DJ LeMahieu found himself in the spotlight even if he doesn’t much care for being in the spotlight.
Walk-off homers will do that. Especially the first one of his career, in the middle of a heated division race.
LeMahieu hit a two-run homer off Yoshihisa Hirano in the ninth inning, and the NL West-leading Colorado Rockies rallied to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4 on Wednesday night.
“It was cool. Just a great moment,” the soft-spoken LeMahieu said. “That was awesome.”
LeMahieu launched a fastball over the fence in right as the Rockies kept their 1½-game advantage over Los Angeles intact after the Dodgers beat Cincinnati earlier in the day. The Diamondbacks fell 3½ games behind in the division race. This is the latest in the season the Rockies have been alone in first place since 1995.
A night after getting his first career save, Hirano (4-3) allowed a single by Gerardo Parra off the glove of first baseman Paul Goldschmidt to begin the ninth. Charlie Blackmon bunted Parra over to second and LeMahieu followed with the walk-off homer. He was doused with water after crossing home plate as fans chanted “DJ, DJ, DJ!”
“I was just looking to drive the ball. It was a lot of fun,” LeMahieu said.
Hirano’s pitch to LeMahieu was the latest miscue by a struggling Arizona bullpen where some roles have been juggled.
“He just made a mistake,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “He threw a fastball that could be taken the other way.”
Overlooked in LeMahieu’s ninth-inning theatrics was the performance of Colorado’s bullpen, which turned in five perfect innings, including two each by Chris Rusin and Scott Oberg. Wade Davis (3-6) picked up the win by pitching a flawless ninth, including two strikeouts.
That marks the first time the Rockies’ bullpen has tossed five perfect innings in franchise history, according to the team.
“Awesome the bullpen was able to do our job tonight, throw up a bunch of zeroes and give our team a chance,” Oberg said. “In this building, really anything can happen from an offensive standpoint.”
Nolan Arenado had a big night for the Rockies with two doubles, including a run-scoring one in the second, and a solo homer.
LeMahieu’s blast spoiled a solid outing by Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin, who allowed a season-high 10 hits, but navigated his way through trouble. He went 6 1/3 innings and allowed three runs.
The left-hander’s most crucial pitch was a slider to strike out LeMahieu with the bases loaded in the fourth.
Arizona’s bullpen bent a little in the eighth, issuing two walks, only to have reliever Archie Bradley enter with two outs and get pinch-hitter Carlos Gonzalez to roll out.
Eduardo Escobar’s homer in the third inning was his 21st of the season and sixth with the Diamondbacks since being acquired from the Minnesota Twins on July 27. Goldschmidt finished 2 for 4 with a double and extended his streak of reaching base to 48 straight road games. Alex Avila added a solo homer.
“These are tough, tough to lose under these circumstances,” Lovullo said. “It hurts.”
Since 2015, the Diamondbacks are now 17-6 against Colorado during games played in September or later — including their win in the NL wild-card contest last October.
Rockies starter Jon Gray labored on a night he didn’t have his best stuff. He lasted four innings and allowed four runs.
“I wouldn’t be smiling like this if we didn’t win the game like we did,” Gray said.
Arizona RHP Clay Buchholz (7-2, 2.01 ERA) makes his first career start at Coors Field in the finale of a four-game series with Colorado on Thursday. The Rockies will throw LHP Kyle Freeland (14-7, 2.91), who is 8-2 at home this season. The game will be an MLB Facebook Watch broadcast.
AROUND THE MAJORS
–-The Boston Red Sox have their first 100-win season since their 1946 American League pennant run. David Price combined with two relievers on a four-hitter as the Red Sox picked up their third straight win, 1-0 over the Blue Jays. Price is 15-6 with a 3.42 after limiting Toronto to three hits and no walks with seven strikeouts over seven innings. Aaron Sanchez was almost as effective, but he also uncorked a wild pitch that scored Rafael Devers in the fifth inning. Craig Kimbrel worked the ninth for his 39th save, helping Boston improve to a major league-best 100-46. The Red Sox need to win just six of their final 16 games to break a club record for victories set in 1912, the year Fenway Park opened.
–Boston’s magic number to clinch the AL East dropped to seven with the Yankees’ 3-1 loss at Minnesota. Jake Odorizzi no-hit New York until Greg Bird’s RBI double ended his night. Luis Severino was the victim of non-support, allowing just one run and four hits over 5 2/3 innings but falling to 17-8. New York is just one game ahead of Oakland for the first AL wild card.
