DENVER (AP) -Kelly Johnson converted an educated guess into the decisive blow in another wild game at Coors Field.
Johnson homered off Colorado closer Franklin Morales to lead off the 10th inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks, after blowing a six-run lead and then falling behind by five, rallied past the Colorado Rockies 12-11 Wednesday.
``The guy throws really hard and you've got to expect a fastball at some point,' Johnson said. ``He threw two breaking balls, and I had a pretty good hunch a fastball was coming. I looked for it in the right spot and it was there.'
And then it was gone.
Johnson's drive cleared the center-field wall for his eighth homer of the season, capping a seesaw game that saw abbreviated outings by both starters, a dozen extra-base hits, the ejection of Arizona manager A.J. Hinch and Diamondbacks pitcher Dan Haren's pinch-hit single in the 10th.
``I was pretty happy sometimes, I was pretty upset sometimes, whatever emotion you can imagine surfaced throughout that game,' Hinch said. ``I'm very proud of this group and how they battled. To jump out ahead and answer yesterday's blowout and come back from a five runs down after they put it to us shows the resiliency that we're striving for.'
A day after the Rockies romped 12-1, Arizona bounced back.
Bob Howry (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings and, with Arizona closer Chad Qualls unavailable, Juan Gutierrez got three outs for his first save in two chances.
``These are the toughest ones to lose,' said Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who hit a two-run double in the Rockies' six-run third inning.
``We battled back, got ahead and let them go ahead. We could have given in when it was 6-0. We didn't. At the same time, it was a game we should have won and didn't,' Tulowitzki said.
Chris Young's three-run homer highlighted a big first inning that put Arizona ahead 6-0. Young matched a career high with five RBIs.
Down 11-6, the Diamondbacks came back. They scored twice in the eighth off reliever Rafael Betancourt to make it 11-all, getting an RBI groundout from Johnson and a run-scoring single by Tony Abreu.
``We took our bullpen to the limit today,' Colorado manager Jim Tracy said. ``We had to because of the resources that we had available and we only got three outs from our starter. We just came up short.'
Arizona loaded the bases in the ninth against Morales but failed to score. Mark Reynolds tried to come home on John Hester's grounder, and was forced out at the plate. Hinch argued to no avail that third baseman Ian Stewart's throw pulled catcher Miguel Olivo's foot off the plate, and was tossed by umpire Marvin Hudson.
``I don't think he cared for my hand gesture,' shrugged Hinch, who held his hands about a foot apart to show how far off the ground Olivo had gone reaching for the throw.
In the shortest outing of his career, Colorado starter Greg Smith was chased after the first inning.
But the Diamondbacks couldn't hold the lead. Carlos Gonzalez led off the second with his third home run of the season and the Rockies moved in front in the third. Arizona starter Kris Benson faced three batters in the inning, allowing successive singles to Eric Young and Dexter Fowler and walking Todd Helton before leaving because of pain in his right shoulder.
Hinch said Benson likely is headed for the disabled list.
``He's sore. It may be something that needs a couple weeks,' Hinch said. ``We're going to have to try to find some arms.'
Tulowitzki greeted reliever Leo Rosales with his double and Gonzalez was awarded a sacrifice fly on a popup just beyond first as Helton scored when Adam LaRoche couldn't get the throw to the plate in time after dropping the ball transferring it from his glove to his hand.
Miguel Olivo hit an RBI single and Melvin Mora singled ahead of a two-out, two-run double by reliever Matt Belisle. It was the first hit for Belisle since 2008, when he was with the Cincinnati Reds.
The Rockies made it 11-6 in the fourth on Fowler's first home run of the season, a two-run single by Mora and Eric Young's bases-loaded walk off Esmerling Vasquez.
Belisle tired near the end of his three-inning relief stint - his longest outing this season - giving up consecutive doubles to Abreu and Justin Upton and walking Reynolds on four pitches starting the fifth before giving way to Matt Daley.
Young delivered a two-run single, pulling the Diamondbacks within two runs. Fowler helped the Rockies escape without further damage when he made a diving catch of pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra's sinking line drive to center.
NOTES: The Rockies dropped the series to the Diamondbacks and finished their six-game homestand 3-3. ... Johnson's homer was the first surrendered by the Rockies bullpen at Coors Field this season. Previously, Colorado relievers had combined to pitch 38 innings without giving up a home run. ... Hinch drew his second ejection. He also was tossed for arguing an April 23 call against Philadelphia. ... Gonzalez has nine RBIs in his last three games. ... Smith's shortest previous outing was 3 2-3 innings on July 18, 2008, at Yankee Stadium while with Oakland.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved