ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

A.J. Pollock homers three times in D-backs’ win over Dodgers

Apr 30, 2018, 11:31 PM

PHOENIX — With the Arizona Diamondbacks’ rotation getting thinner by the week, more responsibility is falling on guys like Zack Greinke to come up big when they make a start.

That was the case on Monday, as the D-backs opened a four-game series with their rivals from Los Angeles, in front of 17,562 fans at Chase Field. And Greinke delivered, fanning 10 Dodgers over six innings, while surrendering just two earned runs.

Of course, it helps when one of your outfielders decides to completely take over the game too.

A.J. Pollock cleared the fence three times — off three different LA pitchers — fueling Arizona to an 8-5 victory over the visiting Dodgers. Nobody ever actually got on base for Pollock, though, meaning all three home runs were of the solo variety. But they were still the difference in the game, and Nick Ahmed chipped in with his fifth long ball of the young season as well.

It took the D-backs just one inning to get to Ross Stripling, who was making his 17th career Major League start. After the 28-year old got through the first cleanly, Arizona jumped on him for three runs in the second, another in the fourth, then touched up the bullpen for four more runs over the fifth, seventh and eighth frames.

With the win, the Diamondbacks are now 6-1 against LA in 2018. And at 20-8, they own baseball’s second-best record, and a 5.5 game lead over San Francisco for the NL West lead.

THE GOOD

– This was Pollock’s fourth career multi-homer game, and his second already this season (April 14 vs LA in Dodger Stadium).

– Ahmed made good contact all night, going 3-for-5 with a pair of runs and a RBI. Even his out in the seventh was a hard-hit liner to left.

– Daniel Descalso made a great catch on a sharply hit drive off the bat of Kike Hernandez in the seventh. Which was good, since the next batter was Max Muncy, who promptly put the ball in the right field seats.

– Jarrod Dyson beat out a grounder to short with two outs and the bases loaded in the seventh to put Arizona up 7-3. No RBI for Dyson since the Dodgers were charged with an error on the play, but the damage was done.

– Greinke helped his own cause at the plate, going 2-for-2 with an RBI and a ground rule double that nearly went for a home run.

– Brad Boxberger picked up his ninth save.

THE BAD

– David Peralta took a Tony Cingrani pitch off his right hand in the bottom of the seventh that looked bad. The bases were loaded so a run scored, but Peralta immediately went down and had to leave the game. Lovullo said afterward that x-rays had come back negative and Peralta is day-to-day with a hand contusion.

– Paul Goldschmidt struck out with the bases loaded to end the seventh.

STAT OF THE GAME

12: Number of three-plus home run games by a player in Diamondbacks history after Pollock’s hat trick tonight.

HE SAID IT

“Probably back in — I’m not sure if I did it in college — maybe Little League? High school?” – Pollock, trying to remember the last time he hit three home runs in a game.

NOTED

– Jake Lamb threw out to 120 feet, took batting practice and fielded some grounders prior to the game.

– Lovullo noted that Steven Souza Jr. also threw out to 120 feet and took five at-bats in extended spring training on Monday and reiterated that Shelby Miller is ready to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday.

UP NEXT

This is the D-backs’ first four-game series of the season. The second contest will take place tomorrow night at Chase Field with Matt Koch taking the mound for Arizona and LA countering with three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. First pitch is set for 6:40 p.m. while pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

Koch (1-0) has made four career Major League starts, two of which have come in the last two weeks. He scattered two earned runs over six innings in his most recent outing, picking up a win over the Phillies. His previous start was even better when he gave up just one run on two hits over six innings in a no-decision against the Padres.

The win over Philadelphia was the second of Koch’s career. His first came in one inning of work back in 2016 against the Dodgers.

Kershaw (1-4) hasn’t gotten off to a great start record-wise, but that’s more a reflection of his team’s struggles than anything else. His 2.84 ERA and 42 strikeouts over 38.0 innings of work may not be at his typically dominant level, but they’re still strong.

The 30-year old lefty is 15-9 with a 2.51 ERA in 28 career starts against the Diamondbacks.

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