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Three times in their last four games, Arizona has made an opponent pay and pay and pay for a blunder here or a miscue there.
The Diamondbacks did it again Tuesday, when they took advantage of three throwing errors in a six-run first inning for the impetus needed for a 13-8 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Chase Field. The game was not decided until Jon Jay’s three-run homer in the seventh inning, but the decisive first inning helped them build an 8-0 lead.
“Those are some of the characteristics of a good team, that when they sniff a little blood, they are going to go out there and execute,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “When you get second chances in this game, you have to take advantage. Our guys are ready for that.
“We talk about them (opponents) being in their most vulnerable state when they are making mistakes, and we have to be ready. It’s not a good feeling when you are on the (other) side of it and it is not going well. But when you are executing and fighting back a little bit, it is very gratifying.”
Arizona right-hander Zack Greinke, who has lost only one of his last 25 starts at Chase Field, will oppose Pirates right-hander Jameson Taillon in the final game of the series Wednesday.
The Pirates have lost eight straight series, and a failure to execute has hurt in the first two games of this series. They blew a 5-0 lead entering the seventh inning in a 9-5 loss Monday, when the Diamondbacks combined timely hitting and extra benefits, including hit batter, an infield error, two wild pitches and a balk.
First baseman Josh Bell and second baseman Josh Harrison had throwing errors and pitcher Trevor Williams made an errant pickoff throw in the first inning Tuesday around two singles and Ketel Marte’s two-out, two-run triple. Five of the six runs were unearned.
“We didn’t handle the ball like we needed to handle the ball,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “We weren’t able to execute defensively the way we needed to execute defensively. We’ve got work to do. We are not playing at the level we are capable of playing.”
Arizona scored six runs in the eighth inning of a 12-7 victory at Colorado on Saturday, capitalizing on a double-error by reliever Bryan Shaw early in the inning. Only one of those six runs was earned.
“That’s what you have to do [url=http://www.officialpenguinsproshop.com/authentic-adidas-conor-sheary-jersey]Authentic Conor Sheary Jersey[/url] ,” said Jay, who had his first three hits in his fifth game with the Diamondbacks on Tuesday. “When you have chances, you have to make the most out of the opportunities. We’ve been able to do that the last couple of days, and we just have to keep it going.
“I think that’s the mentality they have here. I saw that last year playing on the other side. That’s just the mentality you have to have.”
The Diamondbacks have scored 51 runs in their five-game winning streak, with heavy contributions from Paul Goldschmidt and Marte. Goldschmidt is hitting .477 with five homers and 12 RBIs in the last 11 games, with six multi-hit games. Marte is hitting .389 with 11 extra-base hits and 11 RBIs in the last 11. He hit his NL-leading seventh triple Tuesday.
Greinke (5-4, 3.53 ERA) has won his last two decisions and is 3-2 with a 2.96 ERA and a .229 opponents’ batting average since beating the Dodgers at Chase Field on April 30. He is undefeated at home this season, going 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA in seven starts while continuing the success he had at home last year. Greinke was 13-1 with a 2.87 ERA in 18 home starts in 2017.
Greinke took a no-hitter into the eighth inning of a 2-1 victory over Pittsburgh at Chase Field last season, losing it when Gregory Polanco led off with a homer down the right-field line. Greinke struck out 11 and walked one in that game, his lone start against the Pirates last season. He is 7-3 with a 4.59 ERA in 11 career starts against the Pirates, about half of those games coming when he was with Milwaukee in 2011-12.
Taillon (3-5, 4.08) has been effective for the most part, but a few rocky outings this season caused his ERA to jump over 4.00. He has given up three runs or fewer in 10 of his 13 starts, but has given up five, seven and six in the other three.
After winning his first two decisions and giving up two earned runs in his first 20 2/3 innings, Taillon is 1-5 with a 5.36 ERA. He has not faced the Diamondbacks in his three seasons.
HOUSTON — With shortstop Carlos Correa battling what was described as back stiffness, Astros manager A.J. Hinch opted to keep Correa out of the lineup Tuesday against Toronto.
Correa, batting .268 with 13 home runs and 49 RBIs, missed his eighth game of the season. Hinch is an advocate of resting his primary regulars and with Houston playing a day game Wednesday following their 7-0 victory Tuesday night, he opted to give Correa a break with the club also facing a grueling stretch of play over the coming weeks.
“We’re playing 23 out of 24 days. We’re in the midst of the grind of the season before the All-Star break and I’m always looking for a day off [url=http://www.officialpenguinsproshop.com/authentic-adidas-derick-brassard-jersey]Derick Brassard Jersey[/url] ,” Hinch said. “We’ve talked about rest for the better part of the last couple of weeks. There’s another day coming probably for him and there’s probably another day off for George (Springer), maybe even one for Jose (Altuve) before the break. All of that added up, it made for an easy (decision) not to play him.”
Left-hander Dallas Keuchel (4-8, 3.90 ERA) will start the series finale for the Astros (53-28).
Keuchel posted his second consecutive start without allowing an earned run on June 22 against the Kansas City Royals, surrendering six hits and two walks with six strikeouts over six innings. He is 3-0 with a 3.62 ERA over four career starts against the Blue Jays, last facing Toronto on May 15, 2015, and allowing four runs on eight hits and three walks over six innings in an 8-4 home victory.
Right-hander Marco Estrada (4-7, 4.48 ERA) will start the rubber match for Toronto (37-42). Estrada has pitched exceptionally this month, going 2-1 with a 1.75 ERA and 26 strikeouts over four starts and 25 2/3 innings while limiting opposing batters to a .510 OPS. He is 2-0 with a 2.96 ERA over 12 career appearances (six starts) against Houston.
Blue Jays All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson experienced a setback while rehabbing the left calf injury that landed him on the 10-day disabled list May 29. Donaldson was preparing to play in a rehab game in Florida and sustained an injury while taking ground balls. An MRI revealed an acute strain of the left calf, and Donaldson will be re-evaluated in three weeks.
Donaldson was trending toward a return to action, perhaps as soon as this weekend against the Detroit Tigers. He has suffered through a largely lost season, logging 36 games with five home runs and 16 RBIs. Donaldson missed his 25th consecutive game Tuesday and 43rd overall this season, with the Blue Jays dropping to 21-22 without him in their lineup.
Donaldson, a free agent following the season, could be a trade chip at the non-waiver deadline next month, but his injury situation leaves that immediate future murky at best.
“The previous week we thought there was a chance,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “He was moving along fine and then something happened. What are you going to do?
“It’s been a frustrating year for him. He’s actually hanging in there OK considering. But he’s frustrated.”