By MICHAEL KELLY, Associated Press
DENVER (AP) — Warwick Saupold got the best of Nolan Arenado on Monday night. The slugger got redemption in his rematch with the Detroit Tigers reliever 24 hours later.
Arenado capped a four-run seventh inning with his 30th homer, and the Colorado Rockies beat Detroit 7-3 on Tuesday night.
Arenado’s three-run shot off Saupold broke open a close game and helped the Rockies win for the fourth time in six tries. Colorado increased its lead to four games over Milwaukee for the second NL wild card.
“It was huge for us, especially after losing a tough game (Monday),” Arenado said.
It was a bounce-back game for Arenado. Saupold struck him out with the bases loaded in the sixth inning of Detroit’s win Monday, but Arenado didn’t miss an 0-1 pitch Tuesday.
“Yesterday I feel I let the team down with my bases loaded at-bat where I struck out,” he said. “To be able to come up and help them out today feels good.”
Mikie Mahtook tied the game for Detroit in the top of the seventh with a two-run homer, his 10th, before the Rockies rallied in the bottom half.
Colorado went ahead 4-3 on singles by Jonathan Lucroy — who reached after an 11-pitch at-bat — and Trevor Story, and a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Carlos Gonzalez off starter Michael Fulmer (10-12).
“Lucroy in that seventh inning put up a hell of an at-bat,” Fulmer said. “You have to tip your cap to him. I thought he fouled off some good pitches, took some good pitches as well.”
Charlie Blackmon reached on a fielder’s choice. Saupold walked DJ LeMahieu, and Arenado followed with his three-run drive to reach 30 homers for the third straight season. He leads the majors with 111 RBIs.
“I got ahead with a first-pitch breaking ball like I did the previous night,” Saupold said. “The fastball didn’t get in enough and he made me pay.”
LeMahieu hit his seventh homer in the first inning and Gerardo Parra had a two-run single to give Rockies starter German Marquez a 3-0 lead. Marquez tied a career high with 10 strikeouts before leaving with one out in the seventh.
Pat Neshek (2-1) and two more relievers retired the last eight batters.
Tigers: 1B Miguel Cabrera was not in the lineup due to back tightness that will likely keep him out Wednesday as well. “He’s a little sore,” manager Brad Ausmus said. “He’s probably not going to play, given the off day. We’ll see how he feels (Wednesday).” Ausmus said Cabrera was available to pinch hit Tuesday. … Ausmus said DH Victor Martinez (irregular heartbeat) is scheduled to see the team doctors Wednesday.
Rockies: Gonzalez, a late scratch Monday, was kept out of the starting lineup with his sore left ankle. He received treatment before the game and was well enough to pinch hit in the seventh.
Plate umpire Mike Everitt left in the middle of the first inning after being hit by a warmup pitch from Fulmer.
Everitt was crouched behind Tigers catcher James McCann as Fulmer threw warmup pitches in the middle of the inning. One pitch got past McCann and hit Everitt in the upper right thigh area. He was attended to by a Rockies trainer and left the game.
Fulmer said the two-seam fastball he threw moved more than he expected.
“I’ve never seen my ball do that before, ever,” Fulmer said. “I tried to throw a two-seamer, it moved a good 2 or 3 feet. I’ve never done it before in my life. I feel terrible for hitting him and I hope he’s OK.”
Tom Woodring moved from second base to home plate and the rest of the game was played with three umpires. The game was delayed 12 minutes.
Tigers: RHP Justin Verlander (9-8, 3.90 ERA) is 2-0 with a 1.99 ERA in three career starts against the Rockies. He tossed a complete game on June 19, 2011, in his only start at Coors Field.
Rockies: RHP Chad Bettis (0-1, 3.79) will make his fourth start since returning from cancer treatment. He allowed five runs over five innings in a loss at Atlanta on Friday.
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