— Cleveland’s magic number to clinch the AL Central remains three after Blake Snell picked up his major league-leading 19th victory in the Rays’ 3-1 win over the Indians. Snell had a no-hitter until Jose Ramirez led off the seventh with his 38th home run of the season. Ji-Man Choi hit a two-run homer in the first off Carlos Carrasco to help Snell improve to 19-5.
— George Springer made a run-saving diving catch in the eighth inning and the Astros completed their first-ever three-game sweep at Comerica Park by holding off the Tigers, 5-4. Alex Bregman doubled home a pair in a four-run fifth that put the Astros ahead, 5-2. The hit allowed Bregman to become the first third baseman in major league history to have 50 doubles and 30 homers in a season.
— Houston’s lead in the AL West remains three games over Oakland after the Athletics blasted the Orioles, 10-0 in Baltimore. All the runs came in the third inning as Matt Chapman began the eruption with a two-run double and ended it with an RBI single. Matt Olson crushed a three-run homer and Daniel Mengden worked five hitless innings of relief as the A’s coasted to their sixth consecutive victory.
— Austin Hedges and Hunter Renfroe belted two-run homers while the Padres were building a 5-0 lead in a 5-4 victory over the sputtering Mariners. San Diego scored three unearned runs and sent Seattle to its fourth loss in five games. Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager hit solo homers for the M’s, who are 9 ½ games out of a playoff berth.
— Jameson Taillon won his fourth straight start and Jacob Stallings drove in three runs in the Pirates’ 4-3 win at St. Louis. Taillon allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings as the Bucs ended the Cardinals’ three-game winning streak. The Redbirds’ lead for the second NL wild card was cut to two games over the Dodgers.
— The Dodgers avoided a seven-game season sweep of the Reds by getting three RBIs apiece from Yasmani Grandal and Justin Turner in an 8-1 rout at Cincinnati. Joc Pederson homered and Grandal had three hits for the Dodgers. Turner hit a two-run single in a four-run fifth that put Los Angeles ahead, 6-1.
— The Cubs’ lead in the NL Central is down to one game after Curtis Granderson homered, tripled and scored three runs to lead the second-place Brewers to a 5-1 win at Wrigley Field. Granderson also got three hits and Mike Moustakas had a two-run single for Milwaukee, which took two of three in the series. Six Brewers pitchers combined to hold Chicago to six hits, with Josh Hader stricking out three in the eighth to improve to 6-1.
— Tyler Flowers beat out an infield single with two out in the ninth to score Charlie Culberson with the tiebreaking run in the Braves’ fifth consecutive win, 2-1 at San Francisco. The Giants took a 1-0 lead on Evan Longoria’s RBI single in the third, but Freddie Freeman’s run-scoring single tied it three innings later. The Giants have dropped 11 straight, their longest losing streak since 1951 and two off the franchise record.
— The Phillies’ 5-1 loss at Washington gives the Braves a 7 ½-game lead in the NL East. Bryce Harper smacked a two-run homer before Juan Soto and Ryan Zimmerman added solo shots, sending Philadelphia to its fifth consecutive loss. Aaron Nola surrendered two round-trippers and was reached for four runs over five innings, leaving the Cy Young candidate 16-5 with a 2.42 ERA.
— Francisco Arcia hit a pair of solo homers and a two-run double as the Angels whipped the Rangers, 8-1. Jose Fernandez hit a two-run shot and Felix Pena worked six shutout innings of six-hit ball to help Los Angeles get back to .500.
— The Mets scored nine runs off three home runs in a 13-0 dismantling of the Marlins. Jay Bruce launched a grand slam, Amed Rosario hit a three-run shot and Dominic Smith added a two-run blast to back Zack Wheeler’s eight shutout innings of four-hit ball. The start of the game was held up 5 1/2 by rain, causing Game 2 of the scheduled doubleheader to be postponed and pushed back to Thursday.
— The White Sox knocked off the Royals, 4-2 on Tim Anderson’s two-run homer in the 12th inning. Jose Rondon also hit a two-run shot for the White Sox, who ended a seven-game skid and avoided becoming the third big league club with at least 90 losses.