PHOENIX • Things got tense in the desert on Friday night.
The Rockies and Diamondbacks, two teams fighting it out for last place in the NL West, had a series of spicy encounters. No one got ejected though, despite arguments from both sides with the umpires. The Rockies won 6-5, but at an expense. C.J. Cron and José Iglesias both left the game with injuries.
"That's the worst part," Rockies starter Chad Kuhl said. "It's a long season, you expect to lose guys. You just have to hope for the best and that those guys can be out there sooner than later."
Things started out tame. Kris Bryant hit a home run to open the game, his first of two for the day, and Josh Rojas countered with one of his own in the other half of the inning. The Diamondbacks got ahead in the second.
The Rockies were within two in the fifth when Zac Gallen started to lose his command. The Rockies loaded the bases after a double from Brian Serven and walks for Yonathan Daza and Kris Bryant. Brendan Rodgers also drew a free ride, sending in a run to get within one of the Diamondbacks.
That set up Cron for a shot at a grand slam, but he never got the chance. Down 0-2 in the count, Gallen hit him with a 94.4 mph fastball on his left hand. Cron jumped in the air after the impact, then toppled to the ground, clearly in pain. Trainers came out to look at his hand and then removed him from the game. It really stung, he said, and he was initially worried that he had broken his hand again, like he did in 2017.
X-rays were negative and he likely won't need a stint on the injured list, but Cron is still not in the clear. He has a left wrist contusion, but it could still take a few days to heal. Losing Cron for any amount of time would be a major setback for the Rockies. He's their leader in almost every offensive category, and ranks in the top of the National League in several categories, including RBIs (65) and home runs (20th). Cron has played in every game, the only one on the team to do so.
And this was just the latest in a series of incidents between Cron and the Diamondbacks. They've hit him seven times since the start of the 2021 season, not including when they plunked him in the head in a spring training game.
"I don't believe any of them were on purpose necessarily," Cron said. "But at the same time, eight times in a year and a half is a lot. It is what is. They are not afraid to get in there."
Kuhl went back out for the bottom of the fifth, and the game would soon heat up again. Kuhl sent a 95-mph sinker way too wide and high, narrowly avoiding nicking Daulton Varsho in the lower back and butt area. Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo came out to argue, mad that it appeared like Kuhl was trying to hit his player.
Lovullo said he thought there was clear intent from Kuhl.
"I’m pissed. I don’t like that type of baseball," Lovullo said. "I don’t like my players getting thrown it. It pissed me off. It pissed me off. And I just didn’t understand why their pitcher wasn’t ejected."
Kuhl got a warning from the umpires, and manger Bud Black did too after an extended engagement. Black said he was upset that his pitcher was the one who was getting the warning, when it was the Diamondbacks who had just hit Cron once again.
Kuhl would finish off the inning, ending his day after giving up four runs on six hits.
"I left a couple pitches up in the zone and they took care of it," Kuhl said. "Just happy that I ended it on a good note and finished the inning pretty calm. Something to build on there and kind of wipe those early innings."
Good and bad news came for the Rockies in the sixth. The Rockies would take the lead, scoring a run on a fielders choice. But they would watch Iglesias collide with Diamondbacks catcher Josh Herrera at the plate. Both were down on the ground for a few minutes. Herrera was able to get up and stayed in the game. Iglesias, though, appeared dazed and had to be helped off the field. He was dizzy after, Black said.
"It was hard contact, a hard baseball play," Black said. "It could have been worse."
Bryant would add his second home run of the day in the seventh and a double in the ninth, making it his first three-hit day in purple. He's hitting .350 and slugging .650 since coming back from the injured list on June 27, with 14 hits and three home runs.
"Lately I feel like I've been hitting the ball pretty hard and getting some results with it," he said.