DENVER • The Rockies were down bad.
Chad Kuhl, fresh off the game of his life, dug them into a 5-0 hole. The offense couldn't crack Diamondbacks starter Zac Gallen — they had just one hit through the first five innings, a single by Yonathan Daza in the first. Morale was low, and a lost challenge didn't help that.
Then CJ Cron walked up to the plate. And just like that, the tides changed.
Cron smashed his first home run of the day in the sixth, a three-run affair to get the Rockies within two of the Diamondbacks. Then, in the eighth Cron did it again. He hit the first pitch he saw to left-center. Daza, standing at third, threw his hands up as soon as the ball left the bat. It was a no-doubter, and ended up being the game winner for the Rockies, who beat the Diamondbacks 6-5 to win the series. Cron earned all six RBIs.
"That was a big one," manager Bud Black said. "I'd say there are five to 10 games like that where you walk into the clubhouse where you are fist-pumping and the guys are pumped. The players know that was a good one."
The Rockies took both series of the homestand, taking two of three from the Dodgers earlier this week. As the season nears the halfway point, Colorado is now tied for last place in the NL West with the Diamondbacks, a step up from where they were a week ago, and 5-5 in their last 10 games. They'll now face a case of déjà vu, getting to play the Dodgers and Diamondbacks in the same order again next week in a crucial road trip.
"I think we need wins however we can get them at this point," Cron said. "It's getting a little late here. Especially at this ballpark we need to win games. Taking two of three from the Dodgers and two of three from these guys was big for us."
The home runs were Cron's 18th and 19th of the season. He's accounted for 26% of the Rockies' home runs this year. He doesn't feel the pressure, he said, but rather relishes in the opportunity to make big things happen.
"That's my job in the middle of the order, to drive in runs," Cron said. "I got the opportunity today a couple of times. We needed more than one run there, I felt like, so I was trying to do some damage."
Bard gets the save
Daniel Bard has been nearly unstoppable recently. But the ninth inning on Sunday was a big test for the Rockies' closer.
With a one run lead, Bard struck out Ketel Marte to start his quest for his 16th save. But then Josh Rojas taxed him for a double, and David Peralta was intentionally walked. A series of close calls led to a free ride for Christian Walker as well, loading the bases up with two outs.
But Bard didn't melt down. Instead, he threw a 97.9 mph sinker to Daulton Varsho to get him to ground out to end the game. Bard now has the fifth-most saves in the National League and 0.52 ERA in 17.1 innings pitched since May 18.
"Daniel has been really consistent all year, that's what our expectation of him is and that's his expectation," manager Bud Black said. "He threw the ball really well. There's a lot of ways to get saves, they are all different each and every night. This team came at us with some really good at-bats but he made pitches."
Jake Bird, who made his debut last month, got his first win after pitching a scoreless eighth.
Rockies add pitching depth
The Rockies acquired RHP Corey Oswalt from the Phillies for cash considerations on Sunday. Oswalt will report to Triple-A Albuquerque.
Oswalt, 28, has some starting experience for the Mets. He hasn't pitched in the majors this year, and has been used as both a starter and reliever for the Phillies and Giants Triple-A teams. The Rockies pitching depth is lacking, with Antonio Senzatela and Peter Lambert on the injured list and Ryan Rolison out for the season.