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Steven Souza Jr. produces, helps lead Diamondbacks past Padres

Arizona Diamondbacks' Steven Souza Jr., right, pauses after being called out on strikes by home plate umpire Laz Diaz (63) during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Friday, July 6, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Entering play Friday, Steven Souza Jr. had recorded more stints on the disabled list (two) than RBI (one) in his first three-plus months with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

In other words, his tenure, at least thus far, had been a disappointment.

It also meant he was due.

In Game No. 16 wearing a D-backs uniform, Souza Jr. drove in two runs to help lead the D-backs past the San Diego Padres, 3-1, in front of an announced crowd of 25,128 at Chase Field.

The win evened the four-game series at one game apiece.

Souza Jr. plated the go-ahead run (on a groundout) in the sixth inning and then added an RBI single in the eighth; the latter providing closer Brad Boxberger with a two-run cushion in the ninth.

Boxberger made quick work of the Padres, retiring the side in order for his 21st save.

Souza Jr. and Boxberger each paved the way for Zack Godley to earn the win, his 10th of the season, becoming the first D-backs pitcher to reach double figures.

Godley (10-6) pitched six innings, five of them scoreless. The only blemish came in the third inning, when the Padres scored their lone run on a fielder’s choice.

Overall, Godley limited the Padres to four hits. He walked one and struck out seven as part of an 81-pitch effort.

Up until the sixth inning, the D-backs had been stymied by Padres starter Joey Lucchesi (4-4), who went into that inning having retired 14 in a row. The D-backs scored twice in the frame to rally from a 1-0 deficit.

Nick Ahmed and Paul Goldschmidt combined for four of the D-backs’ six hits in the game.

With the win, coupled with the Los Angeles Dodgers losing, the D-backs moved into first place, by themselves, in the National League West.

THE GOOD

Before Ahmed’s one-out single in the sixth inning, the last, and only, D-backs hit was a Goldschmidt double in the first. The base hit by Ahmed opened the door, ever so slightly, for the D-backs, who plated two runs in the inning. A.J. Pollock forced in a run after getting hit by a pitch—the ball appeared to graze his left elbow/uniform sleeve—to tie the game and then Souza Jr. followed with a go-ahead RBI groundout, making the score 2-1 good guys.

It’s already been mentioned but it’s worth repeating: Godley walked only one batter. It was Travis Jankowski with two outs in the fifth inning. Why is this important? Well, Godley had walked at least three batters in each of his last four starts with five free passes issued—one shy of a season-high, by the way—in his most recent outing, July 1 against San Francisco. On the flip side, each one of Godley seven strikeouts was recorded with the knuckle curve.

THE BAD

The night before the D-backs went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position. They failed in their first two such opportunities on Friday. With one out and runners on second and third, following Goldschmidt’s one-out double, neither Pollock nor Souza Jr. were able to deliver a clutch base hit. Pollock grounded out to third base, while Souza Jr. took a called strike three after he had been ahead in the count 3-0.

It began with back-to-back one-out singles, including the first-career big-league hit by Lucchesi. (He had been 0-for-14.) And it ended with Lucchesi touching home plate with the game’s first run in the third inning. Lucchesi scored on Asuaje’s fielder’s choice, a ground ball to Ahmed who went to second base to force out Jankowski. The ball was hit into the hole, so there was no chance at an inning-ending double-play.

STAT OF THE GAME

1: Souza’s one hit was his first since May 18 at the New York Mets, and just his eighth as a D-back

HE SAID IT

“Obviously a much-needed win,” Torey Lovullo said. “We strung together enough base hits to go ahead. I thought the timing of some of our hits and the quality of our at-bats were perfect.”

NOTED

Godley threw a first-pitch strike to 12-of-23 batters faced; in addition, he reached a 3-ball count two times

Goldschmidt finished 2-for-4 and is now batting .388 (45-for-116) with 19 walks over his last 29 games

Ahmed finished 2-for-4, recording his second straight multi-hit game and the 16th overall on the season

Archie Bradley has recorded scoreless outings in 18 of his last 19 appearances (0.53 ERA; 1 ER in 17.0 IP)

With a first-pitch temperature of 101 degrees, the game was played with both the roof and the panels closed

D-backs pregame recognized T.J. McFarland for him recently earning his degree from University of Phoenix

D-backs pregame recognized uniformed police officers from around the Valley as part of Heroes Weekend

UP NEXT

Having had his 16-game unbeaten streak snapped in his last start, Robbie Ray takes the mound in game two of the three-game series on Saturday, July 7. He’ll be opposed by right-hander Tyson Ross.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station.

Ray (3-1) suffered a 6-3 loss, allowing all six runs in five innings, at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals on July 2. The six runs matched a season-high in what was just his second start back following a two-month stint on the disabled list.

Like Ray, Ross (5-6) is coming off a loss. He was tagged for seven runs in five innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates five days ago in San Diego.

Ross is winless over his last five starts.

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