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Sedona Red Recap: Greinke comes through again for D-backs over Reds

Arizona Diamondbacks Zack Greinke (21) reacts with Cincinnati Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart after getting hit by a pitch in the second inning during a baseball game, Friday, July 7, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks needed a win in the worst way on Friday night.

Not because they had fallen 5.5 games back of Los Angeles for first place in the NL West. Or because they had just been swept for the first time all season. Or even because they had dropped six of eight coming into their matchup with the Cincinnati Reds.

No, the D-backs just needed a win to wash away the taste of Thursday’s frustrating, ninth-inning loss to the Dodgers. And, once again, Zack Greinke delivered.

Arizona’s ace tossed seven innings of shutout baseball, made a nice defensive play in the field and even drove in a run of his own, as the Diamondbacks doubled up the Reds by a final of 6-3 in front of 27,006 fans at Chase Field.

Paul Goldschmidt homered and Brandon Drury scored a pair of runs to fuel the offense, and six different Arizona batters picked up an RBI as the D-backs carried a 6-0 lead into the top half of the ninth.

Considering what happened the evening before in Los Angeles, that six-run cushion was a welcome sight – but it was quickly trimmed in half by a pair of Cincinnati home runs.

Fernando Rodney was called in to record the final out at that point. And this time he manged to finish the job, getting Tucker Barnhart to ground out and end the game.

With the win, Arizona is now 53-34 on the season. The Dodgers knocked off Kansas City though, so the gap between first and second in the NL West remains at 5.5 games.

THE GOOD
-Greinke reminded everyone just how valuable it can be to have a true No. 1 starter in the rotation. For the second appearance in a row, he put together an impressive outing to snap a three-game losing streak by the Diamondbacks.

-He finished the game with seven strikeouts and just one walk, but also got it done at the plate, singling home Brandon Drury in the fourth to put Arizona up 3-0.

-Greinke showed up in the defensive highlights too, making a pretty slick play on a grounder off the bat of the speedy Billy Hamilton in the sixth.

-The fifth inning home run was Goldschmidt’s 20th of the season. It’s the fifth time he’s reached that plateau in his career, and he’s now on pace for what would be a career-high 37 this year.

-The D-backs are 18-5 over their last 23 home games, and 33-13 at Chase Field overall in 2017. That’s the second-best home mark in baseball behind – of course – the Dodgers.

THE BAD

-Greinke was hit on the left forearm by a Tim Adleman pitch in the bottom of the second. He was able to stay in the game though.

-One night after entering in what was essentially a no-win situation against LA (zero outs, bases loaded and the game tied in the bottom of the ninth), T.J. McFarland was put in a much better position to succeed. He cruised through the eighth with the six-run lead, but surrendered a two-run home run to Joey Votto to begin the ninth.

-When McFarland was pulled, Jake Barrett stepped in. But he served up a longball to Scott Schebler, letting the lead dwindle to 6-3.

STAT OF THE GAME

9-0: Greinke’s record at home this year, a franchise record to begin the season.

HE SAID IT

“That felt really good actually – when I thought Schebler hit the ball really hard and, off the bat, I was like ‘that’s a double, there’s no way’. And then it ended up being caught. I think that’s been happening a little more often this year.” – Zack Greinke

NOTED

-Rodney entered the game with two outs in the ninth, to a very loud response from the Chase Field crowd – mostly cheers.

-Cincinnati’s Hamilton was called out attempting to steal second base in the first inning, due to a batter interference call on Zack Cozart at home plate.

-Friday was Game of Thrones Night at Chase Field.

-Gates will open at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday for the Diamondbacks Alumni Game – a three-inning contest between former Arizona players that will begin at 4:30 p.m.

UP NEXT

These two clubs will meet again at Chase Field for the second game of this series on Saturday. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m., with pregame coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station.

Taijuan Walker (6-3, 3.30) will get the start for the D-backs, making his first ever appearance against the Reds. He allowed just one earned run over seven innings in his last appearance on July 2, taking a no-decision in what ultimately ended up as a 4-3 win for Arizona over Colorado.

In his last nine starts overall, Walker is 4-2 with a 2.80 ERA.

Cincinnati will counter with Luis Castillo (0-1, 4.41). He’s made just three Major League starts in his career, including his debut in Washington against the Nationals on June 23. He was touched up by the Rockies for four earned runs over just 5.2 innings in his most recent outing on July 3.

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