The goal is a modest one considering the preseason expectations.
But if the Arizona Diamondbacks are to reach the .500 mark before year’s end, then it’s going to take efforts like Sunday that result in series victories.
Robbie Ray pitched seven shutout innings, Jake Lamb and Brandon Drury each drove in a pair, while Michael Bourn had three hits and an RBI.
It all added up to a 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, the D-backs’ second straight to capture the three-game series in front of an announced crowd of 29,459 at Chase Field.
The Dodgers managed only four hits off Ray, who ended a four-start winless streak with his first victory since June 17. Ray (5-8) walked two, hit two and struck out seven.
Lamb and Drury combined for three RBI in the D-backs’ three-run first off starter Kenta Maeda (8-7).
Lamb also homered in the third with Bourn plating a run in the fifth.
The five runs Maeda allowed were a season-high.
Ray, meanwhile, exited with a 6-0 lead.
However, the bullpen was unable to preserve the shutout as the Dodgers scored twice in the eighth and three times in the ninth before Jake Barrett closed it out with his second save of the season.
The D-backs have won back-to-back games for the first time in more than three weeks.
Saturday night’s heroes teamed up to spot the D-backs an early 3-0 advantage in the first inning. With one out and two on, Lamb singled in Bourn while Drury plated both Paul Goldschmidt and Lamb with a double, his 16th double of the season and the fourth of four consecutive hits off Maeda, who entering the game had allowed just three earned runs combined in the first inning over his previous 18 starts.
With his third-inning, two-out, solo homer, Lamb hit for the cycle over four consecutive at-bats dating back to his final plate appearances Saturday — in order, he hit a double, triple, single and then a home run. Lamb launched Maeda’s 1-0 offering, a 72-mph curveball, onto the concourse just to the right of the batter’s eye in straightaway center field to put the D-backs ahead 4-0. It was Lamb’s 21st home run of the season and ninth in his last 25 games.
Not only was Ray good with the ball in his hand but also the bat. Leading off the fifth inning, Ray lined a double all the way to the wall in right-center field. Two batters later, he scored on Bourn’s double to put the D-backs ahead 5-0. It was Ray’s eighth hit—third-most among the starting pitchers behind Patrick Corbin (14) and Zack Greinke (10)—and first double of the season, which pushed his average to .250.
Give Ray credit. After a 1-2-3 first inning in which he threw all strikes, he did not have another clean frame until the seventh, when he retired the Dodgers on 10 pitches. In the five innings in between, Ray kept getting himself in and then out of trouble. He escaped a no-out, bases loaded situation in the second, two-on and two outs in the third, and later a runner on second with one out in the fifth.
A likely no play on a foul popup just to the left of home plate became an out to open the D-backs second inning when umpire Bob Davidson called Nick Ahmed out for batter’s interference. Ahmed made no attempt to leave the batter’s box, thus blocking A.J. Ellis’ efforts to catch the ball. Ellis collided face-first with Ahmed and the back of his helmet. Ahmed and manager Chip Hale both argued the call but to no avail.
Set to become a free agent at the end of the season, Daniel Hudson may be traded ahead of the August 1 non-waiver deadline. His recent performances, however, could be hurting his value. Asked to pitch the eight inning, Hudson allowed a two-run home run to Justin Turner, the sixth time over his last nine appearances that he’s been scored upon. His ERA during this stretch is 22.50 (15 ER in 6.0 IP) with 20 hits.
Without Brad Ziegler, it’s going to be up to Tyler Clippard, as well as Hudson, to close games out. On this day, however, neither had their ‘A’ game. A night after pitching two innings, Clippard recorded only on out, allowing three of the four batters he faced in the ninth inning to reach base safely. Those three batters—pinch-hitter Chase Utley (walk), Howie Kendrick (single) and Corey Seager (single)—all scored.
STAT OF THE GAME
4: The number of home series victories by the D-backs this season. The last time the D-backs won a series finale to record a home series win? June 12 vs. Miami, a 6-0 victory.
HE SAID IT
“Me and Tuffy (Gosewisch) were just on the same page the whole day,” Ray said, referring to his battery mate. “He called a great game back there, and we rolled up some really big double plays up the middle. That was huge.”
– Ray has struck out five or more batters in 18 consecutive starts, the longest active streak.
– Making his major league debut, right fielder Mike Freeman, 28, went 0-for-3 with a walk.
– Wearing their red alternate uniforms with black gradient “A” cap, the D-backs are 5-12.
– With a first-pitch temperature of 104 degrees, the game was played with the roof closed.
– Phoenix Mercury and Team USA guard Diana Taurasi threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
– Local mascots, including Big Red and Howler, joined Baxter to help celebrate his birthday.
It doesn’t happen often, but the D-backs plan to enjoy an off day at home Monday before continuing the homestand with a brief two-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays, their first trip to Phoenix since 2013.
Right-handers Zack Godley and Aaron Sanchez meet in the opener on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Recalled from Triple-A Reno, Godley (2-0) will be making his third start of the season.
In his last big-league outing on July 5, Godley earned the win over the Padres, pitching five innings with four runs allowed on eight hits. He walked three and struck out two.
Among Godley’s six previous appearances on the year is a relief stint at Toronto back in June in which he allowed a solo home run in 1.2 innings.
Meanwhile, Sanchez (9-1) is unbeaten over his past 14 starts, going 8-0 with six no decisions, including the last time he stepped on the mound against Detroit prior to the All-Star break.
In that game, Sanchez, an American League All-Star, allowed two runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts in five innings, ending a stretch of four straight starts working at least six innings.
Sanchez has never faced the D-backs.