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Clay Buchholz dominant again as D-backs sweep Angels

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Clay Buchholz throws in the first inning during a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

PHOENIX — Clay Buchholz spent May 1 getting released from his minor league contract by the Kansas City Royals. That’s right, the Royals decided Buchholz just wasn’t good enough to keep around. They’re 38-89 right now.

Since that point, all Buchholz has done is go 7-2 with a 2.25 ERA over 13 starts with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Kansas City’s mistake is Arizona’s gain, and the D-backs are making the most of it. The 34-year old righty gave them 7.0 more outstanding innings on Wednesday night, striking out seven while allowing just four hits and no runs in a 5-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels in front of 23,584 at Chase Field.

In his last two starts, Buchholz has picked up a pair of wins while surrendering a grand total of one run over 16.0 innings. And one of those wins was a complete game – something Arizona pitchers have only managed to pull off one other time this season.

Eight of his 13 starts for the Diamondbacks have been quality starts. And that 2.25 ERA would rank behind only Aaron Nola (2.24), Max Scherzer (2.11) and Jacob deGrom (1.71) as the best in the National League if Buchholz had enough innings to qualify.

He technically doesn’t, because he spent the first month of the season in the minors. But that’s not really the point. He doesn’t have to be deGrom or Scherzer. He’s already doing more than Mike Hazen could have ever hoped for when he signed him.

Buchholz wasn’t the only one to step up on Wednesday, as the D-backs picked up their sixth win in seven tries. Paul Goldschmidt put another one over the fence, delivering three more hits to bring his average all the way up to .297 (it was .198 on May 22). And David Peralta chipped in with his 25th homer of the season, lifting Arizona to 15 games above .500 at 71-56.

THE GOOD

– Everything Buchholz did tonight. See above.

– Goldschmidt has hit safely in all but two games in August, and his average now sits at .388 for the month.

– To put Peralta’s impressive season in perspective, his 25 home runs are already a career-high by a wide margin over his previous best (17, in 2015), his 70 RBI are only eight back of his career high and his 64 runs scored are 18 off his best total ever. Oh, and there are still 35 games left.

– The Dodgers lost again, and are now 4.5 games back.

THE BAD

– With a chance to potentially blow the game open in the fifth, Arizona stranded Goldschmidt on second and Peralta on third.

– Brad Ziegler’s streak of nine consecutive scoreless appearances ended when Jefry Marte knocked in Jabari Blash to give the Angels their only run of the evening.

– Unlike the Dodgers, the Rockies won their game to keep pace and are still just 1.5 back of the D-backs for first in the NL West.

STAT OF THE GAME

96: Number of career home runs at Chase for Goldschmidt. That’s the most by anyone ever.

HE SAID IT

“Pitching with the lead… in the beginning of the game it’s not that big of a deal but, towards the end of the game, when you have a lead it’s easier to go out and throw strikes rather than nibble. And that’s what gets you behind in the count. This team’s done a really good job of that.” -Clay Buchholz, on Arizona scoring early yet again.

NOTED

– Jack White was at the game tonight, prior to the White Stripes concert down the street.

– Shohei Ohtani made a brief appearance, leading off the top half of the sixth with a pinch-hit, broken-bat single up the middle.

– Wednesday was a recovery day for Jarrod Dyson and Shelby Miller, who Lovullo says are both doing well. He didn’t rule either of them out for the remainder of this season, but also cautioned that the team wants to “do right” by both of them, and won’t rush either back.

UP NEXT

The Diamondbacks will have Thursday off, before beginning a rare series with the Seattle Mariners at Chase Field on Friday. Zack Godley will take the mound for Arizona, while Seattle counters with Erasmo Ramirez. First pitch is set for 6:40 p.m., with pregame coverage beginning at 6:00 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

Godley (13-6) leads the D-backs in wins this season, earning the “W” in eight of his last nine decisions. His only loss since June 4 came on July 1 against the Giants. He got touched up in his last start, though, allowing six runs over 5.0 innings in a no-decision against the Padres on Aug. 18.

The 28-year old righty has only faced the Mariners once in his career, picking up the win in just his second start back on July 28, 2015.

Ramirez (0-2) has only made four starts this season, and just two since returning from a right shoulder strain earlier this month. Seattle has won both of those games, but Ramirez didn’t pick up a decision in either, despite allowing just one earned run over 10.0 innings against the Astros and Dodgers.

Friday will be the 28-year old’s second career start and third appearance vs. Arizona. He has a 6.00 ERA over 6.0 innings against the Diamondbacks so far.

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