Arizona Diamondbacks guarantee at least a split of the quick two game series with the win
“Beef Mode” has been happening lately for the Arizona Diamondbacks offense.
Coming into Tuesday’s game against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park, Diamondbacks catcher Welington Castillo was hitting .352 with 17 RBI in 54 at-bats during the month of August. In 87 at-bats since the all-star break, Castillo is hitting .299 with 24 RBI.
As the old saying goes, “when your’re hot, you’re hot.” Right now, the Arizona backstop can not stop driving in runs, and the same script continued last night.
Having already scored two runs effectively putting Johnny Cueto on the ropes, the Diamondbacks had the bases loaded with one out, and couldn’t afford to miss an opportunity to extend a 2-1 lead in the fifth Tuesday night.
After Paul Goldschmidt struck out swinging on a fastball tailing off the outside corner, Castillo delivered the at-bat of the ball game.
With Denard Span playing deep in center field, Castillo dunked a two-run single in front of him scoring Jean Segura from third and Michael Bourn from second giving Arizona a 4-1 advantage. This chased Cueto from the ball game after just 4.2 innings.
Delivering with the bases loaded has not been a strength of this team in 2016. Prior to Goldschmidt’s at-bat, the Diamondbacks were hitting .219 as a team with the sacks full this year.
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Cueto was cruising through the first four innings, but four full counts and three walks did the right-hander in. He had allowed just two runs in his past 17 innings prior to the fifth.
“It was a bad inning,” said Cueto. “”I don’t know what happened.”
It was a different story in the early going for Diamondbacks starter Zack Greinke. It was clear that he didn’t have his best stuff.
He was over the 80 pitch mark with one out in the fourth, but he made a nice play on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Cueto to nab Hunter Pence at third and that ended the threat.
Greinke gave up another run in the sixth. With one out, Joe Panik ripped a ground-rule double into right-center field scoring Pence. But, he was able to limit the damage with weak contact.
“I couldn’t strike anyone out but was able to get some weak contact, and that was fine,” Greinke said. “They usually have tough at-bats against me.”
He only threw 66 of his 108 pitches for strikes, but a 1-2-3 fifth inning allowed him to give his team six innings of two run baseball, one earned.
“Zack threw a lot of pitches, but he was able to suck it up,” Arizona Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said. “We battled just enough offensively.”
At the plate, he drew a pivotal walk in the fifth, and singled in the sixth.
“When he pitches, we’ve got nine batters in the lineup,” Hale said.
It was the first time in his career that he struck out one or fewer batters, and picked up the win. Greinke improves to 12-4 on the season. After a rocky start in Boston, Greinke has a 3.32 ERA in his last three starts.
Greinke is 4-0 with a 1.66 ERA in six starts at AT&T Park. His .900 career win percentage (9-1) against San Francisco is the best of any pitcher with at least 10 career starts against them.
Edwin Escobar induced a double play in the seventh and eighth innings to keep the Giants off the board.
In the ninth, Daniel Hudson walked the high wire and gave up a run, but he notched his second save of the season sealing a 4-3 win.
Coming into Monday’s game, the Giants had won 9 of the past 10 meetings between the two clubs after the Diamondbacks had won the first four.