Alex Avila had two hits tonight. He almost tripled his wRC+ with the performance. But what’s even better is Avila knows how to get the best of Zack Godley, which is even more important for the Diamondbacks going forward. Coming into tonight’s game, Godley’s ERA is almost a full two runs lower when Avila is behind the dish and tonight was no exception to that, with Godley pitching his 3rd straight good game. In fact, Avila receives all current starting pitchers well, so if you complain whenever you see Avila in the lineup, you’re going to see Avila a lot more.
There’s more to this D-backs team than Alex Avila, so let’s celebrate that. Jon Jay continued his amazing performance since coming over, leading off with a ground-rule double to left. Paul Goldschmidt walked, and Peralta grounded into a fielders choice, so runners were on the corners with 1 out. Daniel Descalso hit a sac fly to right, scoring Jay. Ketel Marte followed with a 2-run homer to right, givng the D-backs a quick 3-0 lead.
The Pirates were quiet in their half inning, with Godley allowing just a single with 3 weak grounders scattered throughout the inning.
The offense continued their assault, as Nick Ahmed double and Dyson singled to put runners on the corners. Godley sacrificed, moving Dyson to scoring position. Jay continued his hot streak, doubling home both runs and Goldy singled, scoring Jon Jay for a 6-0 lead.
Godley allowed a 2-out walk to Polanco, but that was erased with a Mercer strike out to end the inning.
The D-backs finished their quick outburst to begin the game with an Alex Avila 2-run homer, pushing the lead to 8-0 D-backs. That was it for the offense for a long while after Steven Brault again came in on relief and was good enough. He might’ve walked 4 batters but he kept the D-backs scoreless. Richard Rodriguez threw 2 scoreless innings himself and Michael Feliz allowed a double to Avila in the 9th to give the D-backs their 9th run of the game.
The Pirates never gave up, so kudos to them. They scored in the 4th, after Marte walked and moved up to second on a grounder. Cervelli singled to right, scoring Marte to put the Pirates on the board, 8-1 D-backs. Godley shut the Pirates down in the 5th, going 1-2-3.
The Pirates finally got to Godley in the 6th, with Austin Meadows leading off with a single. Marte doubled off the wall in center to score Meadows. After a wild pitch, Colin Moran hit a sac fly, to score the Pirates 3rd and final run of the game, 8-3 D-backs.
Godley’s night was over after that, and he was good. He allowed 4 hits, 3 walks, 3 runs (2 earned) and 5 strikeouts. Now the Pirates aren’t the most amazing hitting team in the world, but it’s been a good run for Godley his last three times out.
The Diamondbacks bullpen was great in relief, with Fernando Salas, Jorge de la Rosa, and Jake Barrett combining for 3 innings of shutout ball. de la Rosa ran into trouble in the 9th, with the Pirates getting the bases loaded but Barrett shut the door, striking out Elias Diaz to end the game.
☆☆☆ - Ketel Marte (2 for 5, 3R, 2RBI, 1HR) +17,3% WPA
☆☆ - Jon Jay (2 for 4, 2R, 2RBI) +12.3% WPA
☆ - David Peralta (1 for 4) -2.9% WPA
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This was the first of 4 games the D-backs will have with the Pirates and if it means anything, the series is off to a good start. Come back tomorrow at the same time for Game 2.