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Sedona Red Recap: Greinke stymies Astros in D-backs victory

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Greinke adjusts his cap against the Houston Astros during the seventh inning of a baseball game, Monday, Aug. 14, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — Following an Arizona Diamondbacks loss, Zack Greinke is money, as he should be. That’s why they’re paying him all that money, right?

Greinke beat the game’s best offensive team, shutting out the Houston Astros over 6.2 innings to lead the D-backs to a 2-0 win in front of an announced crowd of 20,405 at Chase Field on Monday.

Though he had but one clean inning, Greinke (14-5) only allowed one runner past second base. He scattered five hits with two walks and nine strikeouts in a 100-pitch effort, including 62 strikes.

Jorge De La Rosa, Archie Bradley and Fernando Rodney helped preserve the shutout with Rodney recording his 27th save of the season.

Greinke snapped a two-start winless drought and improved to 8-1 in 10 starts this season — and 15-4 in two seasons — when taking the mound after a D-backs loss.

His 11 home wins are the most in the majors.

Ketel Marte and J.D. Martinez provided all the needed offense. They each had RBI doubles, and they were each off Astros starter Collin McHugh.

Marte hit his run-scoring double in the third inning, while Martinez recorded his in the sixth.

Marte finished with two hits, as did Jake Lamb.

McHugh (0-2) didn’t pitch badly, just not good enough to win on this night. He went 5.2 innings, allowing two runs on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts.

The Astros, owners of the best record in the American League, have lost six of seven.

The D-backs keep pace with the Rockies in the chase for the No. 1 spot in the Wild Card standings.

THE GOOD

Timely hitting resulted in the D-backs’ first run of the game. With two outs in the second inning, Marte followed Daniel Descalso with a double of his own. He grounded a 2-2 offering from McHugh into shallow right field, and while he slide safely into second base, Descalso crossed home plate for a 1-0 lead.

Four innings later, the D-backs once again hit back-to-back doubles and extended their lead to 2-0. With one out, Paul Goldschmidt doubled to left field and Martinez followed, smashing the first offering from McHugh into left-center field to easily score Goldschmidt. It was Martinez’s 19th RBI in a D-backs uniform.

Through three innings, Greinke had recorded six strikeouts, including twice fanning the game’s best hitter, at least according to the numbers. Jose Altuve entered the series leading the majors in both batting average (.362) and hits (162), yet Greinke struck him out in the first and third innings on sliders. Though he had good career numbers against Greinke — 9-for-18 with one strikeout — Altuve went down swinging in each of his three at-bats facing the right-hander. Altuve’s last three strikeout-game was July 18, 2014.

THE BAD

Nitpicking here, yes, but Marte committed a throwing error in the third inning. Fortunately, it did not cost the D-backs. For Marte, it was just his fourth error of the season, yet the third already this month.

STAT OF THE GAME, part I

6: Six of the D-backs’ eight hits went for extra bases; all six were doubles, tying a single-game season-high.

STAT OF THE GAME, part II

10: The D-backs earned their 10th interleague win this season, and at 10-1 they own the best interleague mark in MLB.

HE SAID IT

“I think that’s what a No. 1 does. I think he’s a stopper,” manager Torey Lovullo said of Greinke. “He can stop any type of a losing streak because he’s unfazed by what’s going on around him. On his day he’s going to pitch, despite any good or bad circumstances.”

NOTED

– Greinke threw a first-pitch strike to 15-of-25 batters faced and reached a three-ball count four times.

– Greinke has now struck out at least eight batters in four consecutive starts and 12 times overall this year.

– Bradley extended his scoreless streak to nine consecutive games, which covers a full nine innings of work.

– Marte has now reached base safely in 14 consecutive games, the longest streak of his big-league career.

– With a first-pitch temperature of 100 degrees, the game was played with both the roof and panels closed.

– Happy Birthday to David Peralta, who turned 30; earlier he and wife welcomed their first child, a daughter.

UP NEXT

The Arizona-played portion of this home-and-home series with Houston concludes with an afternoon affair.

Left-hander Anthony Banda (1-2) makes just his third career start when he takes the mound on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 12:40 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on ESPN 620 AM.

Banda, who remains in the rotation in the absence of Robbie Ray, suffered the loss in his last outing. He went four innings, allowing three runs on four hits with one walk and four strikeouts in an 8-6 setback to the Dodgers.

Banda has a better than 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his short stint in the majors.

Meanwhile, the Astros turn to right-hander Brad Peacock, who has bounced between the bullpen and starting rotation this season and excelled in both roles.

This will be his third straight start and 14th overall, going 7-1 with a 3.46 ERA.

Peacock (10-1) did not factor into the decision in his most recent outing. He held the White Sox to one run on seven hits in 6.1 innings, his second-longest appearance of the season.

The D-backs and Astros will play twice more, Wednesday and Thursday, in Houston.

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