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HomeSportDiamondbacks' Lourdes Gurriel Jr. surge not enough vs. Rockies

Diamondbacks’ Lourdes Gurriel Jr. surge not enough vs. Rockies

PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. blasted a home run for the third straight game to open the season in a losing effort against the Colorado Rockies on Saturday at Chase Field, 9-4.

Gurriel turned on a slider and launched it 414 feet in the fifth inning to cut a Colorado lead to 7-4. He trotted around the bases as the first Diamondbacks player to ever homer in the first three games of a season.

The MLB record is four games, done six times. Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich most recently hit the mark in 2019, while Willie Mays and Mark McGwire are also in the club.

“It was a really good spring for me, physically I feel really good,” Gurriel said via interpreter. “They did mention (the record) to me, just really happy, a personal achievement.”

Gurriel’s homer also drove in his eighth run, the most by a Diamondbacks player through three games.

All three dingers have been no-doubt moon shots to left field on pitches along the inner half of the plate. Gurriel hit home runs in three straight games twice in his career before this stretch, most recently last May.

Gurriel is in his second season in Arizona after a trade from the Blue Jays, and he showed last year how high his ceiling is when firing. He had a 200 wRC+ in May 2023, fourth-best in all of baseball that landed him on the NL All-Star team.

“It’s an all-field approach, seeing the ball, everything is in a very strong hitting position and just make really good swing decisions,” Lovullo said. “I don’t think he tries to hit home runs, I think all good hitters don’t try to hit home runs … he’s not a slugger, he’s an excellent hitter who can hit a home run on any pitch at any time. It’s just translating right now, it’s fun for us to watch.”

Gurriel also drove in the first run of the ballgame with a double in the first inning, which ended up being Arizona’s lone hit with runners in scoring position all night.

The D-backs finished the game 1-for-10 with RISP and hit into four double plays. As Lovullo pointed out, there were ample opportunities to put up crooked numbers like the opening two games when Arizona scored 23 runs in a pair of one-sided wins.

The Diamondbacks led 2-0 in the first and 3-2 after Eugenio Suarez hit his first home run as a Diamondback to lead off the fourth inning.

Suarez has also started the year on fire, 6-for-11 with four RBIs.

Tommy Henry’s 1st start goes sideways

Lovullo said his club didn’t pitch well enough to win, as starter Tommy Henry recorded only 12 outs with five earned runs in his season debut.

Henry had it going early by retiring the first five batters with a pair of punch outs. He had Rockies catcher Elias Diaz down 0-2 with two outs in the second but lost him with a single. Shortstop Ezequiel Tovar then took Henry yard.

Colorado hitters were 6-for-12 with two walks against Henry after the 0-for-5 start.

“I think the biggest things came from I didn’t get the shutdown inning after we scored, didn’t do a good job of getting the lead-off guy out and there was a stark difference between the results when I was ahead in the count and when I was behind,” Henry evaluated. “Those are my three takeaways off the bat. Look at it tomorrow, I’ll do some more processing and we’ll go from there.”

The Rockies jumped ahead with a five-spot in the fifth inning, three runs charged to Henry and two to reliever Luis Frias.

D-backs pitchers walked six hitters, three of whom scored.

“When you get good pitching, it makes the game flow and the position players get into a rhythm … and it just wasn’t flowing the way it had been over the past couple of days,” Lovullo said. “It wasn’t consistent. … I think we had five or six walks tonight. That’s not us.”

Henry did not allow a run in his final 9.1 innings of spring training as he battled for a rotation spot. The D-backs kept him and Ryne Nelson in the starting five with Eduardo Rodriguez on the 15-day injured list and Jordan Montgomery signing after Opening Day and in need of minor league innings.

“I think it could (add pressure), but that’s not the way I approach it,” Henry said of the reinforcements. “None of that is within our control. I’m just going to do everything I can to put this team in the best position to win, and I’m gonna let that be the determining factor.”

Corbin Carroll receives his award

Corbin Carroll was honored pregame with the 2023 National League Rookie of the Year award. Carroll followed with two infield hits, two walks and a stolen base.

The series finale is Sunday at 1:10 p.m. with Brandon Pfaadt on the mound against Colorado’s Ryan Feltner.

The game will air on 98.7 and the Arizona Sports app. 

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