PHOENIX — — It’s been a year for Mark Melancon, a four-time All-Star who has already missed 10 games this season, costing him his job as the primary hitter for the Arizona Diamondbacks bullpen.
Thanks to some tired arms, Melancon got another chance on Sunday. He didn’t let it go to waste.
Daulton Varsho hit a go-ahead home run in the eighth thanks to a fly ball, Melancon earned his 15th save with a scoreless single and the Diamondbacks swept the series from the Colorado Rockies 6-4.
“He’s a true professional,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said of Melancon. “The bottom line is he wants to win, he doesn’t care about anything else and he’s going to do whatever it takes to help this team win a baseball game.”
Melancon helped the D-backs on Sunday in a familiar role. The 37-year-old signed a $14 million, two-year contract during the offseason because he has been so good and consistent during his 14-year career.
Melancon said his recent struggles have been frustrating, but he’s been given a chance to dig deeper into analysis and find a way to overcome his slump. It may be too early to say the study has succeeded, but Sunday was a step in the right direction.
“Doing this my whole life, you can still get better,” Melancon said.
The D-backs fell behind 4-2 in the sixth, but Emmanuel Rivera — added in a deal with the Kansas City Royals at the trade deadline — hit a solo shot that cut the deficit to 4-3. It was his seventh homer of the year and first with his new team.
Josh Rojas had an RBI double in the seventh that tied the game at 4-all.
Arizona loaded the bases on Rockies eighth reliever Alex Colomé (2-6), who then struck out, failing to reach a designated spot before delivering his pitch. That allowed Varsho to walk home for the go-ahead run before Sergio Alcántara pushed the lead to 6-4 with a sacrifice fly to left.
Colomé’s had a solid season, entering Sunday’s game with a 3.67 ERA. But he is in the midst of a rough patch, picking up defeat in three of his last four outings.
“He’s a little willing to get in the strike zone, but you can’t play like that,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “Well we’re going to have that conversation.”
Arizona took two of three games in a series between two teams languishing at the bottom of the NL West.
Zach Davies got off to a good start for the D-backs, going five scoreless innings. Chris Devenski (2-0) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings to earn the win.
Melancon handled the ninth for his 15th save in 18 chances. The Rockies loaded the bases with two outs, but Randal Grichuk ended the game.
The Rockies rallied from a 2-0 deficit with four runs in the sixth off D-backs reliever Kevin Ginkel, who allowed all six runners he faced to reach base. CJ Cron had the big hit with a two-RBI double into the left field corner, while Elehuris Montero also had an RBI single.
Christian Walker put the D-backs up 2-0 in the first inning, blasting a two-run shot into the left-center seats. The cleanup hitter leads the team with 26 homers.
José Ureña started for the Rockies on the mound, giving up three runs in six innings. Colorado has a 5-13 record since the All-Star break.
Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall was in California on Sunday, attending the private funeral of legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully.
Hall was in the Dodgers organization for 12 seasons, starting as an intern in 1992 in Vero Beach, Florida. Finally he went to Sr. Vice President of Communications before leaving in 2004.
The Rockies have Monday off before hosting the St. Louis Cardinals. Louis for a series starting Tuesday. Colorado will start RHP Ryan Feltner (1-3, 5.75 ERA). St. Louis starts RHP Miles Mikolas (8-8, 2.92).
The Diamondbacks host the Pittsburgh Pirates for a four-game series beginning Monday. Arizona will start RHP Zac Gallen (6-2, 3.31). Pittsburgh will start RHP Tyler Beede (1-1, 3.89).