Wed, May 31, 2023 10:46 PM
By DAVID BRANDT, AP Baseball Writer
PHOENIX (AP) — As the calendar turns to June, the Arizona Diamondbacks look as if they're easily one of the most improved clubs in the big leagues.
If guys like second-year lefty Tommy Henry keep turning in performances like he did Wednesday night, the good times might just keep rolling for the remainder of the season.
Henry threw seven strong innings, Christian Walker hit his 100th career home run and the D-backs won their fourth straight game, beating the Colorado Rockies 6-0. Arizona has won 13 of 18 games and is just a half-game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers for the top of the NL West.
“We’re in a good spot,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “We’re a good baseball team with a lot to prove. We’ve worked hard to put ourselves in this position.”
Arizona improved to 33-23 on Wednesday, the first time it has been 10 games over .500 since 2018. To illustrate how far they've come, the D-backs didn't win their 33rd game until June 26 last season and didn't hit that mark until July 30 during a brutal 110-loss campaign in 2021.
The D-backs go for the four-game sweep over the Rockies on Thursday.
The 32-year-old Walker smashed No. 100 on a changeup from Peter Lambert in the fifth inning, hitting it high off the batter's eye above the 407-foot sign in center. It was Walker's 12th homer of the season and made it 6-0.
The Diamondbacks built a 5-0 lead by the end of the second, scoring three runs in the first and two in the second.
Rookie Corbin Carroll had RBI singles in both the first and second innings. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. added a two-run single in the first, and Pavin Smith brought home Jake McCarthy on a double down the right-field line in the second.
The early offense came against Colorado's Dinelson Lamet (1-2), who was making his first start of the season after coming off the injured list. The righty gave up five runs on seven hits over three innings, striking out four.
“He'll get up to speed,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “If that stuff remains like it is, he'll be fine.”
Henry (3-1) cruised on the mound for the Diamondbacks, giving up just two hits and two walks while striking out seven. The lefty coaxed double plays in the third and fourth innings, wiggling out of his only real trouble.
Arizona's leaned heavily on its top two starting pitchers — Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly — for the majority of the season. If others like Henry can pitch deep into games, it's much easier to imagine that the D-backs could make a push for the playoffs.
“I felt like my command in general was really good,” Henry said. “I may not have gotten ahead of as many guys as we would have liked, but knew that when we got behind, there were options.”
Arizona's Ketel Marte singled in the first and has reached base in 29 straight games. Smith, Carroll and McCarthy each had two hits.
McCarthy has had six hits over the past three games, re-establishing himself in the lineup after a slow start to the season and a brief demotion to Triple-A.
“When we're doing the punching, it's a fun brand of baseball,” McCarthy said.
The Rockies fell to 9-19 on the road. They're 15-14 at Coors Field.
Walker got a late start to his big-league career, emerging as the D-backs' starter at first base in 2019 when he was 28 years old.
He hit 29 homers that year and a career-high 36 in 2022. He also won a Gold Glove last season.
Rockies: Lamet was activated from the 15-day injured list. RHP Blair Calvo was sent to Triple-A. Lamet was the team's 11th starting pitcher in 57 games.
The teams finish their four-game series Thursday. The D-backs will start RHP Zach Davies (0-1, 5.68 ERA). The Rockies will counter with RHP Chase Anderson (0-0, 1.31 ERA).
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