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Paul Goldshmidt’s 3-run home run helps D-backs avoid Mariners sweep

Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (44) in the first inning during a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Sunday, Aug. 26, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

PHOENIX – The Arizona Diamondbacks ended Player’s Weekend with a bang as Paul “Goldy” Goldschmidt and the offense led the way to a 5-2 victory in their series finale against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.

Nickname aficionado Zack “Greinke” Greinke was solid yet again despite coming into this game winless in his last four starts. He got off to a slow start after a Ketel Marte error allowed leadoff hitter/D-backs killer Mitch Haniger to reach base. An RBI single by Kyle Seager later scored Haniger and gave Seattle the lead.

The D-backs offense also got off to a slow start, going hitless against Mariners starting pitcher Mike Leake for 2.1 innings. But the lineup quickly adapted to Leake when a trio of singles by Jeff Mathis, Greinke, and Jon Jay loaded the bases in the third inning.

An A.J. Pollock sac fly brought in their first run of the inning, followed by a David Peralta RBI single and a Goldschmidt three-RBI home run – his 30th of the season – to left field that cleared the bases and gave the D-backs a 5-1 lead.

Meanwhile, Greinke only allowed the one unearned run and five hits in 6.2 innings of work. He struck out six and surrendered two walks. It wasn’t flashy, but it was effective as he improves to 13-8 this season with the winning decision.

“That was great. It got close again, and we pulled it out,” said Greinke after the game. “Their team is the best at winning close games. That was an intense ending and a good game all around.”

“The first inning and the last inning wasn’t the sharpest, but I pitched good besides that,” commented Greinke on his performance.

The D-backs’ bullpen held the lead through eight innings, but things got interesting in the ninth inning when relief pitcher Yoshi Hirano had issues locating and the Mariners were able to load the bases. Manager Torey Lovullo went to closer Brad Boxberger for the save, and a bit of redemption. “Box emoji, Burger emoji” was able to close the door for his 29th save of the season.

Arizona avoids being swept by the Mariners. They improve to 9-8 in Interleague Play this season, with a 6-4 record at Chase Field. The team is 14-6 against the AL at home since 2017.

THE GOOD
– Peralta has been outstanding in the month of August. He is batting .395 with four doubles, nine home runs, and 18 RBI in 20 games this month.
– Escobar’s 44 doubles this season ranks him first in MLB.
– Greinke passed Dennis Eckersley for 44th on the all-time strikeouts list with his punch-out of Robinson Cano in the first inning.

THE BAD
– Marte struggled with some plays at shortstop on Sunday that emphasizes how good Nick Ahmed has been at that position this season. He led the game off with an error to first base that later scored. He also made a few other routine plays look more difficult than they should have been. Ahmed leads all MLB shortstops with 19 defensive runs saved.
– The bullpen has been extremely unreliable as of late. The ninth inning fell apart and made an otherwise sure win into a nail biter.
– Former D-back Mitch Haniger went 6-15 in this series with two home runs, a double, and three walks.

STAT OF THE GAME
– 30 x 4 — Goldschmidt’s 30th home run of the season gives him his fourth season of 30+ home runs, the most by a player in franchise history. Mark Reynolds, Luis Gonzalez, and Steve Finley, all with two each, are the only other D-backs with multiple 30+ HR seasons.

HE SAID IT
“This is an amazing game, and you can’t take anything for granted. We’re a very complete defensive team. You fumble a couple of balls out there and it leads to a couple runs. But when we had to, we made pitches, made plays and won a very tough game. When I tell you today was hard, it probably was an understatement after what we went through last night.” – Torey Lovullo

NOTED
– The D-backs are seven strikeouts away from 25,000 total strikeouts in club history. They will be the fastest franchise in MLB history to achieve that milestone.
– With this win, Greinke is 6-1 in 12 career starts against the Mariners.
– Senator John McCain, who passed away on Saturday, was honored before the game by the team as a member of the D-backs’ family.
– First pitch was at 1:11 with an outdoor temp of 99 degrees and an indoor temp at Chase Field of 77 degrees. 37,175 were in attendance.

UP NEXT
The D-backs will look to lefty Patrick Corbin on Monday to keep this winning momentum going on the road in San Francisco against the Giants. Chris Stratton (8-7, 5.37 ERA) will get the start on the opposite side of the mound. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15 PM with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station.

Corbin is 4-0 in his last six starts with a 2.97 ERA. He needs two strikeouts to become the sixth pitcher in franchise history to reach 200 total in his career. He has a 4.27 ERA in nine starts at AT&T Park, and the D-backs are 7-9 against their NL West rival this season.

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