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Sedona Red Recap: Greinke plays stopper as D-backs end skid

Arizona Diamondbacks' Zack Greinke throws a pitch to the Colorado Rockies during the second inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 1, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — If the second half of the 2017 season is anything like the first, the Arizona Diamondbacks and their fans are in for a fun summer.

True, the D-backs carried a three-game losing streak into Saturday night’s NL West showdown with the Colorado Rockies. But they also entered the game with a 50-31 mark exactly halfway through the 162-game campaign – tied for the best first half in franchise history.

To put that in perspective, they were sitting fourth in the NL West with a 36-45 record a year ago at this time – 13.5 games behind the division leaders.

This time around, they’re just 3.5 back of the surging Dodgers. And that three-game losing streak is a thing of the past now, thanks to another strong effort from Zack Greinke.

The 33-year old hurler pushed his record to 10-4 on the season, scattering two runs on just three hits over 7.0 innings while striking out eight and walking none. That was all Arizona needed to take down Colorado by a final of 6-2, in front of 46,338 fans at Chase Field – the club’s second sellout of the season.

The Diamondbacks didn’t hit a single home run in the game, but seven of their eight total hits were of the extra base variety. Six different Arizona hitters crossed home plate, and David Peralta led the way with a pair of RBI.

With the victory, the D-backs reopened a 3.5-game lead over the Rockies for second place in the division. And their 51-31 mark is the third best in all of baseball.

THE GOOD

-Greinke is now 4-1 since the beginning of June. And tonight was the perfect example of why teams need a true No. 1 starter. The three-game losing skid wasn’t reason for panic or anything, but it sure helps to have a guy like Greinke who can just step in and put an end to a slump like that before it gets out of hand.

-Once again, Arizona thrived on timely hitting. After a Trevor Story error put Rey Fuentes on base to lead off the bottom of the seventh, Jeff Mathis quickly tripled him home.

-In all, the D-backs scored three times in the seventh, a fast response to the two runs the Rockies had scored in the top half of the inning.

-The bullpen worked out of a jam to seal the win in the top of the ninth. After the first two Colorado hitters reached base, Andrew Chafin struck out Mark Reynolds. He then gave way to Fernando Rodney, who fanned Story and got Ian Desmond to ground out.

THE BAD

-Nine of Story’s 38 career home runs have come against Arizona. And eight of those nine have come at Chase Field.

STAT OF THE GAME

3: Number of triples by the D-backs in this one, tying a single-game franchise record that was set on July 5, 2016. Mathis, Paul Goldschmidt and Daniel Descalso contributed one apiece tonight.

HE SAID IT

“Unbelievable man. From the get-go. When they announced ‘Diamondbacks taking the field’ it was – I had chills. And seeing that top deck completely full was impressive. Come out to more games. I want to see that more. That was fun.” -Archie Bradley

NOTED

-Chris Owings came around to score Arizona’s third run of the game on a wild pitch by Tyler Chatwood in the bottom of the fourth.

UP NEXT

These two clubs will meet at Chase Field for the final game of this weekend series on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is set for 1:10 p.m., with pregame coverage beginning at 12:30 p.m. on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station.

Taijuan Walker (6-3, 3.50 ERA) will get the start for the Diamondbacks, looking for another decent performance. He’s won his last three decisions, dating back to May 19, though he missed nearly a month in there with an injury. In his most recent outing, he gave up three earned runs over 6.1 innings in a 6-5 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on June 27.

The big righty has faced the Rockies three times in his career, going 1-1 with a 3.32 ERA. Two of those meetings have come this season, including a 5-2 loss for Arizona in Colorado on May 7, and a 16-5 road victory for the D-backs on June 21.

On the other side of the diamond, the Rockies will counter with German Marquez (5-4, 4.38). The 22-year-old out of Venezuela started the season with a 4-2 record, but has won just once since May 28. And he was touched up for five runs over just 4.0 innings in a 9-2 loss in San Francisco on June 26.

Marquez has faced Arizona three times in his career, going 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA.

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