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After 5-homer outing, D-backs seek encore vs. Pirates

Sportsnaut
Jun 3, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Ketel Marte (middle) celebrates his two-run home run with first baseman Christian Walker (53) against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the fifth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The visiting Arizona Diamondbacks might not be able to replicate their winning formula Saturday in the middle game of a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, but it sure worked in the opener.

Arizona hit five homers, led by Alek Thomas’ two, in an 8-6 win Friday.

Or, as Thomas put it simply to Bally Sports Arizona, “We got good pitches to hit, and we took advantage of them.”

The win kicked off the Diamondbacks’ 10-game trip against three fellow sub-.500 teams. Arizona is 9-6 in its past 15 road games.

“I feel like we got off on the right foot,” Thomas told Bally.

The Diamondbacks have won three of their past four games overall and have a hot hand in second baseman Ketel Marte, who hit a two-run homer Friday to extend his career-best hitting streak to 15 games (21-for-55, .382).

The result snapped Pittsburgh’s season-best three-game winning streak. Those three victories came in a road sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers, something the Pirates said gave them a lot of confidence they hoped to carry through to a series against a team that, like them, sits a little lower in the standings.

Pirates manager Derek Shelton noted there still could be some momentum coming out of the Friday loss after what happened in the ninth.

Pittsburgh trailed 8-3, but before an out was recorded, Ke’Bryan Hayes hit a three-run homer.

That prompted Arizona to bring in closer Mark Melancon — perhaps affecting his availability later in the series. Bryan Reynolds kept things going with a single to put the tying run at the plate before Melancon retired the next three batters.

“We were in a position to tie the game, and we were in a position where they had to bring their closer into the game,” Shelton said. “That’s a small victory.

“The biggest thing is these guys continue to battle, regardless of the score, regardless of the situation.”

On Saturday, Arizona right-hander Zach Davies (2-3, 4.84 ERA) is slated to go against Pittsburgh right-hander Roansy Contreras (1-0, 2.55).

Davies, 29, has allowed no more than three runs in seven of his 10 starts. He is coming off a loss against the Dodgers on Sunday, when he gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings.

Davies is 6-6 with a 5.04 ERA in 18 career starts against Pittsburgh.

Contreras, 22, will make his third start and sixth appearance of the season.

The rookie did not earn a decision in either of his previous starts despite strong outings — five scoreless innings against the Colorado Rockies on May 24 and five innings of two-run ball against the San Diego Padres on Sunday.

His latest outing was marred by Jurickson Profar’s two-run homer in the fifth, one of five hits he gave up. He walked one and struck out three.

“I love to compete,” Contreras said. “I love the adrenaline rush that we get up there. … I just need to learn from the experiences. I feel like that’s what’s going to help me continue to get better and make sure that I’m helping the team in every way that I can.”

Contreras has never faced Arizona.

–Field Level Media