DENVER (AP) — The ball had barely even left his bat and already C.J. Cron was staring into the Colorado dugout.
That's how sure he was of where it would end up. That's how clutch he's been, too.
Cron hit a pair of three-run homers, including a go-ahead shot in the eighth, and the Rockies rallied for a 6-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.
Cron's 16th career multihomer game helped the Rockies come back from a 5-0 deficit. Cron instantly knew he got all of a breaking ball from Noé Ramirez, who entered in the eighth when reliever Ian Kennedy suffered a right calf cramp. The designated hitter did, too, as it cleared the fence in left-center as he glanced toward his teammates.
Cron also lined a three-run homer to left-center off Zac Gallen in the sixth to start the comeback.
“I was trying to do some damage,” Cron said. “I take a lot of pride in getting the job done with runners in scoring position.”
Jake Bird (1-0) pitched a perfect eighth and Daniel Bard earned his 16th save in 18 chances by getting Daulton Varsho to ground out with the bases loaded. A tight situation, indeed, after a double from Josh Rojas, an intentional walk of David Peralta and a walk of Christian Walker.
“He got it done,” said Rockies manager Bud Black, whose team wore green jerseys with white mountain peaks. “There’s a lot of ways to get saves.”
The game turned in the eighth when Kennedy got one out and had a 3-2 count on Yonathan Daza. Kennedy grabbed at his right leg, was checked by an athletic trainer and left the game for Ramirez (2-2), who was allowed to take all the warmup pitches he needed.
The right-hander surrendered a single to Daza and another to Charlie Blackmon before Cron's deep drive. Ramirez didn't record an out in surrendering three runs as the Rockies took two of three from the Diamondbacks.
A tough loss to absorb for Arizona.
“That's a game as a ballclub, as a franchise, we should win that game 100 times out of a 100,” Gallen said. “If this franchise wants to get to where I know it can get to and wants to get to those are games you have to win. You cannot let those games get away.
"We just let them hang around. Cron takes a good swing. We can’t let that happen.”
Peralta had a grand slam off starter Chad Kuhl in the fifth inning to stake the Diamondbacks to a 5-0 lead. It was his first grand slam in nearly seven years and third of his career.
Gallen turned in another solid performance at hitter-friendly Coors Field. He baffled the Rockies into the sixth, before Cron's two-out homer. Gallen went six innings, walked two and struck out four.
Last August, Gallen became the first Diamondbacks pitcher to throw at least seven scoreless innings in a start at Coors Field.
Kuhl unraveled in the fifth when he allowed two singles and a walk to pave the way for Peralta. His homer to right-center went an estimated 452 feet.
The right-handed Kuhl lasted five innings and surrendered five runs. He was coming off a three-hit shutout of the Los Angeles Dodgers last Monday.
Diamondbacks: Kennedy said he will be reevaluated Monday to see how his calf feels. “I didn’t think it was the smartest thing to do to keep going,” Kennedy explained.
Rockies: 3B Ryan McMahon appeared to hurt his hand when Cooper Hummel slid into his glove and dislodged the ball on a double steal in the sixth. McMahon remained in the game.
Cron is putting together an All Star-caliber season. He’s among the National League leaders in total bases, RBIs, extra base hits and home runs. He and Bard are the leading candidates to represent the Rockies at this year’s All Star Game.
Not that he’s giving it much thought.
“If that stuff comes, that stuff comes," said Cron, who has hit 19 homers this season.
According to Elias, Cron became the first player to have multiple homers and drive in all of his team’s runs during a comeback win after trailing by five or more runs since Boston’s Mike Greenwell on Sept. 2, 1996.
“Today, he put us on his shoulders,” Black said.
Diamondbacks: Lefty Madison Bumgarner (3-8, 3.63) starts Monday against the San Francisco Giants. He’s surrendered two runs or less in seven of his eight home starts.
Rockies: Lefty Kyle Freeland (4-5, 4.31) takes the mound Monday in Los Angeles. The Dodgers will throw lefty Julio Urías (6-6, 2.64).
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Pat Graham, The Associated Press