DENVER — On a day when he got a break from his job as the Colorado Rockies starting shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki stepped into a starring role of a different sort.
Tulowitzki started a five-run eighth inning with his first career pinch-hit home run, and the Rockies rallied to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-4 Thursday.
"I have a lot of respect for guys who have to make a living pinch-hitting. It's difficult," Tulowitzki said. "I was just trying to put together a good at-bat."
It was good enough to help Colorado overcome the loss of its starter, Jorge De La Rosa, because of a small cut on the middle finger of his left (pitching) hand.
"The cut opened up pretty good," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "We felt if we let him go any longer, maybe he's really going to tear that thing."
The team said De La Rosa's status was day to day.
Axford had blown a save for the first time this season in an 8-7 loss to the Diamondbacks on Wednesday.
"This feels good. Overall, it feels good because it was a great team win," Axford said. "Having a short memory is important and getting back out there is important, so if the game was on the line again, I wanted to be back out there if they needed me."
Arizona's Rubby De La Rosa left after seven effective innings with the Diamondbacks in front 2-1. Reliever Daniel Hudson opened the eighth against Tulowitzki, Colorado's slugging shortstop who was brought in to bat for Justin Miller (1-0).
The Diamondbacks have failed to reach .500 in their past 11 tries. They were last .500 on April 24.
Tulowitzki drove a 1-0 pitch from Hudson (2-3) beyond the center field wall into the Rockies' bullpen for his eighth home run of the season. The Rockies sent 11 batters to the plate, including five who reached on walks, two intentionally.
"I just trying to get it down," Hudson said of his pitch to Tulowitzki. "I just left it up a little bit up. He put a pretty good swing on it. Then I walked the next guy and it snowballed which is the way things happen here. It's tough sometimes to stop it."
"We had the game where we wanted to have it," Arizona manager Chip Hale said. "We felt comfortable there. You know, Tulowitzki came off the bench and hits a home run. It's just very typical playing in this ballpark. The game is never over."
Jorge De La Rosa had matched his Diamondbacks counterpart through five scoreless innings before walking the first two batters in the sixth. He stepped off the mound and began rubbing the finger and trainers came out to the mound to check on him. De La Rosa has been bothered by the cut for his past few starts.
The Rockies had another scary moment when catcher Michael McKenry and third baseman Nolan Arenado collided in foul territory as they raced to catch Chris Owings' popup. McKenry hung on to make the catch while Arenado seemed to take the worst of the collision.
Arenado shook it off, though, and subsequently homered on the first pitch he saw from Rubby De La Rosa to even the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth.
Diamondbacks: RHP Archie Bradley, one of the team's top prospects, has been sent to Phoenix to have his right shoulder examined. Bradley, who has been dealing with tendinitis in his pitching shoulder, made his first rehab appearance for Triple-A Reno on Wednesday. "He just didn't feel that great after the outing so we sent him back to Phoenix to be evaluated," Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said.
Rockies: OF Carlos Gonzalez was held out of the starting lineup for a third consecutive game because of a strained left hand. He remains day to day. ... RHP Rafael Betancourt, on the 15-day disabled list since June 8 because of vertigo symptoms, was expected to be reinstated in the next two or three days, while the team is at San Francisco, according to manager Walt Weiss.
Diamondbacks: LHP Robbie Ray (2-2), whose 1.78 ERA ranks fourth among major league starters, is set to start Friday's series opener at San Diego on Friday.
Rockies: Head out on a 10-game road trip, longest of the season. It begins with a weeklong stay in the San Francisco Bay area for a series against the Giants followed by an interleague matchup with the Oakland Athletics. RHP Chad Bettis (3-2) will start Friday's series opener against the Giants.