DENVER (AP) — Luke Weaver’s comfort level with his new team is on the rise, and so is his pitching.
Weaver tossed seven strong innings, Nick Ahmed and Carson Kelly hit back-to-back home runs in a three-run second and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Colorado Rockies 9-2 on Saturday night for their ninth win in 11 games.
“You could just tell by his mound presence and his demeanor that he wanted the baseball in his hand and deliver pitches,” said Diamondbacks manager Torrey Lovullo of Weaver, who was acquired in December as part of the trade that sent Paul Goldschmidt to St. Louis.
“He’s pitching to a game plan,” Lovullo added. “He’s getting a lot of information. There’s a certain comfort level that he is developing here. It’s showing up every single start. We know that there is something very special in there and we’re watching that every fifth day.”
David Peralta also homered for the Diamondbacks, who have won six straight on the road. Wilmer Flores and Christian Walker hit RBI doubles, and Weaver helped himself with a sacrifice fly.
Weaver (3-1) kept the Rockies off balance, holding them to three hits while allowing one run in winning his third straight decision. He had eight strikeouts — one off his season high — and struck out the side in the third. He joined Patrick Corbin (2013) and Randy Johnson (2002) as the only Diamondbacks pitchers to go seven or more innings and allow three or fewer hits at Coors Field.
“I think we all expect ourselves to go out and do the best we can and try to dominate a game,” Weaver said. “Along the way, more than anything, I think it was trying to stay aggressive, let the guys behind me work and they made some fantastic plays out there and tracked down some balls and that just adds to the confidence factor throughout the game.”
The Rockies didn’t get a hit off him until Charlie Blackmon and Trevor Story started the bottom of the fourth with doubles, leading to Colorado’s first run. Blackmon tripled in a run in the eighth off reliever Matt Andriese.
“He was good. Good fastball and changeup. His changeup was really good,” said the Rockies’ David Dahl, who was Weaver’s final strikeout.
Kyle Freeland (2-5) allowed a career-high eight runs on nine hits in six innings. Six of the Diamondbacks’ hits were for extra bases, including three homers off Freeland — the most he has allowed in a game.
“Not hitting his spots,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “Tonight there were a few too many pitches up over the plate that were hit for home runs. When Kyle’s on, it’s a combo of inside corner effectiveness and down and away. The last two starts have been not enough corner and not enough down.”
Freeland set down the first five batters he faced before Flores singled for the Diamondbacks’ first hit. Ahmed and Kelly then hit successive homers. It was the first big league homer of Kelly’s career.
The back-to-back set marked the third time this season that Arizona hitters have hit consecutive home runs. They last did it April 20 against the Chicago Cubs when Eduardo Escobar and Peralta went back-to-back.
Arizona extended its lead to 7-0 with four runs in its half of the third. Ketel Martel walked and Escobar singled before Peralta drove Freeland’s 1-0 offering into the right-field seats above the out-of-town scoreboard for his fifth homer, and first off a left-hander this season.
Diamondbacks: RHP Taijuan Walker, on the comeback trail since undergoing Tommy John surgery in April 2017, is slated to pitch a four-inning simulated game Monday in extended spring training. … OF Adam Jones was removed from the game as a precaution after feeling lightheaded. He was replaced in right field by Tim Locastro in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Rockies: LHP Harrison Musgrave was placed on the 10-day injured list because of a flexor strain in his pitching elbow. Right-handed pitchers DJ Johnson and Yency Almonte have been recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque.
LHP Tyler Anderson, winless in five starts this season, was optioned to Albuquerque. A fixture in the Rockies’ rotation the past three years, Anderson was optioned for the first time since making his major league debut June 12, 2016, against San Diego. “Ultimately, it comes down to a performance game and we felt Tyler wasn’t where he needs to be to make his next start,” Black said before the game. Black said the team was still considering its options in naming a replacement for Anderson in the rotation.
Diamondbacks: RHP Zack Greinke (5-1, 3.27 ERA) is 4-1 with a 2.85 ERA in his last seven starts against the Rockies.
Rockies: RHP German Marquez (3-2, 2.93 ERA) enters Sunday’s series finale with the eighth-lowest ERA in the NL.
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