Zack Greinke lifted with complete game on the line, goes to eephus vs. White Sox

May 22, 2017, 9:52 PM | Updated: 10:40 pm
Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke (21) leaves the game to a standing ovation during the nin...

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke (21) leaves the game to a standing ovation during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox Monday, May 22, 2017, in Phoenix. The Diamondbacks defeated the White Sox 5-1. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo knew there was no point in allowing Zack Greinke a chance to end his night on a sour note.

He pulled the Arizona ace after 104 pitches and just an out away from securing a 5-1 win over the Chicago White Sox on Monday. Some fans at Chase Field didn’t appreciate it.

“Sometimes you got to sit in the seat and make not popular decisions,” Lovullo said afterward. “We both had a clear understanding of what was going to happen. I wanted to carry through that part of the deal.

“I felt like he deserved to go back out there and he deserved to throw a complete game,” the skipper added. “I didn’t want to put him in a position that would make us go backwards as a team.”

Lovullo said he told Greinke he was on a “short leash” heading into the ninth inning. And when he allowed a two-out double, leading to the end of his night, the D-backs’ manager wanted to play it safe by lifting Greinke rather than be forced to pull him with potentially more baserunners threatening.

Through 8.2 innings, Greinke threw 73 strikes and struck out a season-high 12. He allowed four hits and just one earned run — a solo home run by Leury Garcia.

By the end of it, Greinke’s confidence showed in his pitch selection.

For the first out in the ninth inning, he shook off a couple of calls by catcher Jeff Mathis to throw a 65-mph eephus pitch, striking out Yolmer Sanchez.

“I tried to do that on the home run pitch too, it just came out too hard,” Greinke said of the 71-mph curveball thrown to Garcia in the fifth.

The more successful eephus marked the second-slowest strike-three pitch of the 2017 season.

Here’s another slow motion look at the curious call.

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Zack Greinke lifted with complete game on the line, goes to eephus vs. White Sox