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Kole Calhoun hits 2 home runs to lead Diamondbacks over Astros

Arizona Diamondbacks' Kole Calhoun drops his bat after hitting a three-run home run against the Houston Astros during the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Numbers sometimes lie. The ball doesn’t.

Kole Calhoun hit a pair of home runs in the Arizona Diamodbacks’ 6-3 win over the Houston Astros on Friday, and the first one bounced off the wall of the second deck.

It was officially measured at 382 feet.

“I haven’t had a lot of experience in this ballpark … and I haven’t seen a lot of baseballs go into that area,” manager Torey Lovullo said lightheartedly when asked about how the hit looked from the field.

“I know there’s a Statcast. I know the track man is up there giving us all that data. Very rarely is it wrong, but I’m surprised that it was only 380 feet.”

Calhoun didn’t try to put an estimate on how deep the shot, which gave Arizona a 3-2 lead, traveled.

“As long as it went over the yellow line, I don’t really care,” he said.

That means he was also perfectly fine with his second home run, which lined over the wall and just over the outstretched arm of right fielder Josh Reddick to give Arizona a 6-3 lead.

“(He) really put us back into this game,” Lovullo said. “We were very well aware of what Zack Greinke can do when he gets on a real nice roll.”

Calhoun has been absolutely mashing the ball for the Diamondbacks this week.

It’s the third time in four days he has hit a home run, and the second time in that span in which he has multiple. He has at least one RBI in six of the last eight games, and multiple RBIs in half of those games.

Not even Greinke could stop him.

To be fair, Greinke has historically not been able to. During the broadcast, Fox Sports Arizona showed a graphic that said Calhoun came into the game batting .550 over his career against the ace.

“The success off him, it’s pinpointed to anything, it’s just not missing one of the maybe three pitches that he gives guys to hit over the course of a night,” Calhoun said.

Over the first two innings, the Astros managed two runs off Zac Gallen, but they had a chance for much more. They loaded up the bases with no outs in the first, but Gallen struck out the next three batters. A run came home due to a wild pitch, and he stranded runners on second and third.

He retired the Astros 1-2-3 in the second, but Houston got runners on second and third again in the third. Gallen struck out Yuli Gurriel to escape with limited damage.

“Didn’t make some pitches that I wanted to, but for the most part, I feel like I made some pitches when I needed to,” Gallen said.

In total, Gallen went six innings, striking out six batters – four of which came with runners on second and third and one with the bases loaded – and allowed three runs, only one of which was earned. After two poor outings, he put up another quality start on Friday.

“(He) pounded the zone with an assortment of pitches,” Lovullo said. “In typical Zac form, with the bases loaded, he made pitches, and prevented some crooked numbers from going up there. For me, that’s one of the major reason why we were able to win.”

With a tie game entering the seventh, Nick Ahmed got an infield single and then Pavin Smith drove a pitch to deep center. It was very nearly his first career home run, but landed at the wall and he wheeled his way to third base. He then scored on a wild pitch.

“I thought he got all of that ball, I thought that was number one,” Calhoun said. “Told him he’s gotta hit the weight room a little bit.”

Arizona’s bullpen pitched clean seventh, eighth and ninth innings, allowing just one base runner. Stefan Crichton picked up the save.

The D-backs picked up their third win in the last four days to increase their record to 20-32 with eight games left in the 2020 season.

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