By Jose M. Romero, Associated Press
PHOENIX (AP) — The return of Jon Gray from the disabled list couldn’t have come at a better time for the Colorado Rockies.
Gray struck out 10 over six innings in his first start since April and rookie Raimel Tapia hit his first career home run, helping the Rockies end an eight-game skid with a 6-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night.
Gray, making his first start since April 13, allowed two runs on seven hits for his first victory of the season. Colorado’s opening day starter, Gray broke a bone in his left foot in the fourth inning of his third start of the season and went on the disabled list.
“I did a really good job slowing things down,” Gray said. “I knew it would be a little awkward coming back into a big league situation but I just wanted to make it slow as possible and make good pitches.”
Gray said his slider was working well and that he followed a game plan, not worried about rust from a long time away from the majors.
“What I saw today was a repeatable delivery that he maintained,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “The key tonight was a nice tight slider … and he made some good pitches with the fastball down and away when he needed to.”
Diamondbacks starter Robbie Ray (8-4) lasted six innings and threw a career high 122 pitches. He allowed four runs on five hits with nine strikeouts and walked five, tying a season high.
Chris Owings hit a pair of solo home runs for Arizona, which lost a season high third consecutive game at home.
“They just kind of chipped away at things and tacked on, threw up six runs and unfortunately it was too much for us to overcome,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.
Charlie Blackmon led off the game with a solo home run to right field, his 17th, and third leadoff homer of the season.
Jake Lamb’s two-out double in the bottom of the first drove in Gregor Blanco to tie it at 1. Gray struck out the side in that inning.
The Rockies plated two runs in the third off Ray, who threw 75 pitches through his first three innings. Ray walked Mark Reynolds and Trevor Story to open the inning, and with one out, Tapia drove in Reynolds with a grounder.
Ryan Hanigan, called up from the minors earlier in the day, delivered a two-out single to drive in Story and give Colorado a 3-1 lead.
“I felt like I was around the zone just missing, just barely,” said Ray, who took his first loss since May 9 against Detroit. “It’s tough. I got behind in counts and paid for it.”
The Diamondbacks made it 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth on Owings’ 10th home run of the season. Tapia connected in the top of the sixth off Ray for a 4-2 Rockies lead.
“I hope it’s not my last,” Tapia said in Spanish. “I’m going to keep working hard to try to keep it going.”
Former Rockie Jorge De La Rosa gave up a run to his ex-teammates in the eighth. A wild pitch allowed Tapia to score from third base.
Owings’ second home run came off Rockies reliever Mike Dunn in the eighth. Major League saves leader Greg Holland pitched the ninth for his 26th of the season.
The save tied Huston Street’s first-half Rockies record of 26 before the All-Star break.
Flurry of Rockies moves
The Rockies, in reinstating Gray from the disabled list, also called up Hanigan from Triple-A Albuquerque. Reliever Chad Qualls was designated for assignment and catcher Tom Murphy was optioned to Triple-A.
“He gives that veteran presence that I think is comforting to a lot of our young pitchers,” Black said of Hanigan.
Diamondbacks reliever Archie Bradley saw his 12-game scoreless streak end when Nolan Arenado tripled and scored on Reynolds’ grounder in the seventh inning, giving the Rockies a 5-2 lead.
Arenado’s triple was his fourth this month and tied the Rockies franchise record for the month of June.
2B D.J. LeMahieu (groin strain) did not play Friday, but could return to the lineup as soon as Saturday. He hit, ran and fielded before the game. … Black said he hopes to get OF Carlos Gonzalez (right shoulder strain) off the 10-day disabled list by Monday.