D-backs waste ‘outstanding effort’ from Zack Greinke, drop series opener
PHOENIX — Zack Greinke deserved better.
He started Thursday’s series opener with the Washington Nationals but had exited the game long before the outcome was decided.
In a game that went 11 innings, the Nationals beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 2-1, in front of an announced crowd of 17,397. Matt Adams snapped a 1-1 tie with an opposite-field RBI single off Andrew Chafin. The run was charged to Fernando Salas (3-4).
Brandon Kintzler (1-2) earned the win and Sean Doolittle (seven) recorded the save.
For seven innings, Greinke kept the Nationals off the scoreboard, limiting the visitors to just three hits: two singles and a double. During one stretch, he retired 16 straight. Then after a double to leadoff the eighth, Greinke was removed from the game and replaced by Archie Bradley, who eventually balked in the tying run.
Overall, Greinke allowed one run on four hits with no walks and six strikeouts in a 91-pitch effort covering seven-plus innings.
Oh, and he also drove in the D-backs’ first, and only, run with a fifth-inning RBI single.
The D-backs have lost two in a row. They are 4-5 in May after a 20-8 April.
After Matt Wieters singled with one out in the second inning, Greinke retired the next 16 in a row, five via the strikeout. He set the Nationals down in order in each of the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. It wasn’t until Howie Kendrick doubled with two outs in the seventh inning that the Nationals had a batter reach base safely. By the way, Steven Souza Jr. nearly made a spectacular diving catch on the Kendrick hit. He was, however, unable to hang onto the ball.
Besides his pitching and hitting, Greinke did some running as well. He stole a base. That’s right, Greinke swiped second base after his run-scoring single in the fifth inning. It was his first stolen base of the season and sixth of his career; the first since June 23, 2016, at Colorado. Greinke joined Braden Shipley (Aug. 11, 2016 at Mets) and Joe Saunders (Sept. 4, 2010 at Astros) as the only D-backs pitchers in team history with at hit, RBI and stolen base in a single game.
They are modest hitting streaks but hitting streaks nonetheless. With his first-inning single, Daniel Descalso extended his hitting streak to five games, while David Peralta is now in the midst of a four-game hitting streak after a third-inning infield single. Both added base hits later in the game as well; Descalso a double in the 10th and Peralta another single in the eighth. Descalso went 2-for-5 and Peralta 2-for-4 with a walk. The two accounted for half of the D-backs eight hits.
OK, we’re nitpicking here but one of the two hits Greinke allowed through six innings belonged to Bryce Harper. Not a big deal, of course. Harper is one of the better hitters in the game. It’s just that he entered the game in a 0-for-19 slump, yet drilled a 1-2 fastball into right field for a clean single. Harper had been 1-for-4 with two walks lifetime against Grienke.
Heck of a way to have the tying run touch home plate. Attempting to pick off Michael Taylor at third base with one out in the eighth inning, Bradley hesitated upon which third base umpire Marty Foster immediately called a balk. The run was charged to Greinke, ending his scoreless streak against the Nationals at 23.0 innings, dating back to May 5, 2014.
Finishing 0-for-5 with a pair of strikeouts means Paul Goldschmidt is now 2-for-34 (.059) in the month of May. He flew out twice and also grounded out with runners on second and third for out No. 3 in the 10th inning. His strikeouts, by the way, happened in the sixth and eighth innings; the latter of which after he was ahead in the count 3-0 against Ryan Madson.
STAT OF THE GAME
4: The game marked the fourth time in nine games in which the D-backs offense was held to two or fewer runs
HE SAID IT
“It’s just an unfortunate way to end the game and it’s a grinding loss, where Zack Greinke goes out and gives us an outstanding effort,” manager Torey Lovullo said.
Greinke threw a first-pitch strike to 19 of the 25 batters that he faced; in addition, he reached a three-ball count only one time.
Bradley extended his scoreless streak to 11 consecutive outings and has not allowed a run in 17 of his last 18 appearances.
Descalso is now hitting .386 (17-for-44) with seven doubles, one triple, two home runs and 12 RBI over his last 17 games.
Ketel Marte was awarded first base after video replay review determined he, in fact, was hit by the pitch in the seventh inning.
With a first-pitch temperature of 102 degrees outdoors, the game was played indoors with both the roof and panels closed.
As part of Throwback Thursday, the D-backs wore the 2001 home alternate vest uniform, celebrating the World Series title.
Players from 2001: Luis Gonzalez, Mark Grace, Armando Reynoso and Junior Spivey, threw out ceremonial first pitches.
Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson was among those in attendance; he had several of his defensive teammates with him.
When Matt Koch takes the mound in game two of the four-game series on Friday, May 11, he’ll become the first pitcher in franchise history to face three different Cy Young Award winners in three consecutive starts.
Koch (2-0) opposes Max Scherzer (6-1).
First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.
After facing Clayton Kershaw, Koch beat Justin Verlander in his most recent outing. He threw 6.1 innings of one-run baseball with no walks and three strikeouts.
Meanwhile, Scherzer, who played for the D-backs in 2008-09, is coming off a no-decision effort against Philadelphia which snapped a five-start winning streak. He has not lost since April 4.
Scherzer is 5-0 in seven career starts facing the D-backs.