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Stellar Buchholz leads D-backs, but exits early

MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

PITTSBURGH -- It should have been all good news for the D-backs on Sunday.

They beat the Pirates, 3-0, behind another outstanding outing by Clay Buchholz to sweep the four-game series at PNC Park.

View Full Game Coverage

PITTSBURGH -- It should have been all good news for the D-backs on Sunday.

They beat the Pirates, 3-0, behind another outstanding outing by Clay Buchholz to sweep the four-game series at PNC Park.

View Full Game Coverage

However, the good feelings were tempered a bit, as Buchholz was forced to leave the game after just five innings and 53 pitches due to tightness in his left side.

"We're evaluating him right now and I'll have more answers," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "We want to give him a night to just let everything calm down and evaluate him [Monday]."

Is it possible that he could be able to make his next start in five days?

"I don't know that answer," Lovullo said. "I was told it's near the oblique, the left side soreness and he'll be evaluated throughout the course of the night and tomorrow. I know Clay's very tough. He's a tough customer."

In Buchholz's mind, he will be starting the next time his turn in the rotation rolls around.

"I'm not looking to miss any time," Buchholz said. "I'm going to get to the field early the next couple days and get some treatment and work done on it and go from there. Obviously, I'm not going to put the team in any position to fail. If it doesn't feel good my start day, I'm going to let them know. I don't really anticipate that. I feel like we can get it taken care of."

Video: ARI@PIT: Buchholz discusses leaving the game

One of the reasons Buchholz is loath to miss time, and hated to even take himself out of Sunday's game, is because the right-hander has been on an impressive run since being called up from Triple-A Reno on May 20.

In his seven starts, Buchholz has allowed more than two runs just once, and Sunday, he was dialed in, retiring the first 11 batters he faced before allowing a two-out double in the fourth.

It was on the first swing of his at-bat in the top of the fifth that he first felt the side tighten.

He allowed just one hit in the fifth, but realized at that point that the smart thing to do was not to push through the discomfort.

"I've gone through things before where I've tried to get through it and pitch through it and go another inning, and that's always led me in the wrong direction," Buchholz said. "Five years, four years ago, I would have gone back out for the sixth. That's when the trouble happens, when you let the first two guys on and then you call the manager out and take yourself out of the game. I didn't want that to happen. I'll get treatment on it and everything, and I feel like I should be fine."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Setting the tone: The D-backs didn't let Pittsburgh starter Trevor Williams get his feet under him Sunday. With two outs in the first, Jake Lamb singled to right and David Peralta followed with a home run to right-center that bounced off the concourse and into the river. Statcast™ projected that the home run, Peralta's 15th of the year, travelled 425 feet.

Video: ARI@PIT: Peralta demolishes a 2-run homer to center

It was the first of two home runs for the D-backs on the day, as John Ryan Murphy hit one to lead off the second.

Video: ARI@PIT: Murphy launches a solo home run to left

"We were zeroed in on his fastball," Lovullo said. "We felt like we knew where it was going to start and where it was going to end up, and you could see a couple of guys hit the ball really well. I know that David hit a breaking ball and John Ryan lined a fastball and squared up a fastball. I thought we had a really good plan. He had pretty good stuff today. I just think we got to him early and maybe changed his game plan. He got effective in those middle innings and did a good job."

SOUND SMART
The D-backs never trailed at any point during the four-game series. One of Lovullo's favorite phrases to use comes when his team takes a lead.

"We call it 'downhill baseball,'" he said. "I don't know if there's another term for it. I'm sure there is, but that's what we use here. The fact that you can do that, it relieves a lot of stress. These guys are prepped and ready. When the first pitch of the game is thrown, they're ready to go. That's what it says to me."

Video: ARI@PIT: Lovullo discusses sweeping the Pirates

HE SAID IT
"Lights-out. He was lights-out. He was great in the 'pen. I know it was a little funky, we had that rain delay that postponed it half an hour or whatever, but it didn't seem to faze him at all. He was executing everything." -- Murphy, on Buchholz

UP NEXT
Shelby Miller returns to the mound Monday night for the first time in 14 months when the D-backs open a four-game set with the Marlins in Miami at 4:10 p.m. MST. Miller's last start was April 23, 2017, and he suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament, which ended up requiring Tommy John surgery. The Marlins will send right-hander Dan Straily to the hill. Miller nearly threw a no-hitter against the Marlins on May 17, 2015, as a member of the Braves. He ended up allowing a hit to Justin Bour with two outs in the ninth.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Clay Buchholz