PHOENIX (AP)Christian Walker said it wasn’t a topic in the locker room, but clearly missing out on a franchise record for losses ranks as a rare positive in a lost year for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
”Avoiding the bottom of the barrel is good. Maybe that’s not the right word. But anytime you can avoid that category,” Walker said Saturday night after the Diamondbacks routed the Colorado Rockies 11-2 to end a five-game losing streak.
The win kept the Diamondbacks (51-110) from having a shot at setting a franchise record for losses, but they can still match it with a loss in Sunday’s season finale. The 2004 team was 51-111.
Arizona settled things early, scoring six times in the first inning – all with two out – and knocking out Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela after just two-thirds of an inning.
Walker had three of the Diamondbacks’ franchise record-tying eight doubles, Pavin Smith reached base five times and every starter contributed at least one hit in a 17-hit performance.
That included starting pitcher Zac Gallen, whose two-out, two-run double capped the scoring in the first.
Gallen (4-10) took care of the rest, giving up six hits and two runs, both on homers, while striking out six in six innings. He won last Saturday against the playoff-bound Los Angeles Dodgers in Arizona’s most recent victory.
”The offense set the tone and Zac took it from there,” said Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo. ”We’ve seen that in spurts (from the offense) but it was a solid day. Guys just banging the baseball all over the place.”
From Rockies manager Bud Black’s perspective, Senzatela (4-10) was just unable to close the deal. Walker’s two-out double was the first of four consecutive RBI hits with two outs.
”He couldn’t get the ball down or to the corners,” Black said. ”From the Walker hit, he just couldn’t make that pitch to get out of the inning.”
Senzatela was done after 40 pitches. He was charged with six runs, all earned, and gave up six hits while getting just the two outs.
With the early 6-0 lead, Gallen said he was ”still going out there and making pitches like it was 1-0.”
”Make ’em earn it,” he said.
Sam Hilliard homered to right-center leading off the third for Colorado, and Dom Nunez did the same in the fifth. But that was it for the Rockies, who rallied from an early seven-run deficit on Friday to beat Arizona 9-7.
MEET THE NEW BOSS
The Rockies took the interim tag off general manager Bill Schmidt on Saturday, appointing him to the position full time. He took over for Jeff Bridich, who resigned in April.
Manager Bud Black has known Schmidt since the mid-1990s. Schmidt was then working in Cleveland’s front office – before being hired to run Colorado’s scouting department in 1999 – while Black was wrapping up his pitching career with the Indians and beginning his shift to the evaluation side.
”We’ve worked together. We’ve sat in the stands and scouted together,” Black said before Saturday’s game. ”Our communication has been great and I think he’s been very open-minded. He’s very passionate about this game.”
The Rockies, 20-35 through May, are 54-51 since then.
Colorado reliever Chi Chi Gonzalez (oblique) was activated from the injured list before Saturday’s game. He pitched two innings on Saturday, giving up three hits and one run.
Diamondbacks first-base coach Dave McKay returned to the field Saturday night. The 71-year-old former player and longtime coach had been on the sidelines since a dugout fall during spring training. McKay suffered an injured spleen and broke a rib.
Neither team announced a starter for Sunday’s season finale at Chase Field. Black said the Rockies are probably going with a bullpen game.
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