Denver, CO (Sports Network) – Troy Tulowitzki clubbed two home runs and drove in three runs to lead the surging Colorado Rockies to a 13-4 romp over Arizona in the opener of a three-game series.
Tulowitzki finished 3-for-3 with a walk and four runs scored and Todd Helton went 2-for-3 with two runs batted in and the 525th double of his career to tie Ted Williams for 35th place all-time in the Rockies season-high eighth straight win.
Jorge De La Rosa (7-4) spun six innings of two-run, five-hit ball while striking out 10 and chipping in an RBI double that finished off a six-run third inning for Colorado, which has won 11 of its last 13 at Coors Field.
The Rockies moved to within 2 1/2 games of NL West co-leaders San Diego and San Francisco and remain 3 1/2 behind wild card leaders Atlanta in the tightening senior circuit playoff races.
“We play well late and we know how to finish and we believe that anytime we get hot like this we can ride out a streak as long as anybody,” Tulowitzki said in reference to the Rockies strong finishes in 2007 and 2009 to get to the playoffs. “I stressed that the whole year to everybody, that when we get hot, we’re going to get hot and I think this is the first time we’ve felt like ‘hey, this is the time to make our run’.”
Joe Saunders (2-5) suffered the loss after being charged with seven runs — four earned — on five hits and four walks in only 2 1/3 innings for the D’Backs, who have lost five out of six.
Dexter Fowler reached on a one-out throwing error by third baseman Mark Reynolds in the home first before Tulowitzki walked and Melvin Mora singled with two outs to load the bases. Helton then delivered a single to center to plate Fowler and Tulowitzki.
Chris Young’s leadoff long ball in the second inning halved the lead but the Rockies blew the game open with that six-spot in the third.
Tulowitzki doubled home Carlos Gonzalez, who had reached on a fielder’s choice, to make it 3-1 and scored on a two-out, bases loaded walk to Ryan Spilborghs.
D.J. Carrasco took over for Saunders and surrendered a bases loaded, bases clearing triple to Miguel Olivo that pushed the lead to 7-1. De La Rosa then helped his own cause with a double to left that plated Olivo for a seven-run cushion.
Tulowitzki kept his homer binge going with a solo shot in the fourth to make it a 9-1 contest.
“He’s hot, he’s seeing the ball real well right now,” said Arizona manager Kirk Gibson of the red-hot Rockies’ shortstop. “We got around Gonzalez well tonight but that is one of the strengths of their team, if you get around the first guy, you have to get around the second guy and we didn’t do that.”
The teams traded runs in the fifth, as Cole Gillespie drove in Miguel Montero in the top half and Eric Young, jr. singled home Spilborghs off Zach Kroenke, who was making his major league debut, in the bottom half.
Tulowitzki’s second homer of the night, another solo poke, and Spilborgh’s RBI hit in the sixth along with a Chris Iannetta solo shot in the eight off Jordan Norberto accounted for the Rockies’ final runs.
Kelly Johnson led off the ninth with a ground rule double and scored on a one- out double by Ryan Church, who scored on a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Ryan Roberts off Matt Daley, making his first appearance since June 10 after being sideline by right shoulder inflammation.
Tulowitzki had his second multi-homer game of the week and has hit eight long balls in his last eight games…Gonzalez went hitless for a second game in a row after putting together a career-high 16-game hit streak…He scored a run and has crossed the plate in 16 of his last 18 games…Helton had been 1- for-22 before his first inning single…De La Rosa is 5-2 in 12 games, including eight starts, against the Diamondbacks…Colorado is 56-28 when scoring first and 16-8 in series openers at home…The Rockies lead the season series, 7-6…Colorado last won eight consecutive games from September 4-11 last year…Saunders had his shortest turn since August 7 of last season when he lasted just 1 2/3 innings pitching for the Angels against the Texas Rangers…D-Backs shortstop Stephen Drew went 1-for-3 and has 23 hits in his last 13 games…Young has hit only seven of his 25 home runs on the road.