DENVER (AP) — Nolan Arenado hit his first homer of the season to ignite a five-run sixth inning and the Colorado Rockies matched their best start in franchise history by holding on for a 7-6 win over the San Francisco Giants on Monday night.
The Rockies are 7-2 for the fifth time in team history. They also had that mark in 1995, ’97, 2011 and ’15.
It was a nerve-wracking ninth for the Rockies as the Giants scored two runs before newly appointed closer Jairo Diaz got the final out to earn his second save. He’s stepping in for Wade Davis, who went on the injured list with a strained right shoulder.
Trailing 4-1 in the sixth, Arenado lined a two-run homer to left off Johnny Cueto. The breakout inning also included an RBI single from Matt Kemp and a go-ahead single from David Dahl that also brought in another run on right fielder Alex Dickerson’s errant throw.
Chris Owings added a much-needed insurance run with a solo homer in the eighth to make it 7-4.
Jeff Hoffman (1-0) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief to earn the win.
Mike Yastrzemski, Chadwick Tromp and Dickerson went deep for the Giants, who started a season-long 10-game trip.
Cueto needed 29 pitches to escape the opening inning, but limited the damage to just an RBI single by Daniel Murphy. He settled into a groove before struggling in the sixth. Wandy Peralta (1-1) took the loss in relief after allowing three runs, two earned.
Rockies starter Chi Chi Gonzalez lasted three innings, allowing three runs, in his season debut. It was a rare off outing by a Rockies starter. The group entered the day with a league-leading 2.00 ERA.
Arenado flew around the bases after his homer as his teammates applauded. Arenado and manager Bud Black air fist-bumped near the dugout steps.
It was the 228th homer of Arenado’s career, moving him past Carlos González and into fourth place on the team’s all-time list.
Ryan McMahon had a triple in the pivotal sixth that bounced off the glove of Dickerson. McMahon was brought home on Kemp’s RBI single. It was a tough inning for Dickerson, who fielded Dahl’s single and threw wide of everyone, allowing Owings to score.
Arenado took early batting practice Monday in an effort to break out of his funk. The homer was his first extra-base hit of the season. Arenado hit 41 homers last season.
“There are a lot of pitchers that are going to have to pay for this,” Black said of Arenado’s slump. “It can happen with one swing, that confidence.”
Count Giants manager Gabe Kapler as thankful he has a 30-man roster for at least three of four games at Coors Field, which has been known to take a toll on a pitching staff. The rosters are tentatively scheduled to shrink to 28 on Thursday.
“Right now, especially at Coors, it’s nice to have that added cushion, that extra pitching,” Kapler said.
The Giants recalled lefty Andrew Suarez from their alternate training site. They optioned right-hander Andrew Triggs, who will be on the major league taxi squad.
Rockies: Reliever Scott Oberg (blood clots) will remain in Denver to be looked at by specialists. “This is going to take a while to go through check lists, go through tests, go through a lot of different things to find out why this happened,” manager Bud Black said.
Rockies ace Germán Márquez (1-1, 1.54) makes his first home start of the season Tuesday against San Francisco. He’s 18-11 with a 5.01 ERA in his career at Coors Field. The Giants have yet to announce a starter.
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