PHOENIX — Behind at the start of the season, Bronson Arroyo is now not only front and center, but leading the charge. He won his second straight game and team-high sixth of the season, beating the Houston Astros 4-1 to earn a split of the two-game series in front of an announced crowd of 17,667 at Chase Field on Tuesday afternoon.
Arroyo (6-4) struggled early, but responded to pitch five scoreless innings before allowing a one-out RBI single to Matt Dominguez in the sixth.
Arroyo scattered six hits over seven innings. He walked two and struck out five, his most in four starts.
“I feel pretty good out there,” said Arroyo, who battled a back issue in spring training. “I mean physically I don’t feel so good, but my ball is moving and I’m keeping hitters off balance.”
The 37-year-old veteran right-hander hit a high of 84 mph and a low of 67 mph on the radar gun.
“He hits his spots,” Paul Goldschmidt said. “It’s just tough as a hitter. You never know what to expect. There’s very few patterns.”
Arroyo, 10-1 with a sub-two ERA in his last 13 starts against the Astros, earned his fifth win since May.
Goldschmidt handed the Diamondbacks an early 1-0 lead with his second home run of the homestand and 13th of the season, tied for the most among NL first basemen.
Later with the game tied, Aaron Hill drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh. He added an RBI double in the eighth.
The Diamondbacks have won six of eight and eight of 13 overall.
“We’ve just got a better flow as a team right now,” Arroyo said. “Guys are kind of hitting. We get down by three or four and it doesn’t feel like the game is over, which is really huge for a ballclub, especially the way we started off this year not to just let it drag us down. I feel like we’ve got a lineup that can really compete with anybody right now.”
Bronson Arroyo worked himself in and out of trouble in each of the first two innings, stranding a pair of two-out hits in the first and leaving the bases loaded in the second. He needed 42 pitches to complete the two frames, yet kept the game scoreless as the Astros went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.
Splash! For the first time in his career, Paul Goldschmidt hit a home run, the 77th of his career by the way, into the Diamondbacks’ pool beyond the fence in right-center field in the first inning. It marked the 45th all-time splashdown, last accomplished by Adam Eaton on Aug. 12, 2013 against the Orioles.
Great at-bat by Martin Prado to lead off the seventh inning. He hit the 11th pitch he saw into right field for a triple, his fourth of the season. Two pitches later he scored the go-ahead run to cap a 1-for-4 afternoon. Prado is five hits shy of 1,000 for his career.
Strike ’em out, throw ’em out. The Diamondbacks recorded two of ’em, once in the third and once in the seventh, which ended the inning. Throwing out two would-be base stealers improved Miguel Montero’s season numbers to 6-for-38 catching thieves on the base paths.
With the shift on, Chris Owings, standing to the right of second base, was unable to handle a first-inning Jason Castro ground ball and was charged with an error, his 10th of the season, tying him with Martin Prado for team-high and tied for the second-most among all big league shortstops.
After a leadoff walk to open the fourth inning, Miguel Montero was caught stealing for second time this season. And it wasn’t close. There had to have been a missed hit-and-run sign and Prado seemed to acknowledge as much.
Unfortunately not many people saw the Diamondbacks’ 29th victory of the season. For one, the game was not televised locally. And secondly, the game was played before the third-smallest crowd of the year.
STAT OF THE GAME
6: The number of Bronson Arroyo wins this season and Diamondbacks wins in their last eight games
HE SAID IT
“Was it? I mean you guys pay attention to so much stuff we have no idea about. Just glad it was a homer,” Paul Goldschmidt responded when told his first-inning home run was the first splashdown of his career.
Bronson Arroyo extended his streak of issuing two-or-less walks to 100 straight outings, the most among all starters since 2011 and ahead of both Dan Haren (96) and Cliff Lee (94).
Paul Goldschmidt became the fourth player in the majors this season to homer, double and steal a base in the same game, joining Mike Trout, Eric Young, Jr. and Jonathan Villar.
Upon further review, which lasted 2:26, the Diamondbacks completed a 3-6-1 inning-ending double play in the sixth as Kirk Gibson won his fifth challenge (in 12 attempts) of the season.
With Cody Ross’ pinch-hit double in the seventh, the Diamondbacks extended their streak of consecutive games with a two-base hit to 23, the second-longest such stretch in club history.
Before the game, Matt Reynolds threw his first bullpen, 20 pitches according to manager Kirk Gibson, as the left-handed reliever continues to rehab from Tommy John surgery performed last September.
It’s on to Texas.
The Diamondbacks left immediately after the game for the Lone Star State and a brief two-game series against the very same team they hosted the past two days, the Houston Astros.
Brandon McCarthy will start the opener on Wednesday, June 11. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
McCarthy (1-8, 5.13), despite the record, has fared well on the road recently, allowing one earned run or less in three of his last four outings away from Chase Field. Even better, he’s 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA (1 ER in 15.0 IP) all-time at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros, meanwhile, send 26-year-old left-hander Dallas Keuchel (7-3, 2.50) to the mound. He’s been the team’s best starter, already setting a career-high in wins. Keuchel has faced the Diamondbacks twice in his career, losing both meetings in 2012.