DENVER -- Major League home run leader Nolan Arenado's two-out solo shot in the bottom of the eighth helped the Rockies end a Coors Field losing streak at seven games with a much-needed 8-7 victory over the D-backs on Wednesday afternoon.
Arenado's 13th homer of the season, off D-backs reliever Tyler Clippard, came after the D-backs erased a 7-1 deficit after six innings to tie the game in the top of the eighth. For a club that has struggled at home (5-10) -- and during its last homestand, had two games that saw them overcome big deficits only to lose -- the victory prevented a here-we-go-again feeling.
"Sometimes you get like, 'I hope this doesn't happen, like what happened against whoever,' but they tied the game. They didn't take the lead," said Arenado, who also blooped a double on a 3-for-4 day. "If they had taken the lead, it would have been frustrating. Luckily, we got one run there."
"Luckily" is not a word Clippard would use. He praised Arenado's skill.
"The fact that he was able to get a good piece of the bat on that pitch -- riding in on him -- and keep it fair, I thought was pretty impressive," Clippard said.
Arenado's homer allowed the Rockies to celebrate a game in which Charlie Blackmon homered and drove in three runs, Chad Bettis tied a career high with eight strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings, and Jake McGee earned his ninth save in 11 chances.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Much-needed momentum: After scoring 13 runs in one inning of a 17-7 victory over the Giants, it took the Rockies the next five games to score 13 total. But Blackmon began a new period of scoring with his second homer of the season, into the bullpen in right, with one out in the third. It was Blackmon's 500th career hit.
"We had some offense early, and then we had some offense when we needed it," Blackmon said. "It was a good win, especially to put a stop to that series and give us some momentum going forward."
Headed home: The D-backs wrapped up a nine-game road trip with a 5-4 record, which is impressive when you consider they started it by being swept by the Marlins in a three-game series. Chase Field has not been kind to the D-backs, who are just 5-12 there.
"I don't know what it is at home, but we're going to continue to play the way that we've been playing on the road," D-backs catcher Welington Castillo said. "Everything has started to come together." More >
Locked in: McGee has struggled in a few outings and blew a save Saturday at San Francisco, but he has protected one-run leads at San Francisco on Sunday and against the D-backs on Wednesday. He ended the game by teasing Goldschmidt into popping to left on a fastball inside and off the plate. More >
Ray short again: The Rockies did not exactly hit D-backs starter Robbie Ray around, but the left-hander once again threw too many pitches early to last more than 4 2/3 innings. Ray did strike out a career-high nine and was victimized by some bloop hits.
"I thought the ball was coming out of his hand really well, a lot of good velocity, threw some good breaking balls early in the game," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "But they did a good job against him. They got the ball up, and they hurt him. And again, high pitch count."
"We're going to get things right here as we get deeper into the season. It's been a tough start here at home, but there have been a lot of good things happening -- mostly on the road, ironically." -- Rockies manager Walt Weiss
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Rockies outfielder Gerardo Parra -- who has overcome a slow start to build a .309 batting average with 14 doubles to tie the Red Sox's David Ortiz for the Major League lead -- is excelling against his original club, the D-backs. Parra is hitting .405 (15-for-37) with five runs, nine doubles a home run and five RBIs against Arizona.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
With two outs in the sixth and Blackmon at first, Mark Reynolds hit a grounder to short. Nick Ahmed fielded the ball and tossed to second for the force. Second baseman Jean Segura, who was shifted on the play, was unable to immediately find the bag. Once he stepped on it, second-base umpire Vic Carapazza ruled Blackmon safe. The D-backs challenged the call, but after a review, the call stood, as there was not enough video evidence to confirm or overturn the decision.
WHAT'S NEXT D-backs: The D-backs head home to open a four-game series against the Giants on Thursday night at 6:40 p.m. MT with Zack Greinke on the mound. After the series with the Giants, the D-backs play host to the Yankees for a three-game set.
Rockies: Right-hander Jon Gray, after 14 starts of hard luck and tight pitch counts, has retired 35 of the last 39 batters he has faced, but he still doesn't have a Major League win. He hopes to change that when he starts against the Mets and right-hander Matt Harvey on Friday at 6:40 p.m. MT.