Ketel Marte, D-backs pummel Red Sox in home-opening win
PHOENIX — If the Arizona Diamondbacks eventually regress to the preseason expectations, their top-five offense will hit a lull.
If the Boston Red Sox reach their expectations, it’d mean the 2018 World Series champs would, well, play like it after a 2-6 record through the first two series of 2019.
One game into each team’s third series of the year, neither is happening.
Arizona battered Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello for seven earned runs Friday, then caught reliever Brian Johnson for seven more in a 15-8 win in front of 48,338 at Chase Field.
“The runs just kept coming. You can’t take anything for granted against this ball club,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said after his team’s home opener.
“At a certain point, you start to really enjoy the at-bats and really look at them from a different angle. I can’t say enough about what we did offensively.”
Seven D-backs recorded multiple hits, including starting pitcher Zack Godley and second baseman Ketel Marte, the latter of whom homered from both sides of the plate. His sixth-inning grand slam contributed to a seven-run inning that put Arizona ahead, 14-1, giving the bullpen plenty room for error.
“I feel good right now. I feel healthy, I feel stronger,” Marte said. “My mind is ready.”
Meanwhile, Godley recovered after he allowed seven earned runs in an 18-5 debut loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Against Boston, he pitched 5.2 frames, allowing three hits and one earned run with three walks and five strikeouts.
“Felt really good,” Godley said. “Had everything working really well. Had that one swing; they got a double that got a run in. After that, kind of settled in and got some guys out.”
Arizona’s starting pitcher also scored his team’s first run of the game, just after he’d allowed an RBI double by Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi in the top of the third to put Boston briefly ahead 1-0.
Godley’s lead-off single in the bottom of the inning was followed by a Jarrod Dyson single, an Eduardo Escobar walk and a David Peralta double that scored the pitcher.
Marte hit a solo dinger with one out in the fourth inning, and three batters later with two on base, Godley blooped an RBI single between three Red Sox in shallow right. Dyson singled for another RBI, and Escobar grounded out to score Godley from third to wrap the four-run frame.
The D-backs were back at it in the fifth inning, when Adam Jones led off with a solo shot preceding a single by Nick Ahmed. Alex Avila then doubled, giving Arizona a 7-1 lead.
It would need more offense to hold off a Boston team that later jumped on reliever Matt Koch, who allowed seven earned runs in 2.1 frames.
Jones struck again in the sixth, doubling off the center field wall to score Dyson and move Escobar to third. After an intentional walk of Christian Walker by Boston reliever Brian Johnson, a righty-batting Marte smashed a ball to left field — his first homer was from the right side of the plate to right field — for a grand slam.
“I know they walked a very capable hitter ahead of (Marte),” Lovullo said of Walker. “I think a lot of good hitters take that personally.”
Marte wouldn’t confess to hard feelings. But he couldn’t hide the significance of the day.
His grand slam was the first of his career. And his second multi-homer game mirrored his first. The first time he did it in 2018, he also went yard from each side of the plate.
“I got up there and I’m like … I got to get him,” Marte said of the grand slam. “I got to get him, I got to do something special for my team.”
By the end of the sixth inning, Arizona had added seven runs after pinch-hitter Ildemaro Vargas hit a two-run homer, the second of his MLB career.
Godley hung in through the top of the sixth, when he left with two outs and the bases loaded. Andrew Chafin induced a ground out to help the Diamondbacks escape the frame untarnished.
And three outs later, the D-backs held a 14-1 lead enough to protect a win against a 2-7 Red Sox team that with the loss passed Arizona for allowing the most earned runs in baseball so far this year.
“I think we have a roomful of confident players that are playing together and are not afraid to hand it off to the next guy if they can’t execute and get the pitch they want to swing at,” Lovullo said. “To me, that’s been the constant theme so far.”