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The bats stay hot; D-backs win fifth straight, clinch series over Pittsburgh

Arizona Diamondbacks' Braden Shipley (34) and John Ryan Murphy celebrate after defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 13-8 during a baseball game, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

PHOENIX, Ariz. — No comeback needed this time.

After scoring nine unanswered runs in the final two innings to rally for the win in the opener, the Arizona Diamondbacks plated six runs in the first inning of game two. Add it up and that’s 15 runs in three innings.

The D-backs scored seven more times to hold off the Pittsburgh Pirates and capture another series victory, 13-8, in front of an announced crowd of 22,488 at Chase Field on Tuesday night.

That’s four series wins in their last five series played.

The D-backs are on some roll right now. They’ve scored at least eight runs — (51) total, twice reaching double figures with 13 marking a season-high — in each of their last five games. And of course they’ve won all five, establishing a new season-best winning streak.

Win number five started fast.

Ketel Marte had a two-run triple and the Pirates committed three throwing errors resulting in five unearned runs out of the six the D-backs scored in the first.

Marte added a sacrifice fly later, giving him three RBI for the second time in his last three games.

Jon Jay also recorded three RBI, with one swing of the bat. He hit a three-run home run in the seventh inning to finish 3-for-5 with three runs scored.

Of the D-backs’ 13 runs, eight were charged, though only three were earned, to Trevor Williams (5-4), the former Arizona State Sun Devil.

D-backs starter Clay Buchholz didn’t fair much better. He lasted a season-low four innings, allowing six runs, two earned, on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

In each of his previous four starts, Buchholz had surrendered no more than two runs.

Fernando Salas (4-4) earned the win in relief of a game that took nearly four hours (3:56) to complete.

THE GOOD

Batting in the cleanup spot for the eighth straight start, John Ryan Murphy made good on the run-producing position in the lineup with a first-inning RBI single. He grounded a 3-2 fastball –clocked at 93.7 mph — through the hole and on into left field to score Paul Goldschmidt with the D-backs’ second run. Murphy now has 11 RBI (18 overall) in his last 15 games.

Ho-hum, another extra-base hit for Marte. His first-inning two-out, two-run triple highlighted the D-backs’ six-run first inning. Marte drove a 1-1 changeup into the right-center field gap to plate Jake Lamb and Murphy, making it a 4-0 ballgame. And with that triple, 12 of Marte’s last 14 hits have gone for extra bases (three triples, three home runs and six doubles).

Like Marte, David Peralta ripped a ball into the right-center field gap for a triple, his second of the season. The play scored Daniel Descalso, who had walked ahead of Peralta, to make it 7-0 D-backs two batters into the third inning. Peralta finished 1-for-4 and is now hitting .348 (16-for-46) with three walks and 11 RBI over his last 11 games.

Of course it’s Descalso delivering a big hit in a big situation. With the bases loaded and one out in the fourth inning, Descalso hit a ball the opposite way for a two-run single, putting the D-backs in front 10-6. Only a half inning earlier, the Pirates had closed to within two runs. Descalso finished 1-for-3 and is now hitting .344 (11-for-32) with eight walks and 14 RBI over his last 12 games.

With two hits already under his belt, the first two of his D-backs career, Jay added a three-run home run in the seventh inning, making it a 13-8 ballgame. He just crushed a 1-1 curveball from Dovydas Neverauskas over the left-center field fence to score Marte and Dyson ahead of him. Jay was waiting for a performance like this. He entered 0-for-12 in four games since the trade.

THE BAD

More like “The Ugly”. The Pirates looked like a Little League team throwing the baseball around the diamond as D-backs base runners touched home plate one after another in the first inning. All total, there were three errors committed. First baseman Josh Bell’s poor throw to second plated John Jay. Then back-to-back throwing miscues — Williams’ pickoff attempt followed by second baseman Josh Harrison’s throw to third — allowed Marte and Jarrod Dyson to score, respectively.

In each of the first three innings, Buchholz got in and out of trouble unharmed. That wasn’t the case in the fourth inning. The first five batters reached base safely, with Jordy Mercer (hit-by-pitch) and pinch-hitter Sean Rodriguez (walk) recording RBI without ever putting the ball in play. Then after a sacrifice fly by Josh Harrison, Starling Marte launched a 3-1 fastball –clocked at 89.2 mph — over the right field fence for a three-run home run. When the dust finally settled, the Pirates had scored six times.

For eight straight appearances, covering 7.2 innings, Silvino Bracho had not allowed a run or a hit. The streak(s) ended in the fifth inning. And it ended quickly. After a leadoff walk to Elias Diaz, Bell doubled to left field (first hit since April 15) and Gregory Polanco drove in Diaz (first run) with a groundout to first base. Bracho entered the game with a 0.84 ERA in nine appearances over three different stints on the big-league roster. His ERA now reads 1.54.

STAT OF THE GAME

6: The D-backs’ six-run first inning matched a single-inning high this season (also in the eighth inning on June 9 at Colorado); it also marked the eighth time in team history that they scored six or more runs in the first inning of a game at Chase Field (most recently was May 28, 2014 against the Padres)

HE SAID IT

“It’s a good feeling,” Torey said, referring to the recent offensive production. “I felt very strongly that we would somehow someway turn this thing around offensively and it would match the pitching and we’re right in the middle of that. It’s a fun ride. The guys deserve these moments because they were grinding for May. It was a tough May.”

NOTED

Buchholz threw a first-pitch strike to 11-of-22 batters faced; plus, he reached a 3-ball count six times

Buchholz (27) and Williams (37) combined to throw 64 pitches in a first inning that lasted 41 minutes

Goldschmidt went 2-for-3 with two walks to extend his season-long hitting streak to eight straight games

Nick Ahmed struck out in his only plate appearance thus ending a season-long eight-game hitting streak

Yoshihisa Hirano extended his scoreless streak to 14.2 innings, the third-longest active streak in the NL

With a first-pitch temperature of 107 degrees, the game was played with the roof and panels closed

UP NEXT

On a two-start winning streak, Zack Greinke gets the ball in the series finale on Wednesday, June 13. He’ll be opposed by fellow right-hander Jameson Taillon. First pitch is scheduled for 12:40 with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on ESPN Phoenix 620.

Greinke (5-4) has wins over the Marlins and Rockies the last two times he’s stepped on the mound, with the Miami victory improving him to 3-0 at home this season and 16-1 in 25 starts at Chase Field since 2017.

His numbers against the Pirates are just as impressive. For his career, Greinke is 6-1 with a 3.71 ERA (21 ER in 51.0 IP) in eight starts.

Meanwhile, Taillon (3-5) has never faced the D-backs.

Though Taillon won his most recent road start — an eight-inning three-hit shutout at St. Louis — it’s his only victory away from Pittsburgh this season. He’s 1-3 with an ERA over four in six starts on the road.

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