenado drove in four runs, plus made a signature standout defensive play by robbing A.J. Pollock of extra bases on a dive toward the bag in the sixth inning, as the Rockies won for the seventh time in the eight games since the D-backs swept them at Coors Field.

Arizona's lead over the Rockies for the top National League Wild Card spot shrunk to four games with three games left in this series. Colorado now leads St. Louis for the second Wild Card by 3 1/2 games and Milwaukee by four.

Arenado's spectacular stop

With DJ LeMahieu aboard on a triple -- the last of his three hits -- Barrett walked Carlos Gonzalez to face Arenado.

"I don't blame him -- I haven't had a lot of success against him and he's beat me up a little bit, so I just tried to get a good pitch to hit, see it up and he left one hanging," said Arenado, who celebrated the homer by demonstratively shouting down a heckler on his way to the dugout, and continuing on his way to his third base for the bottom of the inning. "I just took advantage of it."

Arenado on heckler and home run

Arenado's homer -- his 17th homer on the road compared to 16 at home -- gave the Rockies a 5-2 lead and made a winner of reliever Tyler Anderson (4-5). The left-hander came on in relief of starter Kyle Freeland after he was struck in the left shoulder and jaw by a line drive in the fourth. Anderson fanned four, yielded one hit and walked none over four shutout innings.

Freeland gets hit in shoulder

"As he [Anderson] moved into the game he threw the ball better," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "You could say he was the key to the game."

The D-backs rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth and had runners at second and third in the bottom of the ninth before Greg Holland forced a Pollock groundout. Holland's 40 saves are one fewer than Jose Jimenez's club record (2002).

"We just couldn't get that big hit or that big moment to push across for us where we scored a couple of runs," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "We had some opportunities, we just didn't do it. I thought situationally we did things well enough at the right time, the right moments, to score some runs but we were just unable to execute in that last inning."

Holland secures 40th save

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Getting Goldy: It looked for sure like Freeland was pitching his way into trouble when with one out in the third he walked Chris Iannetta and Pollock to put runners on first and second for Paul Goldschmidt. Freeland, though, got Goldschmidt to hit a tapper back to the mound and he threw to second to start an inning-ending double play.

"My past few outings I've been working in a lot of traffic," said Freeland, who said he doesn't think the injury will cost him a start. "I've had a good deal of success working in traffic. Being able to locate that sinker down and have him hit it to me, actually, and get a double play was nice."

Rockies turn DP to end threat

That was close: With two runs and two outs in the eighth the D-backs had runners on first and second with pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso at the plate. Rockies manager Bud Black brought in the lefty Mike Dunn to face the left-handed-hitting Descalso, who smacked a 3-2 offering down the right-field line for what would have been a homer had the ball not curled foul. Dunn then got Descalso to fly to center to end the threat.

Dunn ends threat in 8th

QUOTABLE
"I just like that there were no walks. This is a park where a lot of runs are scored. If you can limit walks, you'll have a little but better chance." -- Anderson on his success in an unexpected relief assignment

Anderson's clutch K

"It was just a bad slider. I didn't get exactly on top of the ball. I thought I threw it good and got on top of the ball, but it was up. He got good contact on it." -- Barrett

UPON REVIEW
Martinez's line drive that hit off Freeland was picked up by Arenado, who threw to first base to try to get Martinez. First-base umpire Mark Ripperger called Martinez safe and the Rockies challenged the call. After a brief review the call on the field stood.

Martinez ruled safe at first

WHAT'S NEXT
Rockies: The last time righty Jon Gray (7-4, 4.07 ERA) started a game at Chase Field, he fanned 10 in six innings of a 6-3 victory on June 30 -- his first game since missing more than a month with a right foot injury. However, the D-backs beat him at Coors Field on Sept. 2. Gray and the D-backs will meet again Tuesday night at Chase at 7:40 p.m. MDT.

D-backs: Taijuan Walker looks to continue his recent hot streak when he takes the mound Tuesday night at Chase Field against the Rockies at 6:40 p.m. MST. Walker is 3-0 with a 0.79 ERA over his last four starts.

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Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and like his Facebook page.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.