The Colorado Rockies are well out of National League wild-card contention, but they do relish opportunities to hand contenders some stinging losses.
The Rockies delivered a painful setback to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the middle contest of a three-game series on Tuesday, and they will look to win the rubber match of the set on Wednesday afternoon.
After falling 4-2 on Monday, Colorado notched a 3-2 victory on Tuesday night as Arizona lost ground in the wild-card race. It was just the Rockies' third win in 12 meetings with the Diamondbacks this season.
"We're really focused on playing our ball," Colorado outfielder Brenton Doyle said after the victory. "We know we can be spoilers, and that's kind of exciting."
The setback left the Diamondbacks (71-68) one game behind the Cincinnati Reds in the battle for the National League's third wild-card spot. The Miami Marlins are a half-game ahead of Arizona.
The Diamondbacks finished 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday, and not a single Arizona batter reached base in nine at-bats against Colorado relievers Matt Koch, Jake Bird and Tyler Kinley.
"We just didn't get it done," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. "We all know what's in front of us, we know the situation, but we just couldn't go out there and string together consistent at-bats."
The Diamondbacks have lost seven of their past 10, which increases the urgency for a win on Wednesday.
After the series finale, Arizona departs on a road trip that consists of four games against the Chicago Cubs and four against the New York Mets.
The Diamondbacks were hoping veteran Evan Longoria would provide a boost in his return after missing nearly four weeks with back issues. However, he went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts on Tuesday and is 4-for-25 (.160) with no homers, one RBI and 10 strikeouts in nine games since coming off the injured list.
Meanwhile, Doyle was one of the Colorado heroes on Tuesday with his first two-hit outing since Aug. 6. He also scored the Rockies' final run when he led off the fourth inning with a triple and Charlie Blackmon followed with a sacrifice fly.
Prior to Tuesday, Doyle was batting just .152 (25-for-164) over his previous 53 games.
"I've been doing some mechanical tweaks here lately and I'm glad they showed out tonight," said Doyle, who raised his batting average to .188. "I kind of wanted to wait for the offseason, but things haven't really been going my way, so it kind of forced me to start things early, and today was a good step forward."
Arizona right-hander Zach Davies (2-5, 6.45 ERA) will look for another strong outing on Wednesday after posting his first victory since June 7 in his most recent start.
Davies limited the Baltimore Orioles to one run and four hits over six innings in a 4-2 win on Friday. He struck out six and walked one.
Davies, 30, is 4-3 with a 4.40 ERA in 14 career starts against the Rockies. He faced Colorado on June 1 in Phoenix, and he got a no-decision after permitting three runs in 5 2/3 innings.
Ryan McMahon (7-for-22) and Elias Diaz (7-for-23) have each hit two homers against Davies. Blackmon is 4-for-33 vs. Davies.
Chris Flexen (1-6, 6.89 ERA) will start for Colorado.
Flexen is 1-2 with a 5.94 ERA in seven starts since joining the Rockies. He began the season with the Seattle Mariners and was traded to the New York Mets in early July before getting released days later.
The 29-year-old right-hander received a no-decision on Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays when he gave up four runs and seven hits over 5 2/3 innings. Three of the hits were homers.
Flexen is 1-1 with a 5.48 ERA in four career starts against Arizona. In a start against the Diamondbacks on Aug. 14 in Denver, he allowed four runs on five hits in six innings en route to a no-decision.
Christian Walker (2-for-3) has homered against Flexen, while Ketel Marte is hitless in 10 at-bats vs. the veteran.
—Field Level Media