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Ezequiel Tovar, Brenton Doyle homer in Rockies’ 9-4 win over D-backs

PHOENIX — Rockies hitters woke up from their early-season slumber, shook off the bad dreams of the first two games of the season and finally found some smiles Saturday night at Chase Field.

Ezequiel Tovar and Brenton Doyle launched two-run homers as the Rockies rolled the Diamondbacks 9-4. In doing so, the Rockies avoided their first 0-3 start since 1994.

Rockies pitchers walked nine batters – including four walk-offs, never advised – but the D-Backs were 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position and Colorado turned in four big double plays to stifle potential rallies.

Manager Bud Black cited several key aspects of the game, but none was more important than right-hander Nick Mear’s repair work in the seventh inning. Left-hander Jalen Beeks walked Corbin Carroll and Lourdes Gurriel to open the frame, putting Colorado’s 7-4 lead in jeopardy. But power pitcher Mears struck out Christian Walker, forced Gabriel Moreno to ground out short and induced Eugenio Suarez to go to third.

“Any time you step on the mound, it’s a serious situation, but with a three-run lead, two men up and no outs, one swing of the bat can tie it,” Mears said. “It was just about making pitches and matching them to my stuff. I just went over there to try to get a zero.

Black added: “We saw Nick last year, in flashes, show that he was a late-inning reliever. It’s about growth, maturity and confidence for Nick in his career path, from here on out. This is the message I sent to him.

Colorado’s offensive awakening occurred in the fifth. Trailing 3-2, the Rockies sent nine men to the plate and received big at-bats from Charlie Blackmon, Nolan Jones and Ryan McMahon.

Blackmon hit a two-run double to the right corner off starter Tommy Henry. Jones hit a two-run triple just after Kris Bryant walked erratic reliever Luis Frías. It was a terrific at-bat from Jones, who fell behind 0-2 but worked Frías for 11 pitches.

“Tonight was about making ourselves comfortable,” Jones said. “The first few days, it was opening day at someone else’s stadium. There were some difficult rounds. But I think we’re starting to get more comfortable. There were some huge at-bats in the lineup and I think we’ll continue that.

McMahon, who went 2 for 4 and hit .600 (6 for 10) early, scored Jones with a sacrifice fly to center.

Blackmon’s double gave Colorado the lead for the first time in three games, ending a 22-inning drought without a lead to start a season – the longest in franchise history. The previous mark was 21 innings in 1997.

Colorado left-hander Austin Gomber had an uneven and ineffective start: four runs allowed on six hits in 4 2/3 innings. He gave up solo home runs to Suarez in the third and Gurriel in the fifth. Gomber walked three, struck out three and threw 91 pitches, including 34 in the first inning.

“Honestly, I thought I threw the ball pretty well,” Gomber said. “I had a bit of a tough first run, but I managed to manage that and was able to find a bit of rhythm.”

Gomber started his season with an early walk to Ketel Marte and it came back to haunt him. Corbin Carroll followed with an infield single, and Gurriel drove in Marte with a double to right center. Moreno’s groundout to shortstop scored Carroll from third to put Arizona ahead, 2-0.

Gurriel got off to a flying start. He hit .462 with three homers and eight RBIs in his first three games. He is the first D-backs player to homer in the first three games of the season.

Colorado tied the game in the second thanks to Tovar’s two-out, two-run homer to left, driving in Elias Diaz. Tovar threw Henry’s 0-1 fastball 402 feet.

First baseman Elehuris Montero has hit a career-high three times and is showing signs of becoming the most disciplined hitter the Rockies hope to become.

“It was a team win; a lot of guys contributed,” Black said. “‘Monty’ had a really good night, and so did Doyle. These are growing moments for these guys. Moments like that for Montero and Doyle? If this keeps happening? That’s what we’re talking about let’s talk.

One player who missed the party for Colorado was Bryant, the designated hitter Saturday night. He struck out four, just the eighth “Golden Sombrero” of his career and his first since 2019. He remains hitless after three games.

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