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Luke Weaver nearly unhittable in D-backs’ win against the Reds

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Luke Weaver throws against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 11, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX – Starting pitcher Luke Weaver flirted with a perfect game and gave the Arizona Diamondbacks their first series win of the year along with a much-needed quality start in a 7-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds at home on Sunday.

“The results are kind of agreeing with the way I felt,” Weaver said of his day. “I guess ultimately it felt really good to be able to go out there and do that.”

Weaver allowed one hit, two walks and no runs in seven innings of work with eight strikeouts.

“To put together the work I’ve been putting in ever since last year and just trying to hone in those little adjustments, and it finally came to fruition and I was able to stay on the attack,” he added.

He threw 63 of his 94 pitches for strikes. He is now 4-0 in six career starts against the Reds.

“It was a pretty special day for Luke Weaver. There’s no way to get around it,” manager Torey Lovullo said postgame.

“He throws up seven zeros, has a perfect game for the majority of the game, has a no hitter for an inning beyond that and he put up those zeros while he allowed the offense to go out and do what it did.”

Weaver started the game with strike outs of red-hot outfielders Tyler Naquin and Nick Castellanos in the first inning. He had excellent command of his four-seam fastball and his changeup, using a variety of speeds and pinpoint accuracy to effectively dominate batters early on.

Weaver continued to control the strike zone in the second, striking out shortstop Eugenio Suarez and another hot batter in third baseman Mike Moustakas, who struck out twice against Weaver.

Weaver didn’t allow a base runner until the sixth inning when he hit pinch hitter Alex Blandino with a pitch, ending the possibility of a perfect game. He then allowed another walk and a single to Suarez in the seventh inning that ended his no-hitter.

Despite just missing the accomplishment, Weaver was still dominant in the outing, crediting having an aggressive attitude that aided in his approach.

“I think it’s an emotion where it doesn’t get too big or too small, but there’s definitely an edge,” he admitted. “There’s definitely a little bit of like ‘I’m coming right after you’, especially in the first inning, you’re trying to set the tone.

“To be able to come out and feel sharp right away I think just lets your side and their side know it’s game time and there’s got to be an adjustment from their side because I am not deviating from my plan until you make me.”

The duo of David Peralta and Eduardo Escobar continued to stay locked in at the dish and did some damage offensively.

Escobar doubled to leadoff the second and scored the team’s first run on a Pavin Smith RBI single. In the fifth inning, he extended his home run streak to four games with a 2-run dinger that scored Peralta.

He’s the first D-backs player to hit a home run in four consecutive games since Mark Trumbo in 2014. He was 2-for-5 with a double, home run, two RBI and two runs scored.

With two on in the third, Peralta added to the lead with a three-run dinger that scored Josh VanMeter and Christian Walker. The Freight Train was 2-for-4 with a double, home run, a walk, a ru, and three RBI.

“Those innings are built. We did a good job of getting runners on base, and then David, who has a knack for getting the job done at the most crucial moments of the game, comes up and basically breaks the game open,” added Lovullo.

The D-backs improve to 4-6 on the season and will face off with the Oakland A’s at Chase Field on Monday. Madison Bumgarner will start in Game One with first pitch set for 6:40 p.m. Tune to 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station for all the action.

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