Chris Archer not sharp in return from injury; Pirates fall to Diamondbacks
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, on Wednesday.
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.”
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 32⁄3 innings, allowing six earned runs on four hits with four walks and a wild pitch.
“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.
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 72⁄3 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 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 411⁄3 innings. He also raised his scoreless innings streak against the Pirates to 211⁄3 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.
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. Josh Bell got two hits for the Pirates, extending his career-high hitting streak to 15 games.
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.
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.
Note: Pirates RHP Keone Kela (shoulder) could throw off a mound in the next few days.