Pirates feel the heat, fall 11-1
PHOENIX — Zack Greinke was cruising along when he felt something wrong. Taking no chances, the Arizona Diamondbacks ace called it a day.
Greinke pitched shutout ball into the eighth inning before exiting with abdominal tightness and the Diamondbacks routed Chris Archer and the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-1.
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said Greinke would get an MRI on Friday. Arizona is off Thursday.
“It’s not too bad,” Greinke said. “Just didn’t seem like a good idea to try to push it.”
Greinke said the current situation seems less serious than the left oblique injury that cost him six weeks in 2016, though he thought about that at first.
“I just knew something was wrong and didn’t want to take the chance of hurting it more,” he said. “At first I thought it was an oblique thing, but it seems to be in a different spot.”
Greinke (6-1) allowed four hits in 7 2/3 innings, then walked off the mound with a trainer with a 2-2 count on Pirates reliever Chris Stratton. Greinke said he felt his injury during that at-bat.
“I’m always optimistic about things,” Lovullo said, admitting that if not for the injury he considered allowing Greinke to go after a complete game.
Greinke struck out five, walked none and kept up his recent run of success — he has a 1.09 ERA in his last six starts, allowing five earned runs in 41 1/3 innings. He also raised his scoreless innings streak against the Pirates to 21 1/3 innings.
“This is the most consistent that I’ve seen him. It’s angle of the fastball. It’s throwing fastballs to both sides of the plate, and he’s got three secondary pitches that he can throw at any time,” Lovullo said. “We get spoiled by him. We know that he’s extremely locked in right now.”
Blake Swihart hit a two-run, inside-the-park home run in the eighth, and Eduardo Escobar and Adam Jones also homered for the Diamondbacks, who went 6-1 against the Pirates this season. Jarrod Dyson had two hits, scored three runs and stole two bases.
Melky Cabrera drove in the Pirates’ run with a two-out single in the ninth.
Pirates pitcher Chris Archer’s first start since April 26, after which he went on the 10-day injured list with right thumb pain, didn’t go well. He walked the bases loaded in the first inning, and all three runners scored.
Archer (1-3) lasted just 3 2-3 innings, allowing six earned runs on four hits with four walks and a wild pitch.
Dyson came home on Ketel Marte’s soft single, Escobar scored on an error by third baseman Colin Moran and Nick Ahmed added a sacrifice fly to put Arizona ahead 3-0.
Archer rallied to strike out the side in the second inning, but the Diamondbacks plated four runs in the fourth, all with two outs.
“Poor. Very, very poor. I just didn’t have good command at all,” Archer said. “I don’t really know what to say other than that.
“They exploited my lack of control,” Archer added, saying his thumb did not affect him.
After Dyson’s single, Escobar hit his ninth homer of the season. Jones’ ninth homer curled inside the left-field foul pole and into the Diamondbacks bullpen in the fifth off Stratton.
“Home runs happen, but when you can score runs on some base hits, that’s when you know you’re offense is clicking,” Jones said.
Escobar doubled in Dyson for his third RBI of the game in the eighth. Swihart hit a long fly and when the ball caromed off the angled wall in right-center and eluded two outfielders, he scored standing up for his second career inside-the-park homer.
Josh Bell got two hits for the Pirates, extending his career-high hitting streak to 15 games.
Pirates: Archer’s return from injury led to the Pirates optioning RHP Clay Holmes to Triple-A Indianapolis. … OF Corey Dickerson (shoulder) is on track to throw long toss as soon as this weekend. … RHP Keone Kela (shoulder) could throw off a mound in the next few days.
Diamondbacks: OF David Peralta left the game after five innings with tightness on the right side of his upper back, replaced by Swihart in left field. Lovullo said he hopes some training room therapy will take care of Peralta’s issue. … RHP Taijuan Walker (elbow surgery) was scheduled to pitch four innings in an extended spring training game Wednesday at the team’s facility in nearby Scottsdale. But he threw just 17 pitches due to right shoulder soreness and was removed as a precaution, then had an MRI later Wednesday.
Pirates: Pittsburgh begins a four-game series at San Diego on Thursday, with RHP Trevor Williams (2-1, 3.40 ERA) scheduled to start the opener. He’s pitched at least six innings in each of his eight starts this season.
Diamondbacks: RHP Merrill Kelly (3-4, 4.70 ERA) gets the ball at home on Friday against the San Francisco Giants, the opener of a three-game series. It’ll be his first career start against the Giants.