Descalso delivers again as D-backs edge Brewers, end losing streak
PHOENIX — Offense hasn’t been easy to come by for the Arizona Diamondbacks lately. And with the news that A.J. Pollock is going to miss the next four to eight weeks with an avulsion fracture in his left thumb, that might not change anytime soon.
It’s probably fitting, then, that Arizona used a small ball approach to end their season-long six-game losing streak on Tuesday night. Zack Greinke pitched six strong innings and Daniel Descalso provided more late-game heroics, as the D-backs edged the Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 in front of 17,194 fans at Chase Field.
Travis Shaw drove in Christian Yelich to give Milwaukee a 1-0 lead in the top half of the fourth, but Arizona responded quickly in the bottom half of the inning with a leadoff walk by Descalso and a single by Paul Goldschmidt. Steven Souza hit into a double play, but Descalso came around to even the score at 1-1.
From there, neither team did much damage at the plate. Greinke allowed just the one run over those six innings while striking out five. And then the bullpen duo of Yoshi Hirano and Archie Bradley produced two scoreless frames.
That set the stage for Descalso to do what he’s already done on a number of occasions in 2018.
Jeff Mathis walked to lead off the bottom of the eighth and was pinch run for by Jarrod Dyson. The speedy outfielder moved to second when John Ryan Murphy bunted – despite the bunt signal being taken down – with two strikes.
David Peralta moved Dyson to third, and Descalso then drove him in with a single into right field – despite the shift to that side that Milwaukee was employing.
That gave Torey Lovullo’s group their first lead since May 10. And Brad Boxberger made sure they held on to it in the ninth.
With the victory, Arizona has reopened a 2.5-game lead over Colorado for first place in the NL West.
– Stepping in for Pollock in center field, Chris Owings was tested on a number of occasions. He made an especially nice catch on a Manny Pina liner to left center in the fifth.
– Greinke worked out of a jam in the sixth, fanning Domingo Santana with a 74-mph curve on a full count with runners on first and second.
– The headliners in the bullpen – Hirano, Bradley and Boxberger – got the job done yet again. Hirano was impressive in the seventh, Bradley ultimately picked up the win and Boxberger earned his 12th save.
– The Diamondbacks’ struggles at the plate continued, as they managed just three hits all night. They’ve now scored a total of 14 runs over their last seven games.
– Murphy dropped a pop up off the bat of Shaw in the ninth, putting the tying runner on with just one out.
STAT OF THE GAME
7: Number of times Milwaukee reliever Taylor Williams threw to first during John Ryan Murphy’s eighth inning at bat, in an attempt to either hold pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson closer to the bag or pick him off. Dyson scored the winning run anyway.
HE SAID IT
“I was having trouble with their offense all game. They [Hirano, Bradley and Boxberger] seemed to have an easier job of it than it was for me.” – Zack Greinke
-Owings made a leaping grab on a Shaw liner to center in the second. This would normally go in the “good” category, except he had to make the leaping grab because he misjudged the ball in the first place. It was essentially hit right at him which, ironically, is not always the easiest play to make when working your way into a new position.
-Pollock currently leads Arizona in hits (44), average (.293), doubles (10), home runs (11), RBI (33), total bases (93) and stolen bases (11). He’s only tied for the team lead in triples with three though, so maybe they’ll be okay there.
-Arizona called up Christian Walker prior to the game.
-They also traded LHP Josh Taylor to the Red Sox as the player to be named in the trade that brought INF Deven Marrero to Arizona back on March 24.
-This one didn’t actually turn out bad, but it was close. Orlando Arcia ripped a line drive right back at Greinke in the third. He was able to get out of the way, but it was sort of a reminder that the D-backs really can’t afford any more injuries at this point. Especially to Greinke.
These two clubs will square off again for the series finale Wednesday afternoon at Chase Field. Arizona is sending Matt Koch to the mound, while Milwaukee counters with Brandon Woodruff. First pitch is set for 12:40 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning at noon on ESPN 620 AM.
Koch (2-1) has stepped up in a big way for the D-backs this year, delivering a 2.43 ERA and 0.99 WHIP over five starts, while injuries to Robbie Ray and Taijuan Walker have depleted the rotation. And he certainly hasn’t been handed an easy path, matching up with Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw in his last three outings.
Woodruff (1-0) doesn’t exactly have the same resume as those guys. The 25-year old righty has been saddled with an 8.03 ERA in six appearances this season for the Brewers. He’s made just two starts, including his last outing on May 11 where he was touched up by the Rockies for seven earned runs in just three innings of work.