ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

D-backs strike first and often yet again, win their second straight series

Jun 2, 2018, 11:01 PM | Updated: 11:09 pm

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke throws in the first inning during a baseball game against...

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke throws in the first inning during a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Saturday, June 2, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

PHOENIX — Torey Lovullo refers to it as playing downhill baseball, or playing with the lead.

The Arizona Diamondbacks did just that for much of April, hence their success, only then to be on the opposite end far too many times during an 8-19 May.

It would appear the pendulum has swung back in the D-backs’ favor.

Home runs by Paul Goldschmidt and David Peralta helped spot the D-backs a 5-0 lead on their way to a 6-2 series-clinching victory over the Miami Marlins in front of an announced crowd of 34,117 at Chase Field on Saturday night.

Goldschmidt hit a solo home run in the first and Peralta followed with a two-run shot in the third inning. In-between, Ketel Marte (RBI triple) and Jeff Mathis (sacrifice fly) had RBI.

All five runs were charged to starter Caleb Smith (4-6) who was bounced from the last after just four innings.

The D-backs have played with the lead in each of their last three games.

Zack Greinke (4-4) benefited from all the run support, though on this night he didn’t need much. Only a couple of runs would’ve been enough.

Greinke snapped a two-start losing streak, limiting the Marlins to one run on seven hits with one walk and six strikeouts in 6.2 innings. He shutout the Marlins over the first five innings and then ran into trouble in the sixth, when Brian Anderson hit a two-strike, two-out run-scoring triple.

The bullpen: Yoshihisa Hirano, Andrew Chafin, Archie Bradley and T.J. McFarland, recorded the final seven outs as Greinke improved to 6-0 all-time against the Marlins.

After going three weeks without a series victory, the D-backs have won back-to-back series. Overall, they’ve won four of their last five games to climb back into first place in the National League West, while the Marlins’ losing streak reached a season-high tying five in a row.

THE GOOD

On his bobblehead night, and hitting third after spending time in the two-hole in his last give games, Goldschmidt brought the fans out of their seats in his first at-bat. He absolutely crushed a 2-1 fastball—clocked at 94.8 mph—into the second deck in left field for a solo home run, his second of the homestand and eighth of the season, to put the D-backs ahead 1-0.

Following a two-homer performance the night before, Marte picked up where he left off with an RBI triple in his first at-bat. He drilled a ball into the gap in left-center field scoring Chris Owings who had led off the second inning with a bunt single. The play made the score 2-0 D-backs. Marte finished 1-for-3 with an intentional walk, his first of the season, and is now batting .353 (6-for-17) on the homestand.

For the first time this season, Peralta has homered in back-to-back games. He went deep in his second at-bat, lining a 2-2 changeup over the fence in right field scoring Goldschmidt who reached on a hit-by-pitch. The play made it 5-0 D-backs with one out in the third inning. Peralta, hitting cleanup for the first time in 2018, now has nine home runs and 26 RBI.

THE BAD

It doesn’t happen often, but a rare base-running mistake by Jarrod Dyson in the third inning. After a leadoff single to left field, he was picked off/caught stealing by Smith for out No. 1. It marked the third time this season that Dyson was caught stealing tied with Owings for the team-lead.

Between Starling Castro and Anderson, the pair combined for four of the seven hits off Greinke. In the sixth inning, they teamed up to plate the Marlins first run. Castro led off with a double and then scored three batters later when Anderson lined a triple over the head of Owings in right field.

STAT OF THE GAME

15-to-3: The D-backs have outscored the Marlins by 12 runs through the first two games of the series

HE SAID IT

“Yes, biggest home run I’ve ever hit,” Goldschmidt joked, before turning serious. “Trying to get on base there. Was lucky to get that run early and then Zack pitched well and add on there. The bobblehead is what it is but just trying to get on base.”

NOTED

Greinke threw a first-pitch strike to 23-of-27 batters faced; in addition, he reached a 3-ball count five times

Greinke twice swung so hard through fastballs during his at-bat in the fourth inning that his helmet flew off

Goldschmidt became the first D-back to homer on his bobblehead day since Chris Young on Aug. 27, 2011

Mathis went 0-for-2 with a walk, and he now has reached base via a hit or a walk in 12 of his last 15 games

Hirano extended his scoreless streak to 12 consecutive appearances, covering 10.1 innings since May 6

With a first-pitch temperature of 102 degrees, the game was played with both the roof and panels closed

It was ‘Star Wars’ Day at the ballpark; the first 20,000 fans in attendance received a Paul Solo bobblehead

UP NEXT

A pair of right-handers—Matt Koch and Dan Straily—take the mound in the series-finale on Sunday, June 3. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station.

Koch (3-3) will be looking to make it back-to-back wins for the first time this season. He beat the Reds on May 28 despite allowing five runs on 11 hits in five innings; that’s three straight outings, by the way, in which he’s failed to complete six full innings.

Over his career, as brief as it is, Koch has never faced the Marlins.

Meanwhile, Straily (2-1) is winless in his last two starts. He took a no decision at the Mets and then dropped a 9-5 outing at the Padres in which he was tagged for a season-high tying four runs in 5.2 innings. That outing marked the first time the Marlins had lost with him on the mound this season.

Straily is 1-0 in two career starts against the D-backs.

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D-backs strike first and often yet again, win their second straight series