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J.D. cracks Lester as D-backs drop Cubs

August 12, 2017

PHOENIX -- The D-backs acquired J.D. Martinez prior to the Trade Deadline hoping he would give them a boost against left-handed pitching. Martinez did just that on Saturday, hitting a key RBI double in four-run sixth inning to spark the D-backs to a 6-2 victory over the Cubs and snap

PHOENIX -- The D-backs acquired J.D. Martinez prior to the Trade Deadline hoping he would give them a boost against left-handed pitching. Martinez did just that on Saturday, hitting a key RBI double in four-run sixth inning to spark the D-backs to a 6-2 victory over the Cubs and snap a three-game losing streak.
"Overall, it was a nice win for us," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "We've been grinding for the past couple of days, and for us to get that type of an effort by the entire team, it was a good feeling."
The D-backs took advantage of defensive miscues by the Cubs and added an inside-the-park home run by David Peralta in the eighth. The loss, combined with St. Louis' 6-5 win over Milwaukee, dropped the Cubs into a tie with the Cardinals for first place in the National League Central. The D-backs moved into a tie with the Rockies for the top NL Wild Card spot, 4 1/2 games ahead of the Cubs and Cardinals.

Left-handers Jonathan Lester and Patrick Corbin were locked in a pitchers' duel through five innings before Adam Rosales led off the sixth with an infield single. He moved to second on A.J. Pollock's groundout, and the Cubs intentionally walked Paul Goldschmidt, who had a three-homer game last week at Wrigley Field, to set up the double play.
"I would do it again and again and again," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said of walking Goldschmidt. "It was the right thing to do, and it just didn't work."
Forcing an opposing manager to make that decision is one of the reasons that Lovullo likes having Martinez batting behind Goldschmidt.
"It's like the lesser of two evils, which one are you going to choose?" Lovullo said. "And they're both very good hitters on top of being run producers. We feel like getting J.D. sitting right in back of Paul has lengthened our lineup and gives us a lot of versatility and a lot of different ways to score some runs."

Martinez doubled to score Rosales, Goldschmidt then scored on a throwing error by Javier Baez and Brandon Drury capped the inning with a two-run double to left-center.
"We have to make that play at the plate -- that's routine," Maddon said of Baez's throw.

Lester (8-7) was saddled his first loss since July 9, while Corbin (9-11) snapped a two-game losing streak.
Kristopher Bryant knocked in both of the Cubs' runs in the ninth off Fernando Rodney, who allowed four consecutive two-out singles. David Hernandez, another Trade Deadline acquisition for the D-backs, entered to record the final out and earn his second save of the year and first since returning to Arizona.

Stranded: The Cubs looked poised for a big fifth inning when Baez and Alex Avila led off with back-to-back singles and Lester sacrificed them up a base. Corbin, though, got Albert Almora Jr. to hit a grounder to short and Ketel Marte's throw to the plate was just in time to get Baez. The Cubs challenged the call, but after a brief review it was confirmed. After a walk to Bryant loaded the bases, Anthony Rizzo hit a drive to right that Martinez caught in front of the wall for the final out.
"I think those are the focus moments that we expect out of our guys," Lovullo said. "They go out and understand what they need to do in picking up teammates or picking themselves up to make pitches and Patrick did that all night tonight."

Finally, a lead: The four-run sixth inning gave the D-backs their first lead since they led the Dodgers in the sixth inning Wednesday night. In between, the D-backs went 26 innings either tied or playing from behind.
"We had a really good game," Peralta said. "We came back and and everything. I mean, they have one of the best pitchers in Lester, and to be able to score runs against him was pretty good."

The last time the Cubs allowed an inside-the-park home run was April 7, 2016, at Chase Field when Jean Segura did so. That also was when Kyle Schwarber tore two ligaments in his left knee when he collided with William Fowler trying to catch the ball.
"It hit that crease," Maddon said of Peralta's homer. "It went into this like Bermuda triangle there. The good part about it is that Schwarber did not run into anyone. There's a happy ending." More >>
The game ended when Benjamin Zobrist was called out on strikes, stranding two runners. The ball from Hernandez was low, and both Zobrist and Maddon talked to plate umpire Mark Wegner about it as the umpires walked off the field.
"I really believe Mark knows he messed it up," Maddon said. "I thought he called a great game. I don't think anybody feels worse than he does right now. It was a ball, obviously. I'm not going to rail on him. I think he's a very good umpire."

Zobrist said he was "confused and shocked" about the call.
"I said, 'What did we have on that?' and [Wegner] said, 'I had it for a strike,'" Zobrist said. "I said, 'You can't end the game on that.' He goes, 'I had it as a strike.'"
Zobrist has lobbied for an electronic strike zone for a couple of years but doesn't expect any changes soon.
"Umpires are human beings, they're going to make mistakes," Zobrist said. "It's a tough situation for that to happen. I think he'll look at it and not be too happy either."
Cubs:Jacob Arrieta will close the Cubs' road trip on Sunday. The right-hander is coming off his fifth straight quality start, a win over the Giants. He's 4-2 with a 2.18 ERA in seven starts since July 2. First pitch was scheduled for 3:10 p.m. CT from Chase Field.
D-backs:Zack Godley gets the start Sunday in the series finale at 1:10 p.m. MST. Godley has pitched well of late, going 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA over his past three starts. One of those starts came against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Aug. 2, when he tossed six shutout innings. Preview >>
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Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for since

  1. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter

@CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast.