Descalso delivers crushing blow off bench

Pinch-hit HR caps D-backs' game-breaking 5-run 7th

Descalso delivers crushing blow off bench

DENVER -- On a day when rosters expanded and two contending teams faced off with added depth and flexibility in their dugout, the knockout blow in the D-backs' 9-5 win over the Rockies came from the bench in the form of Daniel Descalso.

With the D-backs up, 6-2, in the seventh inning with two out and two on, Descalso came in to pinch-hit and connected with an 0-2 offering from southpaw Mike Dunn -- the third straight slider in the at-bat.

"I was trying not to swing at another ball in the dirt, so I was looking for some mistake out over the plate and just trying to get a pitch to hit there," said Descalso, who played the previous two seasons with Colorado. "He hung a slider, and I was able to put a good swing on it."

His swing sent the ball over the right-field scoreboard for a crippling three-run shot, capping a five-run inning and putting the game essentially out of reach for the Rockies.

"We scored single runs for the first several innings, and then Daniel's big blow obviously broke the game open," manager Torey Lovullo said. "It was the right guy in the right spot in the right situation. We look for moments like that. We've been doing that for the past seven to 10 games, where guys are coming up at the right time and coming up with the big hit."

The Rockies scored three in the bottom of the inning, but after pulling within two runs in the sixth, the blow from Descalso proved insurmountable.

"When you're that close, we just scratched back and got two runs, to have a big inning like that, it [stinks]," Rockies catcher Jonathan Lucroy said.

The D-backs were 2-for-3 off the bench Friday, with Rey Fuentes singling in a run in the sixth.

Fuentes' pinch-hit RBI single

Descalso is 6-for-22 (.273) as a pinch-hitter -- 29 points higher than his season average -- with two homers and nine RBIs.

"You go up there and tell yourself, 'I have to get a hit,' and that's a tough way to go about it," Descalso said on his adaptation to pinch-hitting. "I always try to tell myself, 'Get a good pitch, put it in play hard and whatever happens, happens.'"

His successful approach gives his manager the confidence to use him when it matters most.

"He's walked through just about every part of this game that one can offer," Lovullo said of Descalso's value in his role with the D-backs. "He has an incredible heartbeat. He doesn't get intimidated by the moment, and there's nothing too stressful for him that he can't handle. It's a credit to him for being able to slow the game down and execute. It's a great feeling when you have a player like that. From the seat that I'm sitting in, I feel comfortable with him in any situation, any time, versus a lefty or a righty. It's a nice feeling."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to based in Denver. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.