MLB: D-backs seek encore after explosive opener vs. Rockies

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The Arizona Diamondbacks enjoyed a record-setting opener that included a 14-run third inning.

Now Arizona hopes there is plenty more production in store on Friday night when it faces the Colorado Rockies in the second contest of a four-game series at Phoenix.

The Diamondbacks racked up 18 hits in an easy 16-1 steamrolling of the Rockies on Thursday.

Arizona eclipsed its franchise record of 13 runs in an inning — accomplished against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 11, 2010 — while sending 18 batters to the plate.

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo was amazed with how his players performed in the epic inning, which featured 13 hits and two walks but no home runs.

“I’ve never seen anything like this, and it just kept going and kept happening,” Lovullo said. “It was real good approaches to the baseball.

“Nobody was trying to hit the ball out of the ballpark. They were trying to do what they do the best and stay inside the baseball and use an all-fields approach.”

Arizona right-hander Zac Gallen was the recipient of the scoring splurge and had an extra long break between innings.

“It makes our job as pitchers a lot easier when they give you that much support,” Gallen said. “Next time, I’d rather them just do it in 10 minutes. Those guys came ready to play.”

It was a solid season debut for the defending National League champions. Eight Arizona players had two or more hits.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. went 3-for-5 with a homer, five RBIs and three runs, Ketel Marte finished 3-for-5 with three runs, and Gabriel Moreno had three RBIs. The Diamondbacks were a scorching 12-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

“They had a lot of momentum,” Colorado manager Bud Black said of the 14-run inning that also represented the most the Rockies have allowed in a single frame. “They just kept getting hits and balls kept going through and balls kept dropping. A couple were looped into the outfield. That’s baseball.”

It was a rough season opener for the Rockies, who went a franchise-worst 59-103 last season and finished more than 40 games out of first place in the National League West for the second straight season.

Colorado’s Ryan McMahon had two hits and two walks on Thursday, including a run-scoring double.

Arizona will send right-hander Merrill Kelly (12-8, 3.29 ERA in 2023) to the mound on Friday.

Kelly, 35, was superb in the 2023 postseason, posting a 3-1 record and 28 strikeouts in 24 innings over four starts.

Kelly dominated the Rockies last season, striking out 28 in just 19 innings. He went 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA in three starts.

Overall, Kelly is 5-3 with a 3.89 ERA in 12 starts against Colorado.

Kris Bryant is 9-for-22 (.409) against Kelly, while Elias Diaz is 2-for-20 (.100). McMahon (6-for-33, .182) and Elehuris Montero (3-for-6, .500) both have two homers against Kelly.

Cal Quantrill will make his first start for Colorado after being acquired in the offseason from the Cleveland Guardians.

The 29-year-old right-hander served up four homers over 4 2/3 innings against the Cincinnati Reds in his final spring outing on Saturday. He allowed six runs and 12 hits.

Quantrill went 15-5 with a 3.38 ERA in 32 starts for Cleveland in 2022 but dropped to 4-7 with a 5.24 ERA in 19 outings last season.

Quantrill is 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA in five appearances (four starts) against the Diamondbacks.

Eugenio Suarez (5-for-12, .417) and Christian Walker (4-for-9, .444, one homer) have fared well against Quantrill. Joc Pederson is just 1-for-10 against him, though the lone hit was a homer.

–Field Level Media

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