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Sedona Red Recap: Zack Greinke falls short of history in D-backs’ win over Pirates

Arizona Diamondbacks' Zack Greinke throws a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the eighth inning of a baseball game Thursday, May 11, 2017, in Phoenix. The Diamondbacks defeated the Pirates 2-1. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Six outs. Six outs from history.

Zack Greinke stood on the doorstep of doing something no Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher had done before him at Chase Field: Throw a no-hitter.

Gregory Polanco, however, led off the eighth inning with a home run and Greinke was forced to settle for the win, 2-1, over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the opener of the four-game series on Thursday.

The 17,527 on hand gave Greinke (4-2) a standing ovation as he came off the mound at the end of the eighth.

The seven hitless innings were a career-best for Greinke, who bettered Gerrit Cole (1-4) in a matchup of each team’s respective aces.

Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his ninth save.

Brandon Drury and Jake Lamb accounted for the offense with RBI as the D-backs won their second straight, sending the Pirates to their season-high fifth loss in a row.

Before the Polanco homer, the closest the Pirates got to recording a hit off Greinke was in the first inning, when Andrew McCutchen’s line drive was caught by a diving David Peralta in right field.

Greinke, who faced the minimum through seven innings, walked one and struck out a season-high tying 11.

It was his second win in as many starts and moved the D-backs to 20-16, including a league-best 14-6 at home.

THE GOOD

Entering the day with MLB’s second-best home batting average, Drury drove in the game’s first run. He singled up the middle to score Chris Owings, who was running on the pitch, from second base after a leadoff double for a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Drury has now reached base safely in 16 of 17 home games this season and 30 of his last 31 overall.

Through the first three innings, Greinke had faced the minimum, striking out five of the nine batters. There was one base runner, but he was caught stealing via an overturned call after a video replay review. Jordy Mercer walked to lead off the third and stole second. He was initially called safe, the D-backs challenged and after 39 seconds on headsets, the umpire signaled him out.

So, Cole had allowed two earned runs or less in each of his last five starts. The D-backs tagged him for two runs just three innings into the game. The second run scored on Lamb’s RBI double in which he sliced an 87-mph slider into center field to make it 2-0 D-backs in the third. Lamb had been hitless on the homestand, going 0-for-8 with two walks before the at-bat.

Swinging through an 82-mph slider for out No. 2 in the sixth inning, Gift Ngoepe struck for the second time in as many at-bats. It was also Greinke’s 10th strikeout, which set a major-league record as the D-backs became the first team in big-league history with 10 consecutive home games with 10+ strikeouts. It also marked Greinke’s 26th career 10+ strikeout game and second this season.

THE BAD

Three pitches after hitting a 400-foot fly ball that hooked foul down the right field line, Polanco blasted a 2-2 slider, clocked at 84-mph, that stayed fair for a home run, thus spoiling Greinke’s bid for a no-hitter. For Polanco, it was his first homer of the season and his first-ever hit off Greinke in six at-bats.

Among the D-backs’ eight position players, just one, A.J. Pollock, was unable to reach base safely. He went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Heck, even Jeff Mathis got on base. He singled with one out in the seventh. It was only his third hit in his last 44 plate appearances, a stretch of 14 games including 12 total starts.

STAT OF THE GAME

1: Greinke allowed one hit over seven innings plus one batter, marking the 11th game in team history in which the D-backs allowed one hit or fewer (ninth one-hitter) and the fourth time at Chase Field.

HE SAID IT

“Pretty impressive night for Zack. He flirts with a no-hitter. We’re all engaged in the dugout, we’re as excited as anybody in the stadium,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “Unfortunately, he might’ve made one mistake that was hit for a solo home run, but that was the only thing where he was nicked up. He was in total command of every inning.”

NOTED

– Greinke threw a first-pitch strike to 15-of-26 batters faced, and he reached a three-ball count five times.

– Peralta went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, and he’s now batting .369 (24-for-65) over his last 17 games.

– Paul Goldschmidt went 1-for-4, and he has now reached base safely in 23 consecutive games at home.

– Former D-back pitcher Daniel Hudson was welcomed back with a video montage prior to the start of the second inning.

– Yasmany Tomas was given the day off, the second time in four games he was not in the starting lineup.

– With a first-pitch temperature of 91 degrees, the game was played with the roof open yet panels closed.

– As part of Throwback Thursday, the D-backs were in alternate home vest uniforms worn from 1998-2006.

– The D-backs returned reliever Jake Barrett (shoulder) from his rehab assignment and optioned him to Reno.

UP NEXT

Looking to get back in the win column, left-hander Patrick Corbin takes the mound in the second of the four-game series on Friday. He’ll be opposed by Tyler Glasnow. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station.

Corbin (2-4) is coming off his worst performance of the season. The Rockies tagged him for eight runs on nine hits, including a pair of home runs, in four innings of a 9-1 loss in Colorado. The outing ended a run of five straight quality starts.

In three career appearances against the Pirates, Corbin is 0-2 with a 5.09 ERA.

Glasnow (1-2), too, is coming off a loss. He was beaten by the Brewers, who scored four runs, three earned, off of him on six hits and two walks in 6.1 innings, which marked a season-high.

The Pirates have gone 4-2 in Glasnow’s first six starts.

He has never faced the D-backs.

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