What’s that sinking feeling?
Either Zack Greinke’s ERA, or the win percentage of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ recent opponents.
Greinke pitched 6.2 innings, allowing one earned run while striking out seven in a 2-1 win against the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday. The ace’s 5.25 ERA is still marred by his first two starts but things are starting to come together — for the pitcher and his teammates.
The fourth win in a row moved Arizona to .500 on the season (8-8) and the panic-inducing beginning of the year appears, for now, to be in the past. Greinke isn’t alone in finding a groove of late.
“Team’s been playing good, just trying to continue the roll we’ve been on. Was pretty good defense behind (me), I pitched good,” Greinke told FOX Sports Arizona. “We’ve been on the winning end of the close ones, lately.”
Like the 3-0 win in the Bay Area a night prior, the Diamondbacks’ bullpen held off a push. And like Robbie Ray’s clean six innings to begin Tuesday, Greinke didn’t sputter early.
Greinke outdueled Giants ace Madison Bumgarner, who himself went seven frames and struck out eight but allowed two runs in the top of the seventh.
As slugger Paul Goldschmidt continues to put up sub-standard numbers with a .218 average and A.J. Pollock continues to be missed, others have taken it upon themselves to produce.
Third baseman Jake Lamb’s hot bat kept Arizona alive Monday with a game-tying home run in the ninth frame. He only saw duty as a pinch-hitter Wednesday but recorded a double in his only at-bat, extending his hitting streak to four games.
Similarly, outfielder Yasmany Tomas extended his streak to six games with a seventh-inning single before catcher Welington Castillo blasted a two-run shot on a 0-2 count against Bumgarner.
Castillo, by the way, had been in a season-beginning slump himself. He’s batting .213 thus far but has all three home runs and five RBI on the year in the past five games.
“Both pitchers were spot-on,” Arizona manager Chip Hale told reporters. “It took one pitch that Bumgarner left in the zone for us to hit.
“Zack felt really good. He used his curveball tonight more than we’ve seen him use it. Starting to get on that roll, you want to get some wins under your belt.”
San Francisco got on the board with a seventh-inning run, but after Greinke left the game in what he said was his strongest performance yet — he also recorded a single at the plate — closer Brad Ziegler allowed a one-out double to Matt Duffy in the ninth. After Duffy advanced to third on a ground-out, Ziegler struck out Trevor Brown to put the finishing touches on the game.
Through 2.1 innings, the fatigued bullpen of Ziegler, Tyler Clippard and Andrew Chafin looked strong — and got another breather.
“When we’ve done just close to what we’re supposed to do,” Greinke said of the D-backs’ starting pitchers, the bullpen has “done perfect,” the starter added.
Leave the final word to Ziegler, who spent the few hours before his big save enjoying the show.
“You mention Zack and Bum, they were freakin’ awesome to watch. It was fun to sit back and watch it for a while,” the closer said on FOX Sports Arizona. “A lot of times pitching matchups get built up and one guy will end up not living up to the billing. Tonight was the opposite.”