Arizona Diamondbacks: Record–breaking inning fuels victory

Taijuan Walker picked up his sixth win of the season Wednesday night. (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)
Taijuan Walker picked up his sixth win of the season Wednesday night. (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports) /

A 10-run fourth inning by the Arizona Diamondbacks help generate an important victory.

Perhaps manager Torey Lovullo of the Arizona Diamondbacks should try this more often. After a difficult loss to the Colorado Rockies in Coors Field Tuesday night, Lovullo gave his team the option of not having batting practice on the field. That was prior to Wednesday’s contest at Coors.

Instead, players could hit in the cage and use the time to rest and collect thoughts. After all, this was the start of an important three-game series with the National League West Division-leading Rockies and the Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers were right on their heels.

At first, the plan seemed to generate little movement.

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After former Diamondback Mark Reynolds took starter Taijuan Walker over the left field fence leading off the Rox second inning for an early 1-0 lead, the Arizona bats then responded. Collecting a franchise-high 10 runs in one inning on the road, the fourth, that powered the Diamondbacks to a 16-4 win over the Rockies. In the process, the Diamondbacks climbed back to within one game of Colorado, which dropped the second place in the division. By virtue of the Dodgers’ 8-2 victory over the Mets Wednesday night, the Dodgers are in first place and the Diamondbacks trail L. A. by a game and one-half.

Afterward, Lovullo explained to the Associated Press his reasoning for eliminating batting practice.

"“We pulled the guys off the field to hit in the cages to keep them rested, keep them strong,” he said. “So, they were ready. I know they were in here working really hard and it translated. I don’t know exactly if hitting in here had something to do with the production. I just think the guys were ready for the challenge.”"

In that fourth inning, the Diamondbacks sent 14 hitters to the plate, registered nine hits and a productive 2-for-2 from second baseman Brandon Drury. In the inning, Drury delivered with a two-run double and a single for three RBIs. For the night, Drury banged out four hits and collected a career-high six RBIs.

In the process, the Diamondbacks recorded season highs in runs (16) and hits (20). The loss snapped the Rox six game winning streak, and the 16 runs allowed was a season high. Previously in 2017, the Rockies lost, 15-12 to Washington on April 25.

In the fold

The Diamondbacks announced they signed first baseman Pavin Smith of the University of Virginia. Smith was the Diamondbacks’ first pick in the recent 2017 draft.

As the seventh overall selection, Smith was limited, by agreement between the players’ association and management, to a signing amount of $5,016,300. The Diamondbacks also signed catcher Daulton Varsho (number 68 overall) to the agreed amount of $880,100.

The Diamondbacks’ second pick in the draft, and number 44 overall, was Drew Ellis, University of Louisville third baseman. Because the Cardinals are still playing in the College World Series, Ellis did not sign. If he signs, Ellis receives $1,560,100.

Both Smith and Varsho will report to Short-Season Hillsboro, Class A.

In total, Arizona agreed to terms with 22 of their 40 selections from the 2017 draft.

The finale

The current series with the Colorado Rockies concludes Thursday afternoon. That’s when righty Zack Godley (2-1, 2.34 ERA) gets the ball from manager Torey Lovullo. He’ll draw righthander Antonio Senzatela (9-2, 4.10) as his mound opponent. This is Senzatela’s first career start against the Diamondbacks, and he is 6-0 this season (4.03 ERA) in six starts against NL West Division teams.

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The Diamondbacks then return to Chase Field and open a 10-game stand. That includes three with the Philadelphia Phillies, four with the St. Louis Cardinals and three with the Rockies. Lefty Patrick Corbin will open the home stand for Arizona against the Phillies at 6:40 p.m. (Phoenix time) Friday night.