He battled Arizona ace Zack Greinke in a matchup between former Cy Young Award winners. He navigated through three errors and his own command issues. But Arrieta competed and kept the score close, setting up Aaron Altherr's game-winning three-run home run in the sixth inning. Arrieta threw a season-high 107 pitches, more than any Phillies starter has thrown this season, putting Philadelphia in position to win a series on Thursday against the team with the best record in the National League, in a game that will stream exclusively on Facebook Live.
"Any time you beat him, it's a good night," Arrieta said.
It's not the first time Arrieta has topped Greinke, either. Arrieta edged Greinke for the 2015 National League Cy Young Award, too. He went 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA as a member the Cubs. Greinke went 19-3 with a 1.66 ERA with the Dodgers. Neither had their best stuff on Wednesday with their new clubs, but both competed.
"It was a grind," Arrieta said.
Paul Goldschmidt reached base on Maikel Franco's throwing error to start the fourth inning. Two batters later, Arrieta walked Daniel Descalso to load the bases with no outs. Arrieta then walked Chris Owings to score the tying run.
Arrieta heard a few boos.
"Yeah, I mean, who likes a bases-loaded walk?" he said. "I would have booed it, too."
Arrieta allowed his second unearned run in the sixth, when J.P. Crawford's throwing error again put Goldschmidt on base to start the inning. Andrew Knapp's throwing error on a stolen-base attempt got Goldschmidt to third. Goldschmidt scored on Descalso's sacrifice fly to hand Arizona a 3-2 lead.
"That's going to happen," Arrieta said. "Trying to instill in the guys on this team that regardless of whether or not they make an error in a big situation or a blowout game, it's part of the job description of a starting pitcher to pick those guys up and tell them after the fact, 'Hey, I've got you.'"
Carlos Santana doubled and Odubel Herrera walked to put runners on first and second with one out in the sixth when Altherr stepped to the plate. Greinke threw Altherr a 1-1 slider for a ball. He followed with another slider.
"I was kind of sitting on offspeed, out over [the plate]," Altherr said.
"I'd rather not say," Altherr said, smiling. "I'll keep my thoughts to myself on that one."
Altherr crushed the 2-1 pitch. The ball sailed over the fence in center field to hand the Phillies a 5-3 lead. After a terribly slow start, Altherr has six hits and one walk in his last 12 plate appearances.
"It was not perfectly away, and it was too high," Greinke said about the pitch. "It wasn't very good, and he took a really good swing on it."
Arrieta returned to pitch a perfect seventh.
"I thought he was good and bad in spurts," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "I know he lost command there, but in typical Jake Arrieta fashion, he made pitches when he had to. When his back is against the wall, he gets a little bit tougher, a little bit sharper. He goes out there in his final inning at 90-some-odd pitches and throws a really quick, easy inning when his team needed him the most. It just speaks volumes about him and the stuff he has."
Said Phillies manager Gabe Kapler: "That's one thing we lean on. When we look out there, it's like, 'Oh, that guy won a Cy Young Award.' And there's a reason for it. It's not just because he's exceptionally talented physically. He's gifted mentally. He's strong-minded. When the game gets a little bit tough, he just gets a little bit tougher."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Stylings of Santana: Santana went 2-for-4 with an RBI. He is hitting .286 (6-for-21) with one double, five walks, five strikeouts and an .825 OPS in his last six games. His fielder's choice in the first inning scored Cesar Hernandez from third base to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. He singled to advance Hernandez to third base in the third. Hernandez later scored on a sacrifice fly to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead. Santana's double to open the sixth started the rally that lead to Altherr's homer.
SOUND SMART Herrera singled in the first inning to reach base safely in 25 consecutive games. It is the longest active streak in the big leagues.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS Arrieta walked consecutive batters to load the bases and score a run in the fourth inning to tie the game. Jarrod Dyson then dropped a bunt down in front of the mound. Arrieta fielded the ball and flipped it home to beat A.J. Pollock to the plate to keep the game tied, 2-2.
HE SAID IT "I think he smelled it. He understands the big moment. They were flashing his stats with runners in scoring position up on the scoreboard. I felt like the crowd really got into it when he came up in that moment. He was really sitting back and waiting for the ball to get deep. That's a really important thing for a hitter to do there. See the ball a long time. We knew when it left the bat that it was screaming. We just weren't sure if it was going to over the wall. Obviously, it cleared it by a significant margin. We were all pretty fired up in the dugout." -- Kapler, on Altherr
UP NEXT Phillies right-hander Ben Lively (0-1, 4.64 ERA) pitches Thursday afternoon's series finale at 1:05 ET against the D-backs at Citizens Bank Park, exclusively on Facebook Live. Lively slowed his pace on the mound in last week's start against the Pirates, allowing just one run in six innings. Matt Koch starts for Arizona.