Ace sharp early, but gives up six runs in one frame
By Jesse Sanchez
PHOENIX -- The enthusiastic crowd at Chase Field roared when Zack Greinke was announced during Opening Day pregame introductions Monday night and cheered when he was recognized for winning a Gold Glove in 2015 a few minutes later.
They clapped when Greinke's first pitch was called a strike against Colorado leadoff hitter Charlie Blackmon and rose to their feet when he struck out Carlos Gonzalez swinging to end the first inning.
But there were also audible groans from the stands in the third. And it was mostly silent when everyone realized Greinke would not come out to pitch the fifth.
The right-hander's much-anticipated debut with the D-backs was short -- only four innings and 82 pitches -- and his night was muted by the Rockies' offense in the 10-5 loss. Greinke will take the mound again Saturday against the Cubs, a team many expect to win the World Series.
The public review of Greinke's performance from D-backs manager Chip Hale was simple: Greinke didn't pitch well. The Rockies hit well.
"[Greinke] was just up in the zone. You have to give credit to their hitters," Hale said. "As I said before the game, they are as good as any lineup as you are going to see in this league."
Greinke got off to smooth start, retiring the first five and six of the first seven in his first two innings. He even drove in a run in the second to give the D-backs a 1-0 lead.
This was the Greinke everybody at Chase Field expected when they signed him to a $206 million deal during this offseason. This was the staff ace who could also slug at the plate. Hale batted Greinke eighth partly because of the pitcher's ability as a hitter.
Chants of "Let's Go D-backs, Let's Go D-backs," could be heard in parts of the stadium in those first two innings and Greinke was a big reason why.
Then the unexpected happened: The Rockies batted around.
DJ LeMahieu and pitcher Jorge De La Rosa led off with singles to start the third. Blackmon hit a double and the Rockies followed with back-to-back thunderous home runs by Trevor Story and Gonzalez to give the Rockies a 5-1 lead. LeMahieu notched another single that scored Gerardo Parra for a five-run advantage.
By the time the scoreboard stopped blinking, Greinke had allowed six runs. He had not allowed six runs in an inning since April 12, 2012, at Wrigley while with the Brewers.
"Occasionally, you will give up some runs. Good at-bats and some breaks," Greinke said. "I honestly think the first four were maybe not perfect pitches, but good hitting and a break with the De La Rosa hit. After that, hopefully I don't make pitches like that the rest of the year, but sometimes guys will score even if you are making OK pitches."
Story stung Greinke again in the fourth with a solo home run for Colorado's seventh run. The last time Greinke gave up seven earned runs came May 26, 2012, against the D-backs at Chase Field.
D-backs third baseman Jake Lamb hit a two-run home run with one out to cut the deficit to 7-3 in the fourth. Brandon Drury pinch-hit for Greinke, who was up next, and just like that, right-hander's night was over. He threw 55 strikes and was tagged for nine hits.
Greinke struck out two and walked one.
"I know I probably threw too many pitches away early in the game and didn't throw in enough," he said. "And sometimes, I'll let the other team feel more comfortable in the box. But I thought that was more of a possibility than tipping."
Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.