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Avila, D-backs bring thunder in rainy Philly

Catcher homers on 3-hit night; Dyson, Descalso also go deep
MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

PHILADELPHIA -- It wasn't like D-backs catcher Alex Avila didn't believe in himself, or didn't think he could hit. But when you're struggling night in and night out at the plate, thoughts have a way of creeping into your head that you'd just as soon push out.

Avila busted out of his season-opening slump in a big way Tuesday night as he collected three hits, including his first homer of the year, and drove home a pair in the D-backs' 8-4 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

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PHILADELPHIA -- It wasn't like D-backs catcher Alex Avila didn't believe in himself, or didn't think he could hit. But when you're struggling night in and night out at the plate, thoughts have a way of creeping into your head that you'd just as soon push out.

Avila busted out of his season-opening slump in a big way Tuesday night as he collected three hits, including his first homer of the year, and drove home a pair in the D-backs' 8-4 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

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The D-backs came into Tuesday's contest ranked 10th in the National League in runs scored, this while missing a pair of key pieces due to injury. Outfielder Steven Souza Jr. has been out all season with a strained right pectoral muscle, and third baseman Jake Lamb has played in just four games due to a sprained left AC joint.

Video: ARI@PHI: Ray, Lovullo discuss 8-4 win over Phillies

David Peralta, Paul Goldschmidt and A.J. Pollock have hit, and the D-backs have found ways to win games, but if somehow Avila were to get hot, well that lineup would get a whole lot longer and more dangerous.

Avila, who came into the game hitting .114, hit a 2-1 fastball from Vince Velasquez in the third inning way over the wall in right.

"He jumps on a fastball, a 96-mph fastball and hits it for a long home run and some really good at-bats inside of the day for him," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "Good approach, really solid, backspinning the ball in the middle of the diamond, that's what he's built on. It's just tough when you start out the season that way, it's noticeable because things are inflated or deflated. But I know he's the guy you saw today."

Video: ARI@PHI: Avila launches a mammoth homer deep to right

The D-backs banked on Avila being that guy when they signed him to a two-year, $8.25 million deal in late January.

"Obviously, you want to make a good impression on a new team," Avila said. "At the same time, though, everybody in here knows that there's a reason why they wanted me to come here. That's part of everyone understanding it's a hard game."

Avila followed up the homer with a single in the fifth and an RBI single to the gap in right-center in the sixth.

Video: ARI@PHI: Avila rips an RBI single to right

"When you have the success like that, the confidence goes up, whether you think about it or not," Avila said. "It happens kind of naturally subconsciously. It also depends on the next guy that you face. Today, I saw the ball really well. For the most part, I've been seeing it well. The combination of not putting aggressive swings on the pitches I should hit and also overthinking things, which happens in this game quite often to everybody. The thing is, you can't abandon the process, and understand that as quickly as it can go bad, it can go good, too."

Jarrod Dyson and Daniel Descalso also homered for the D-backs. Avila and Dyson got the D-backs going with back-to-back homers to open the third, and Descalso added a two-run homer in the eighth to give them a cushion.

Young fan assists on Avila, Dyson homers

Video: ARI@PHI: Descalso belts a two-run homer to right

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Peralta gets go-ahead: Peralta drove home a pair of runs with a one-out double in the fifth that put the D-backs on top, 4-3. The hit helped snap Peralta out of a mini slump. He had been hitless in his previous 10 at-bats with a walk.

"Peralta came up big and kind of broke the game open with that big hit," Lovullo said.

Video: ARI@PHI: Peralta rips a two-run double down the line

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Goldschmidt had a trip around the bases in the eighth that was more befitting a speedster than a first baseman. Goldschmidt beat out an infield hit to second to lead off the inning and then stole second. When second baseman Cesar Hernandez was unable to field the throw from catcher Jorge Alfaro, Goldschmidt advanced to third. That caused the Phillies to play the infield in and the next hitter, Pollock, chopped a single over the head of shortstop Pedro Florimon as Goldschmidt trotted home.

"That's one of our characteristics," Lovullo said. "He hits a routine ground ball to second base, hustles down the line, he ends up stealing a base and getting to third on an overthrow. Those are the things that we do inside of the game."

Video: ARI@PHI: Pollock bounces an RBI single to center

HE SAID IT
"It's not easy. You play long enough, you understand you're going to go through some really bad stretches. I've gone through some really bad stretches in my career, and I'm still playing. It happens to everybody. That's just part of being a professional. Just kind of continuing, as everybody likes to say, the grind. That's just the way it is." -- Avila

UP NEXT
The D-backs continue their series with the Phillies on Wednesday night (4:05 MST) with Zack Greinke on the mound. The right-hander is 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP in his last two starts. He is 8-1 with a 2.48 ERA in 11 career starts against the Phillies. Right-hander Jake Arrieta (2-0, 2.04 ERA) makes the start for Philadelphia. He struck out 10 and allowed just one hit in seven scoreless innings last week against the Pirates.

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

Arizona Diamondbacks, Alex Avila, Daniel Descalso, Jarrod Dyson, David Peralta, Robbie Ray