When the Diamondbacks exiled Trevor Cahill to the minors earlier this season, the instructions were clear.
Improve, and that’s the bottom line. Just come back with better execution and keep us in games, the organization said collectively.
During his absence, manager Kirk Gibson said decision-makers asked that Cahill make adjustments with his hand positioning and release point.
Upon his return, Cahill did that and more. In the process, he turned heads with improved performance and the Diamondbacks finally began to realize value with their high-priced right-hander.
Cahill’s elongated trek back to respectability continued Saturday when he displayed additional weapons in his arsenal. That included more reliance on curves and change-ups and the results were duly effective.
That translated into another encouraging performance as Cahill set down Colorado and the Diamondbacks eventually cruised to a 14-4 victory over the Rockies before 24,993 in Chase Field.
The 14 runs are the most by the Diamondbacks in a game this season since they hammered the Dodgers 18-7 on May 17. With their nine-spot in the eighth, the Diamondbacks unloaded eight hits in the frame and the eight hits in the inning was accomplished for third time this season.
Cahill left with Arizona leading 4-3 after seven innings of work and the Diamondbacks broke this one open with one in the seventh and nine in the eighth. The win was Cahill’s first as a starter since last Sept. 21 at Colorado and the native of Oceanside, Calif. retired 15 of the final 17 batters he faced.
“I feel good and getting results,” Cahill said. “Early in the game, I was frustrated and I couldn’t get the ball where I wanted. But, I settled down and things improved.”
Right now, Cahill’s out-pitch is the change and he’s throwing the pitch with confidence. As well, in each of his last two starts, Cahill has worked with a slim, one-run lead and that sharpened his concentration and created less room for error.
“It’s a kind of hit-or-miss situation,” he added. “You can try and find a fine line and also make the perfect pitch. That can be dangerous so you have to stay aggressive and pick your spots.”
If Cahill demonstrated life after the minors, left-fielder Mark Trumbo demonstrated life after the disabled list.
After missing nearly half of the season with a fractured right foot, Trumbo finally displayed the power and clutch hitting the Diamondbacks expected when they acquired him a trade with the Angels last December.
Trumbo lifted a 3-2 delivery from Rockies’ starter Jorge De La Rosa half-way up in the left field bleachers with two on in the third and the three-run homer pushed the Diamondbacks into a 4-3 advantage.
The bomb was Trumbo’s first since April 21 at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, and that included his last 89 plate appearances.
“It was a change-up and I made a good adjustment on the pitch,” said Trumbo, who finished with a 2-for-5 night and four RBIs. “Yeah, it’s been a while but that’s part of my game. I don’t really look at success from that point of view but rather at competitive at-bats.”
While the home run was long coming, it was not unexpected.
“You expected he would get hold on one,” Gibson said afterward. “(Trumbo) really grinds it out and has played very well since he’s back. He’s a kind of guy who takes a bad swing but he’s really playing good baseball for us right now.”
Rightfielder David Peralta put an exclamation mark on this one when he slammed his first career grand slam in the eighth to cap the nine-run inning.
“(David) keeps his bat in the zone, and that enables him to put together a good swing,” Gibson added. “He’s aggressive and making an important contribution.”
THE CURTAIN CALL
The home stand ends Sunday with a pair of lefties on the mound.
The Diamondbacks go for the sweep with Wade Miley (7-8, 4.61 ERA) opposing Franklin Morales (5-6, 5.08). The only previous sweep at home this season occurred against the Cubs from July 18-20.
Then, it’s off the Cleveland, Miami and Washington for a 10-game road trip. On Wednesday night, the Diamondbacks are scheduled to face righty Trevor Bauer, whom Arizona selected at number three overall in the 2011 draft and eventually traded to the Indians.