Talk about picking up your pitcher. Here’s Diamondbacks’ ace Zack Greinke struggling in his third straight start at home, and seemed lost in a sea of hits and runs.
Down by three and coming to bat in the bottom of the sixth, Greinke’s night appeared doomed, and the Diamondbacks were on the verge of dropping the third game of four on their current home stand. Alas, the Diamondbacks somehow came to life, banged out nine hits including a key, 3-run homer from Jean Segura in a nine-run sixth inning, and carried Greinke off to victory. The result was a stimulating, 12-7 victory over the St Louis Cardinals before a sparse crowd of 18,208 in Chase Field.
Following two uneven starts against the Rockies and Cubs at home, Greinke seem to turn things around on the road. At San Diego on April 15, he recorded in a quality start, but received a no decision, and then won a brilliant pitching duel over the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner in San Francisco on April 20.
Back in Chase Field Monday night, Greinke seem to revert to that opening week at home, and allowed a total of seven runs before lifted after 6.2 innings. The seven runs yielded equaled his season-high of seven allowed against the Rockies on Opening Night, April 4. Greinke has allowed 18 runs in Chase Field thus far in 16.1 innings.
The victory brought the Diamondbacks back over 500 (11-10) for the season. At the same time, Arizona picked up their fourth win in their first 11 games at home, and evened the current home stand at 2-2.
“We battled back again,” said manager Chip Hale. “This team will score runs, and will score when they get ahead. We keep pushing, and they have a relentless attitude.”
From the start, Greinke appeared mediocre. The Cardinals jumped on the former Cy Young Award winner for a pair in the opening frame. After the Diamondbacks tied the score with single runs in the second and fourth, Greinke surrendered three in the fifth, and two came on a 2-run home run from Jeremy Hazelbaker. The ball hit just above the yellow marker atop the left field fence, and Hale challenged that a fan interfered with the ball. After a review. crew chief Tom Hallion ruled a home run, and Grenike slipped behind, at that point, at 5-2
As soon as Grienke fell behind, that’s when the Diamondbacks put on their rally caps. Sending 14 batters to the plate and tying the third-highest run production of any inning in franchise history, the Diamondbacks went through four Cardinal pitchers like a hot knife through butter in the inning. With nine scoring, the Diamondbacks quickly rose from the cellar to the penthouse in a hurry, and made Greinke (now 2-2, 8,16 ERA) a winner for a second time in his five starts to date.
“Getting the win is all that matters,” Greinke said. “You want to win, and I’ll take it.”
At this point, another pitcher may cause concern. When the subject is Zack Greinke and his history on the mound is nearly legendary, you keep your distance. That’s the methodology of Hale, and let Greinke be Greinke. Despite giving up a plethora of runs in his three Chase Field outings, Greinke pointed out after the Cardinals game, “there’s no reason to get upset.”
Down 5-2 in the sixth, the Diamondbacks’ come-back was as impressive to watch as it was lethal for the Cardinals to absorb. A double from Welington Castillo and a triple off the bat of David Peralta started the parade. A key hit in the inning was a slap single by Grienke in the hole between short and third with none out. That put runners on first and second, and Segura then drove a 1-2 pitch from reliever Kevin Siegrist into the left field bleachers for his fourth bomb of the season. From there, the Diamondbacks tacked on four more in the inning, and closed the scoring in the eighth on an RBI double from Rickie Weeks, Jr.
Former Cardinal Shelby Miller (0-1, 8.59 ERA) faces his old teammates in his fourth Arizona start Tuesday night. This is game two of a four-game set, and right-hander Carlos Martinez (3-0, 2.70 ERA) gets the start for St. Louis.