Lamb's blast long time coming in D-backs' win

July 7th, 2019

PHOENIX — ’s first home run in more than a year could signal the return of another offensive threat to help the D-backs the rest of the way.

A day after Christian Walker’s first career two-homer game, Lamb had two hits, including a two-run, opposite-field homer to help the D-backs to a 4-2 victory over the Rockies, secured when Greg Holland struck out Ryan McMahon as the potential tying run in the ninth.

For Lamb, who hit 59 homers in 2016-17, it could mark the end of a frustrating, injury-marred two seasons while lengthening the lineup in the absence of David Peralta, who was placed on the injured list Friday but is expected to return from a shoulder injury shortly after the All-Star break.

Lamb played only 56 games last year because of left shoulder injuries that required season-ending surgery, and he missed almost 12 weeks this season with a strained left quadriceps before returning June 26.

It has not been easy for the 2017 All-Star.

“It’s been really, really, really, really difficult,” Lamb said. “But you know what? You only have two options. You can complain about it and whine about it and play the guilt game or play the ‘why me?’ I’ve just been trying to be as positive as possible though all the ups and downs.

“I know what kind of player I can be, and I think the guys on the team know what kind of player I can be. It takes patience, and I think eventually I’m going to be back to that. My body feels great as of right now, and the swing is getting really close. I loved all of my at-bats tonight.”

Lamb drew an eight-pitch walk in the second inning and drove a fly ball to the base of the fence in right-center field in the fourth before homering to knock Jon Gray out of the game in a three-run sixth inning that enabled Robbie Ray (6-6) to claim the victory. Lamb finished with an opposite-field single in the seventh.

Lamb had gone 133 plate appearances between homers, since taking Dan Straily deep in the first inning at Miami on June 25, 2018. It was his first homer at Chase Field since June 14, 2018.

This homer hit the yellow line at the top of the left-field fence and just out of the reach of left fielder David Dahl, who got to the fence but could not get his glove to the proper spot as the ball hit.

Lamb said getting the first homer out of the way was nice but not something he was overly concerned about.

“You start thinking about that, you put pressure on yourself,” Lamb said. “I was just trying to stay as relaxed as possible.”

Lamb has made three straight starts at third base, his normal position, after Peralta’s injury moved Ketel Marte into an everyday role in center field and pushed Eduardo Escobar from third base to second. The D-backs have realigned for defensive purposes late in the first two games of the Colorado series.

“Nice to see him get off the way he is and striking the ball extremely well,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said of Lamb. “It’s a matter of time before that sweet swing starts lining things up and he starts impacting games like he did today.

“There were a lot of tough moments that Jake walked through. There are a lot of people feeling good today, but nobody is feeling better than Jake.”