Ahmed's single in ninth lifts Diamondbacks

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[June 24, 2016]  DENVER -- The at-bat lasted 12 pitches and ended in a strikeout on a 100 mph fastball, but Nick Ahmed said watching Paul Goldschmidt do battle with Colorado Rockies closer Carlos Estevez paved the way for his game-winning single.

The hit came with two outs in the ninth inning Thursday and gave the Arizona Diamondbacks a 7-6 victory after the Rockies tied the game with three runs in the eighth.

Estevez struck out Yasmany Tomas and Goldschmidt before Jake Lamb singled, Chris Herrmann lined a single off the glove of Estevez (1-4) and Ahmed, who entered the game in the eighth, grounded a first-pitch single up the middle on a 99 mph fastball to score Lamb.

"'Goldy' saw a bunch of pitches from him that inning, so I got a good look just to scout him right there in that inning," said Ahmed, who was 7-for-31 with runners in scoring position and two outs. "I knew he was trying to get ahead with his heater and threw hard, so I was just getting ready for a fastball."

The victory was ninth in 12 games for the Diamondbacks, who crept to within a half game of the third-place Rockies in the National League West and improved to 22-15 on the road.

The loss was the fifth in seven games for the Rockies, who nearly overcame a shaky start from Eddie Butler. He gave up two-run homers to Socrates Brito and Lamb in a four-run third and two more runs in the fourth, leaving after the fifth with the Rockies trailing 6-3.

They tied the game at 6 with a three-run eighth but were unable to grab the lead after loading the bases with one out. Closer Brad Ziegler came on with one out and runners on first and third to protect a one-run lead. He had set a club record with 43 consecutive saves -- the seventh longest streak all-time. It ended when DJ LeMahieu pushed a safety squeeze that first baseman Goldschmidt fielded, but the sliding Daniel Descalso easily beat Goldschmidt's throw.

Ziegler (2-2), who worked the ninth, walked Nolan Arenado to load the bases after LeMahieu's bunt but struck out Carlos Gonzalez and Trevor Story.

"It definitely could have been worse," Ziegler said. "I had to execute pitches. I'm not trying to strike guys out there. I'm trying to get a double play, use my defense. That's the strength of our team, especially when I'm on the mound. Strikeouts aren't my forte."

Gonzalez appeared to injure his right wrist swinging at the third strike and left the game.

"He just tweaked his wrist a little bit," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "We'll check him out tomorrow."

Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke was more vintage than gritty. He worked 5 2/3 innings and left after throwing 109 pitches. It was the second-shortest outing of the season for Greinke, who pitched four innings against the Rockies in his Arizona debut April 4. With a runner on first and left-handed hitter Charlie Blackmon coming up, Arizona manager Chip Hale summoned left-hander Andrew Chafin and he struck Blackmon out.

After getting to Greinke for four hits and three runs in the first two innings, the Rockies managed only three singles against him for the balance of his outing. He had to work around two errors, and while he was unable to retire the side in order in any inning, Greinke stranded six runners in the final four innings he was on the mound.

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Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed (13) hits an RBI single in the ninth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Diamondbacks won 7-6. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

"I was having trouble finishing off a strikeout," Greinke said. "They just kept fouling off balls. Multiple at-bats like that got the pitch count up high. They had a decent amount of guys on base, too, so I had to get out of some jams."

The Rockies jumped on Greinke for three early runs. Mark Reynolds lofted an opposite-field home run just beyond the out-of-town scoreboard in right to open the second. Arenado's double with one out and Story's two-out single plated two runs in the first.

Butler yielded a career-high tying 11 hits in five innings and threw a career-high 106 pitches. It was the third time he allowed that many hits and second this season.

Greinke scored twice, singled and after drawing a walk in the fourth, stole second on a head-first slide.

"I don't ever want to slide head-first," Greinke said. "But for some reason, when I was running, I didn't have good balance. I almost felt like (I was) leaning forward, so it would've been tough to switch my momentum into a feet-first slide."

NOTES: Rockies SS Jose Reyes was placed on waivers for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release. The Rockies had designated him for assignment June 15. ... Rockies RHP Jon Gray, who experienced shoulder fatigue during a start Wednesday, will throw a light side session Friday and is expected to make his next scheduled start Monday. ... Diamondbacks RF Yasmany Tomas batted second for the first time this season and the third time in his career, and went 1-for-5 with an RBI. ... Diamondbacks OF Chris Owings (plantar fasciitis left foot) took live batting practice at the team's complex in Scottsdale, Ariz. Manager Chip Hale said he hopes to have Owings back toward the end of next week. ... Rockies RHP Christian Bergman (left oblique strain) made his first rehab start for Triple-A Albuquerque and gave up three hits and three runs in four innings with two walks and four strikeouts, throwing 60 pitches, 39 strikes ... Rockies RHP Adam Ottavino (right ulnar collateral ligament) continued his rehab at Triple-A Albuquerque and allowed one hit with one strikeout in one inning, throwing 20 pitches, 10 strikes. It was his fifth rehab outing after four appearances for high Class A Modesto as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery in May 2015.

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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