PHOENIX -- Rockies veteran left-hander Jorge De La Rosa's starts make for compelling watching, with his last three starts now having been decided by one run.
Problem is, it doesn't take much misfortune for games like that to end up losses. One bad pitch, an arrow-straight fastball that Paul Goldschmidt hit high off the left-field foul pole screen for a two-run homer, proved the difference in a 3-2 loss to the D-backs to open a four-game series at Chase Field on Thursday night.
De La Rosa (2-2) gave up seven hits, struck out one and tied a season high with three walks, but he forced three double-play grounders. It kept the National League West-leading Rockies close, but the lineup went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position to lead to the Rockies' fourth loss in five games.
"Jorge did his job, but the story of tonight was we just didn't get that big hit," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
It was similar to De La Rosa's other loss, a 4-2 loss at San Francsico on April 8, when De La Rosa gave up a three-run homer to Hunter Pence in the first inning. In fact, until the D-backs scored an unearned run in the second, De La Rosa had thrown 18 scoreless innings since the Pence homer. But the Goldschmidt homer two innings later proved more costly.
"I knew I hit it well," Goldschmidt said. "I was just hoping it would stay fair. I was watching it go down the line and it ended up hitting the screen. Obviously, I'll take it."
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said it took good at-bats against De La Rosa for the D-backs to earn their fourth victory in five games. De La Rosa threw six scoreless innings against the D-backs in his last start, a 4-3 victory at Coors Field on Saturday.
"He pitched well again, but we were able to scrape across a few this time," Gibson said. "He's a good pitcher -- he throws hard, he works both sides of the plate and he has good off-speed pitches, too. He's really good. We were lucky to get a few."
The Rockies' biggest lost chance was the fifth, when they loaded the bases in the final inning pitched by D-backs starter Trevor Cahill. However, Michael Cuddyer struck out and Ryan Wheeler grounded to second.
Cahill struck out six, held the Rockies to four hits and gave up a single unearned run, when D-backs third baseman Martin Prado couldn't field Yorvit Torrealba's bouncer. Cuddyer, who had doubled, scored from third on the play.
"He was able to get that sinker in the zone, sometimes even lower than the zone," said the Rockies' Eric Young Jr., who had one of his two hits against Cahill. "Sometimes when it's up, it's hittable in the zone, but tonight it was dropping more."
Carlos Gonzalez, who used to dominate the D-backs, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts to go to 2-for-15 in four games this season against Arizona.
"We just didn't execute," Gonzalez said. "We were going out of the strike zone and swinging at the pitches he wanted.
"I know I swung at bad pitches, and they're going to keep throwing them until I take them. I'd still expand the zone at 3-2. I'm just getting myself out. They're not getting me out."
Outside of the homer, the only run the D-backs managed off De La Rosa was unearned because Wheeler, called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Thursday, bounced a throw from third base that Cuddyer couldn't scoop up at first to allow Goldschmidt to reach leading off the second. Two batters later, Wil Nieves singled Goldschmidt home.
The Rockies' Young doubled off Josh Collmenter to open the seventh and scored on Troy Tulowitzki's two-out double. But that was the only run off the D-backs' maligned bullpen. Collmenter threw three innings, and J.J. Putz earned his fourth save with a scoreless ninth.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.