Colorado Rockies morning after: Díaz walkoff HR highlights career night
By Duane DaPron
C.J. Cron of the Colorado Rockies may have belted the longest home run in the Majors this season Friday night and matched the second-longest homer in Coors FIeld and StatCast history. But, in the end, the night belonged to Colorado Rockies catcher Elias Díaz.
Diaz capped a career performance with a two-out, three-run walkoff homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to rally the Colorado Rockies to a thrilling 13-10 victory against Arizona in the opener of a three-game series between the teams at Coors Field.
In the game between the two National League West foes, Colorado roared to an 8-1 lead after four innings before Arizona responded with a nine-run fifth inning to grab a two-run lead. After the home team was able to tie the game, Díaz ended matters with his 436-foot shot to left field.
Elias Díaz of the Colorado Rockies enjoyed what is most certainly his best single-game offensive output as a Major Leaguer.
The game-winning round-tripper was the fourth hit of the night for the Rockies backstop and gave him seven runs batted in — both career highs. In addition, the walkoff hit — the fifth of Díaz’s career and second of the season — was his second home run of the game, affording him his first multi-homer contest.
“He has got that in him,” Colorado manager Bud Black told media postgame about the offensive capability that Díaz showed against the Diamondbacks (65-72). “We saw him surge the second half of last season. Hopefully, again this can be something here at the end (of 2022) for Elle. But that was a big night and there was some good swings. He had a really good game.”
On a night in which heavy mist and began falling in the third inning and continued for the remainder of the 3-hour, 5-minute contest, Diaz was not the only member of the Rockies (60-79) to be prolific offensively.
In all, the Rox amassed a season-high five home runs among their 14 hits.
Joining Díaz in the home run parade were Cron and Ryan McMahon, who collected a pair of solo homers. McMahon started the Rockies first at bat with his initial career leadoff home run before doing the same to begin the fourth inning for the eighth multi-homer game of his career.
Two batters later, following a single by Yonathan Daza, Cron unleashed a tape-measure 504-foot drive to left field. The homer was the longest by a Rockie as measured in Statcast history (since 2015) and matched the longest swatted in Coors Field history, equaling the 504-foot homer of Giancarlo Stanton (then with Miami) on August 6, 2016.
“I just knew I hit it well; (I was) hoping that it would stay fair,” the Rockies first baseman said. “It was kind of hugging the (foul) line a little bit. I was happy that it did (stay fair).”
“I’m a big dude. I like hitting homers,” he added. “It was fun to finally hit one. It’s been a while since I hit one like that. So, I’ll take it.”
The home run matches the second-longest in the StatCast era falling just one foot short of the longest, a 505-foot blast by Nomar Mazara in 2019. Cron thinks he can reach that distance.
“I got a little bit more in the tank,” Cron said with a smile on his face. “I got a little bit more — at least one more foot.”
Cron’s homer, his 27th of the year, gave Colorado a seemingly comfortable 8-1 cushion, particularly since Rockies starting pitcher Germán Márquez had allowed just one hit — a solo homer — and only two baserunners through four innings.
But the wheels came off for the right-hander in the fifth inning.
Márquez faced eight D-back batters in the inning and all reached base and eventually scored.
“It was a rough inning,” saiid Márquez, who permitted seven hits and nine earned runs in his four-inning outing to up his earned run average to 5.25. “I don’t know what was happening. I just got lost. I couldn’t find the zone. But it was just one inning.”
When Black summoned Austin Gomber from the bullpen to replace the Rockies starter and the left-hander’s first pitch to Daulton Varsho sailed into the right field seats for a grand slam, the Rockies suddenly trailed 10-8 after a nine-run Arizona uprising.
But RBI doubles by Daza in the sixth and Díaz in the seventh knotted the game at 10-10, setting the stage for the bottom of the ninth inning dramatics by Díaz.
Daza, Michael Toglia, and Alan Trejo each had a pair of hits to help Colorado win its third straight contest. The Rockies netted a season-high nine extra-base hits (five homers, four doubles).
Game 2 of the series is set for 6:10 p.m. (Mountain time) Saturday. Jose Ureña (3-6, 6.13 earned run average) is slated to start on the mound for the Rox while Madison Bumgarner (6-13, 4.83) is the scheduled starter for the D-backs.