ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

D-backs survive 1st inning slugfest, come back to top Royals

May 23, 2022, 11:38 PM | Updated: May 24, 2022, 12:51 am
David Peralta #6 of the Arizona Diamondbacks reacts after hitting an RBI single during the seventh ...
David Peralta #6 of the Arizona Diamondbacks reacts after hitting an RBI single during the seventh inning against the Kansas City Royals at Chase Field on May 23, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. Diamondbacks won 9-5. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks (22-22) survived a first-inning slugfest in a 9-5 comeback win over the Kansas City Royals (14-27) in front of a crowd of 14,629 at Chase Field on Monday night.

After surrendering three solo home runs on his first 13 pitches of the game, D-backs starting pitcher Zach Davies left the contest in the top of the fourth after taking a 112 mph line drive directly to the right shin off the bat of Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr.

X-rays on Davies’ shin came back negative.

The right-hander went 3.2 innings pitched, allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits (three home runs), two walks and one hit-by-pitch while striking out two on 84 pitches (51 strikes).

“That first inning was a struggle, just bad pitches over the plate,” Davies said postgame. “I was trying to settle in and ended up kind of leaving it where it was. My goal at that point was to try to pitch deep into the game and limit the damage. I started to make a few better pitches and try to make them put the ball in play with soft contact like I normally do.”

Arizona spoiled Zack Greinke’s return to the Valley, tattooing the former Diamondback for seven runs on five hits (two homers) and four walks. The right-hander’s night was done after garnering five strikeouts in 3.2 innings pitched on 87 pitches (52 strikes).

“He came out with a bit more velocity than we thought. I’m sure he’s a little bit excited to be pitching back here,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said of Greinke postgame. “We just had a good game plan to push him out over the plate, get the ball and bat over the zone. We knew what his strengths were, we knew the areas that he was going to be comfortable throwing to and our guys did a good job of attacking that area.”

Offensively, the Diamondbacks tallied nine runs on 10 hits while leaving six runners on base and going 5-for-10 (.500) with runners in scoring position. That was complemented by an impressive performance by the D-backs bullpen, which managed to throw 5.1 scoreless innings in relief of Davies. Relievers JB Wendelken, Caleb Smith, Noe Ramirez, Joe Mantiply, Sean Poppen and Luis Frias combined to allow only four hits and three walks while striking out six.

“The bullpen did an exceptional job matching up and getting the job done. We were a little bit thin down there, we’re trying to stay away from guys,” Lovullo said. “But all in all they gutted it out and did a tremendous job.

“I thought a key part to the game was closing up that gap immediately. … At 4-0 suddenly turns to 4-3, I thought our guys did a fantastic job offensively. … Just a nice day overall, a good game to win, especially when you fall behind as quickly as we did with three home runs in the top of the first inning.”

Royals right fielder Whit Merrifield led off the game with a solo home run to left field on the very first pitch of the ballgame. Twelve pitches later it was 3-0 Kansas City after Davies gave up back-to-back solo shots to Witt Jr. and Hunter Dozier — both to left field — while recording only one out which was a deep fly ball to the center field track. Davies followed by loading up the bases on a walk, a single and a hit-by-pitch, but managed to escape the opening frame with only four runs crossing the plate.

The Diamondbacks responded immediately in the bottom half of the first inning with a leadoff double by Daulton Varsho and two-run moonshot to right field by Pavin Smith, his fifth of the year.

“It was great, especially with a guy with that repertoire and reputation,” Smith said postgame of the D-backs’ approach against Greinke. “Especially going down 4-0 early, we knew we wanted to see some pitches and grind out some good ABs in that first inning. … You know when he’s going to be hitting his spots and you just have to take advantage of when he doesn’t because they’re few and far between.”

Two batters later, Christian Walker hit an opposite-field solo shot of his own — his 11th of the season — to bring the D-backs within one at 4-3. It also marked the seventh hit of the inning between the two ballclubs, five of which were big flies.

After the Royals took advantage of a D-backs’ shift and two errors to score a run on an overall odd play in the top of the second, David Peralta and Jake McCarthy tied the game up at 5-5 with RBIs that brought home Smith and Ketel Marte after leading off the bottom of the third with back-to-back walks.

Following Davies’ departure in the top half of the fourth, the D-backs took the lead thanks to a two-RBI double off the bat of Marte down the left field line to give Arizona its first lead of the night at 7-5.

Peralta extended Arizona’s lead in the bottom of the seventh inning with his second RBI of the game to bring home Marte. That was followed up with an RBI single to left by Drew Ellis off of former D-backs RHP Matt Peacock which scored Peralta and brought the Diamondbacks’ advantage to 9-5.

EXTRA BASES

– Ellis left the game after two innings due to right side discomfort and was replaced by Jake Hager as a defensive replacement in the top of the third.

– Diamondbacks first base coach Dave McKay missed the game due to COVID-19 and was replaced by Luis Urueta.

UP NEXT

The D-backs look to sweep the two-game series over the Royals on Tuesday at 6:40 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

Arizona RHP Zac Gallen (3-0, 1.14 ERA) is scheduled to start against Kansas City RHP Jonathan Heasley (0-2, 4.32).

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