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Streak Intact: Diamondbacks’ Bronson Arroyo to start opening series finale

PHOENIX — Every fifth day, when it’s been his turn to start he’s answered the call.

Every time. No exceptions. No excuses.

It’s been that way for 14 seasons.

No reason to deviate from the norm now.

Bronson Arroyo pitched 4 2/3 innings against the Chicago Cubs at Chase Field on Saturday, the final tune-up before the resumption of the 2014 regular season.

Afterwards he pronounced himself good-to-go, and manager Kirk Gibson announced the veteran right-hander will pitch the series finale against the San Francisco Giants on Thursday, keeping intact his streak of never missing a start.

“He threw good,” Gibson said.

Arroyo had not pitched in a Cactus League game since Feb. 27 due to a stiff lower back.

Pulled after throwing 77 pitches, 52 for strikes, he allowed two runs on six hits, all singles, with one walk and two strikeouts.

The Cubs beat the Diamondbacks, 9-8 in front of an announced crowd of 16,528.

Arroyo retired seven straight between giving up a run in the second and a run in the fifth.

“Overall I thought a real good day for him,” Gibson said. “His location was pretty good. His fastball, he moved it around. You could just kind of see who he is. I looked up there (on the scoreboard) he like eight balls and 30 strikes, which we like. He moves around. He knows what he’s doing.”

Looking to add a veteran arm to the rotation, the Diamondbacks signed Arroyo, 37, to a two-year, $23.5 million dollar contract on Feb. 12.

He has made at least 30 starts for nine straight seasons, throwing 200.0 innings or more eight times.

“He threw the ball better as he went on today. His innings were way more efficient,” Gibson said. “He wasn’t able to execute as well as he would like to, but I think with every game you’ll see he’s going to get better.”

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