D-backs shake up lineup, rout Cubs in 1-hitter

Walker, Owings, Mathis homer to back Ray's 8-K gem

September 20th, 2018

PHOENIX -- D-backs manager Torey Lovullo knew what people would think when they saw his starting lineup for Wednesday night's game against the Cubs.

Mainstays , , , Steven Souza Jr. and A.J. Pollock were out. In their places were , , , Chris Owings and .

"I know when you look at the lineup today, you're probably thinking we're throwing in the towel and I want to get a look at guys," Lovullo said. "That's not the case at all."

Lovullo looked like a genius as the D-backs scored four runs in the first inning and didn't look back, backing a Robbie Ray-led one-hitter en route to a 9-0 win over the Cubs at Chase Field.

It was a windfall for a team that had scored just one run in each of the first two games of the series.

Vargas, Kivlehan, Walker, Owings and Jay combined to go 9-for-19 with a pair of homers, two triples and six RBIs.

"We were just joking around that it was like the [D-backs Triple-A] Reno Aces going out there or whatever," Kivlehan said. "We were just trying to keep it simple, not put too much pressure on ourselves. We knew we were facing Cole Hamels and they were playing all their guys so just go out there and have some fun."

With the D-backs trailing the first-place Dodgers by six games in the National League West with just 10 games left on the schedule, Lovullo wanted to shake things up a bit. Arizona had lost four straight games and nine of its last 11, and Lovullo was looking for a spark.

"This lineup was prepared and excited and I just felt like they were going to go out and execute an energized game plan," Lovullo said. "That's really what I was looking for. Nothing against the guys who have been here doing it all year long. You know, everybody has children here, I'm sure. You look into your kids' eyes after they study for a test and they come home and they don't do their job. You know that look, you can tell what's on their mind. I've seen a few of those looks from our guys. I just thought it was time to give them a rest."

While fans lit up Twitter with memes about white flags being raised, Cubs manager Joe Maddon saw something different.

"I thought it was a smart move when I saw it," Maddon said before the game. "The fact they have a day off tomorrow, obviously, they're a little bit down right now, but why not regenerate their guys? I know one thing, the guys who are playing tonight, spearheaded by Jon Jay, you'll see a great effort out of this group tonight. A lot of energy, I would anticipate."

That's exactly what happened.

Friday, though, when the Rockies come to town to open a three-game series, don't expect to see this lineup out there again.

"You'll see the main guys back in there," Lovullo said. "I don't think Cole Hamels had a chance to prepare. He had been thinking for the past four days about Goldschmidt and Peralta and Pollock and all of a sudden he's getting some new names and he had to rush through their whole program. They did their job. They got up and socked them in the nose. That's what I was looking for."


Big blow by Walker: If there were any lingering doubts about Lovullo's lineup they disappeared when Walker hit his three-run homer in the first inning. That gave the D-backs the shot of energy Lovullo was hoping for and set the tone for the rest of the night.

"What can you say?" Lovullo said. "You get the understudies in the ballgame, they bring a certain energy to the start of a game and we end up playing downhill baseball with that big three-run home run by Walker. I was really proud of the way they came out and they were ready to perform today."


With his two triples, Kivlehan became the eighth player in team history to record multiple triples in a single game and the first since on April 2 against the Dodgers.

"I heard I tied it," Kivlehan said. "So that's pretty cool. That's lucky right there. I don't know if I've ever done that twice in one game, but I'll take it."


"It was a lot of fun. For him to put the faith in us and for us to deliver, it speaks volumes to the trust he has in us and this team and the character that we have." -- Kivlehan


After a day off Thursday, the D-backs open a three-game series with the Rockies at 6:40 MST on Friday night at Chase Field. Zack Greinke (14-10, 3.20 ERA) starts the opener just 5 2/3 innings shy of reaching 200 innings for the eighth time in his career. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 2.77 ERA in four starts this season against the Rockies, who will counter with (12-10, 3.96).