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Grit Index: McCarthy solid again in Diamondbacks’ win

It’s September, but the oft-maligned Brandon McCarthy has managed to drop his earned run average by nearly a run over his last three starts.

When he took the mound on August 26, the Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander had a 5.44 ERA. That night, he tossed 7.0 innings, allowing no earned runs. Then, when he made his last start, on Labor Day, September 2, he had a 5.03 ERA. McCarthy pitched a complete game loss, allowing four runs in the game, dropping his ERA to 4.94.

On Saturday, 366 days after suffering a life-threatening head injury, McCarthy continued his current stretch, pitching 8.0 innings for the Diamondbacks while allowing just one earned run on six hits and a walk to the San Francisco Giants. The pitcher added six strikeouts and to get through 8.0 innings with just 99 pitches in the 2-1 win.

The Giants struck first, when Marco Scutaro plated Brandon Crawford with a line drive single to centerfield in the third inning.

But then, as is the mantra on signage and in hashtags, Goldschmidt happened.

Paul Goldschmidt, indeed, was involved in scoring plays in the following two innings, scoring on a Gerardo Parra single to right field in the fourth, then tripling to score Adam Eaton in the fifth. Goldschmidt was 3-for-4 on the night, getting his NL-leading 107th RBI.

That would be enough for McCarthy, who tossed 10, 11 and 9 pitches, respectively, in his last three innings of work. In each of his last three starts, spanning 24.0 innings, he has tossed less than 100 pitches.

Brad Ziegler came in for a 1-2-3 save for the Diamondbacks in the ninth, getting Hunter Pence, Pablo Sandoval and Hector Sanchez in order.

The Good:

For all of the criticisms that have been hurled at Brandon McCarthy, few have stopped to wonder whether or not the pitcher’s struggles may have stemmed from the traumatic head injury, and resultant brain surgery, suffered last September. If that is the case, and McCarthy has just recently begun to fully recover, Diamondbacks fans have a lot to look forward to, given the right-hander’s recent dominance.

In his last three starts, McCarthy has a 1.85 ERA.

The Bad:

The Cincinnati Reds won again Saturday, keeping the Diamondbacks tied with the Washington Nationals eight games back in the race for the second NL wild card spot.

Up Next:

In a matchup of two young lefties, the Diamondbacks send Wade Miley (9-10, 3.78 ERA) to the mound to face the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner (11-9, 2.91 ERA). First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. MDT and can be heard on Arizona Sports 620 AM.