PHOENIX — It’s been a rough year for Mark Melancon, a four-time All-Star who has already lost 10 games this season, costing him his job as the main closer for the Arizona Diamondbacks bullpen.
Thanks to some tired arms, Melancon got another chance on Sunday. He didn’t let it go to waste.
Daulton Varsho trotted home with the starting gun in heat eight, Melancon made his 15th save with a scoreless ninth place finish, and the Diamondbacks won the series out of the Colorado Rockies with a 6-4 win.
“He’s a real pro,” D-Backs manager Torey Lovullo said of Melancon. “The bottom line is he wants to win, doesn’t care about anything else, and will do anything to help this team win a baseball game.”
Melancon helped the D-Backs in his usual role on Sunday. The 37-year-old was handed a two-year, $14 million deal in the offseason for being so good and consistent throughout his 14-year career.
Melancon said his recent struggles have been frustrating but it has given him an opportunity to delve deep into analytics and find a way to overcome his slump. It may be too early to say that the learning worked, but Sunday was a step in the right direction.
“If you do this my whole life, you can always get better,” Melancon said.
The D-Backs trailed 4-2 in the sixth, but Emmanuel Rivera – who was added at the close in a deal with the Kansas City Royals – hit a solo shot that cut the deficit to 4-3. It was his seventh homer of the year and the first with his new team.
Josh Rojas had a double in the seventh RBI that tied the game at 4-all.
Arizona loaded bases in eighth ahead of Rockies release Alex Colomé (2-6), who then backed away and failed to get a set position before delivering his pitch. This allowed Varsho to trott home for the starting shot before Sergio Alcántara increased the lead to 6-4 with a sacrifice fly to the left.
Colomé had a solid season, entering Sunday’s game with a 3.67 ERA. But he is in the middle of a difficult period and has suffered defeat in three of his last four games.
“He’s a little timid when it comes to getting in the hitting zone, but you can’t serve like that,” said Rockies manager Bud Black. “So we’re going to have this conversation.”
Arizona won two of three games in a series between two teams languishing at the bottom of the NL West.
Zach Davies got off to a good start for the D-backs, throwing five innings scoreless. Chris Devenski (2-0) worked 1 2/3 innings with scoreless relief to claim the win.
Melancon managed the ninth for his 15th save in 18 occasions. The Rockies loaded the bases with two outs, but Randal Grichuk landed to end the game.
The Rockies bounced back from a 2-0 deficit with four carries in sixth off-D-Backs relief Kevin Ginkel, who allowed all six runners he faced to reach base. CJ Cron had the big hit with a two-RBI double to left field corner, while Elehuris Montero also had an RBI single.
Christian Walker gave the D-Backs a 2-0 lead in the first inning and launched a two-run shot into the left center seats. The cleanup hitter leads the team with 26 home runs.
José Ureña started on the mound for the Rockies, giving up three runs over six innings. Colorado has a 5-13 record since the All-Star break.
in honor of Scully
Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall was in California on Sunday and attended the private funeral of legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully.
Hall was with the Dodgers organization for 12 seasons, beginning in 1992 as an intern in Vero Beach, Florida. He eventually worked his way up to Sr. Vice President of Communications before departing in 2004.
The Rockies have a day off Monday before hosting the St. Louis Cardinals for a series starting Tuesday. Colorado will start RHP Ryan Feltner (1-3, 5.75 ERA). St. Louis starts RHP Miles Mikolas (8-8, 2.92).
The Diamondbacks host the Pittsburgh Pirates for a four-game series starting Monday. Arizona starts RHP Zac Gallen (6-2, 3:31). Pittsburgh starts RHP Tyler Beede (1-1, 3.89).