PHOENIX — While the Arizona Diamondbacks wait for Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller to start acting like, well, like Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller, fellow starter Rubby De La Rosa is beginning to make everyone take notice.
De La Rosa turned in, by far, the best performance by a D-backs starter to date.
He threw seven scoreless innings, limiting the St. Louis Cardinals to just two hits in a 3-0 victory on Throwback Thursday in front of announced crowd of 18,933 at Chase Field.
The win earned the D-backs a split of the four-game series.
De La Rosa (3-3) worked quickly and efficiently as he did in his previous outing and has now recorded back-to-back quality starts for the first time this season.
Chris Herrmann and Brandon Drury provided all the necessary offense with home runs.
Herrmann hit a two-run shot in the second inning while Drury added a solo homer in the fourth; both off Cardinals starter Michael Wacha (2-1), who is now winless in four career starts against the D-backs.
Drury also had a double and finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Coming off his best outing of the season, De La Rosa struck out a career-high 10 with at least one strikeout in each inning pitched and a pair of strikeouts in the first, second and fourth innings.
De La Rosa, who at one point had retired 10 in a row, threw a first-pitch strike to 18 of 26 batters faced.
De La Rosa shut down a Cardinals offense that had scored at least seven runs in five straight games.
Daniel Hudson and Brad Ziegler completed the shutout — just the fourth-ever against St. Louis — by pitching scoreless innings in relief with Ziegler recording his 33rd straight save, extending his club-record.
The D-backs snapped a two-game losing streak and in so doing are once again a .500 baseball team at 12-12.
They improved to 3-4 on the homestand.
The streak continues. The D-backs have now homered in nine straight games, the longest active streak in the majors. With one on and one out in the second inning, Herrmann, making his seventh start, hit his second home run of the season, depositing a 1-2 pitch into the pool area just beyond the right field fence for a 2-0 lead. Hermann appeared to be fooled by the 83-mph changeup, hesitating slightly and then reaching out across the plate to make contact.
Two innings later it was Drury’s turn to send a ball out of the ballpark and that ball left in a hurry. Drury rocketed an 89-mph cut fastball on a 2-1 offering from Wacha off the facing of the second deck in left field to extend the D-backs’ lead to 3-0 with two outs in the fourth. For Drury, it was his second home run of the homestand and third this season. It was also his second hit of the night, having dropped a double in shallow center ahead of Herrmann’s homer.
Only once this season has Jean Segura gone back-to-back games without a hit (April 9-10 against Chicago) and that remains the only time through the season’s first month. Starting at 0-for-3 going into his fourth and final at-bat of the game, Segura doubled down the left field line to lead off the eighth inning. He now has 36 hits through the team’s first 24 games, which is the most in club history, one more than Matt Williams (1999) and Danny Bautista (2004).
Six of the first seven batters of the game struck out with Segura, Jake Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt all rung up by home plate umpire Tony Randazzo in the bottom of the first inning. Each was called out on a 1-2 fastball, which touched 95-mph on the radar gun to Segura and registered 93-mph to both Lamb and Goldschmidt. By the way, Goldschmidt had a few words with Randazzo before dropping his bat and returning to the field.
Though he often makes the difficult look routine, it was the routine that appeared to be difficult for Nick Ahmed to handle in the seventh inning. With two outs, Jedd Gyorko hit a ground ball toward Ahmed, who ranged to his left a couple of steps, but as he reached down to field it, the ball caromed off his glove and out onto the outfield grass. It was Ahmed’s third error of the season and ended a run of 10 straight retired by De La Rosa.
STAT OF THE GAME
10: The number of De La Rosa strikeouts, which established a new career-high. It’s the first 10-strikeout game by a D-backs starter since Chase Anderson on Sept. 23, 2015, at the Dodgers
HE SAID IT
“That’s excellent,” manager Chip Hale said, referring to De La Rosa’s outing. “The circumstances of the series, high scoring all three games previous—obviously the last two we were on the wrong end of—and we really needed it. He threw all those pitches, like we talked about last night, with conviction.”
– De La Rosa is the first D-backs pitcher with at least seven scoreless innings and 10 strikeouts since Ian Kennedy on Sept. 19, 2011.
– Drury is now hitting .385 (15-for-39; 5-for-14 on the homestand) with five doubles, three home runs and seven RBI over his last 10 games.
– The game was played with both the roof and panels open, allowing 75-degree temperatures and a slight breeze into the ballpark.
– The D-backs paid tribute to the 2001 World Series Championship team with a 14-minute pregame video, “Building of a Champion.”
– The D-backs honored the 15th anniversary of winning the title by wearing their alternate home vest uniform worn from 1998-2006.
– As part of Throwback Thursday, World Series-participants Luis Gonzalez and Erubiel Durazo took part in the ceremonial first pitch.
For the second time this month, the D-backs will welcome in the Colorado Rockies for a three-game series.
Left-hander Robbie Ray and right-hander Tyler Chatwood are expected to take the mound in the opener on Friday, April 29. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Ray (1-0, 3.80) will be looking to bounce back from his worst outing of the season when he allowed five runs on eight hits with two walks and five strikeouts in three innings against Pittsburgh.
It marked the first time in four starts that he yielded more than two runs.
Ray made his D-backs debut against the Rockies and is 1-0 with a 2.04 ERA (4 ER in 17.2 IP) in three career starts.
Chatwood (2-2, 3.47) also struggled his last time out, throwing a season-low four innings in which he gave up three runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts in a 4-1 loss to the Dodgers.
He had pitched at least six innings in each of his first three starts.
For his career, Chatwood is a perfect 3-0 in five games, including four starts, against the D-backs.
To begin the season, the D-backs and Rockies met at Chase Field with Colorado winning two of the three games in the opening series.