PHOENIX (AP) — Caleb Smith doesn’t mind admitting he was angry at being pulled from Arizona’s starting rotation after one ineffective start at the beginning of the season. In fact, he still is.
But instead of moping, he got better. Now he’s among the reasons the Diamondbacks are suddenly playing good baseball.
Smith was one of five Arizona relievers who threw a scoreless inning on Thursday night, which allowed Arizona time to rally for a 5-3 win over the Colorado Rockies. After a 5-10 start to the season, the D-backs are now 13-12.
“Anything they want me to do, I’ll do,” Smith said. “And I’ll do it with a smile — well maybe not a smile on my face — but to the best of my ability. And I won’t complain about it.”
The Rockies built a 3-0 lead by the third inning after Charlie Blackmon, Trevor Story and Ryan McMahon all had run-scoring hits. But the Diamondbacks responded with a run in the third and two more in the fourth to tie the game. Josh Rojas’ solo homer to right field — his second of the season — cut the D-backs’ deficit to 3-2.
Arizona’s decisive rally came in the seventh when Eduardo Escobar tripled into the right-center gap, scoring Josh VanMeter. David Peralta followed with a single that brought home Escobar, and the D-backs had their final 5-3 margin.
Arizona right-hander Luke Weaver lasted just four innings, giving up three runs on five hits and four walks. But the D-backs’ bullpen was excellent: Chris Devenski, Taylor Clarke, Smith (2-1), Kevin Ginkel and Stefan Crichton all pitched a scoreless inning.
“These guys came out on the attack,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “I could feel it in the dugout.”
Smith stuck out the side in the seventh. He had about as good of an inning as a reliever can have: 13 pitches, nine swinging strikes, three strikeouts…