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Koch outduels Verlander in finale vs. Astros

Special to MLB.com

PHOENIX -- Matt Koch was the guy the D-backs chose to bring up from the Minors to fill the void left by a season-ending injury to starting pitcher Taijuan Walker last month. But Koch, so far, is giving Arizona perhaps more than they expected.

Koch held the Astros to one run on six hits over 6 1/3 innings, winning the pitchers' duel with Houston star Justin Verlander in Arizona's 3-1 victory Sunday afternoon at Chase Field.

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PHOENIX -- Matt Koch was the guy the D-backs chose to bring up from the Minors to fill the void left by a season-ending injury to starting pitcher Taijuan Walker last month. But Koch, so far, is giving Arizona perhaps more than they expected.

Koch held the Astros to one run on six hits over 6 1/3 innings, winning the pitchers' duel with Houston star Justin Verlander in Arizona's 3-1 victory Sunday afternoon at Chase Field.

View Full Game Coverage

Verlander's 11-game regular-season winning streak came to end, as he moved to 4-1 on the season. He took his first regular-season loss since joining the Astros in late August 2017.

Koch (2-0) worked out of several tough spots and kept the D-backs within striking distance. Arizona rallied from an early 1-0 deficit to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth against Verlander, and the main bullpen trio of Yoshihisa Hirano, Archie Bradley and Brad Boxberger finished up with scoreless performances to give the D-backs their 10th series win of the season.

"Keep them guessing. In and out, up and down, try to get everything for strikes," Koch said.

Video: HOU@ARI: Koch induces force out to end inning

A.J. Pollock roared around the bases for a one-out triple to drive in Daniel Descalso with the tying run in the sixth. On the same play, when the throw to third base got away from Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, he sprinted for home. Pollock was originally called out by home-plate umpire Roberto Ortiz, but was then awarded home plate on an obstruction call on Bregman at third.

"The hottest hitter in the National League got a pitch to hit and drove it to center field, and that was the ballgame. Or the umpire's call at third base was the ballgame. You call it," Verlander said.

Video: HOU@ARI: Pollock hits RBI triple, scores on error

Koch gave up Bregman's second-inning homer and struck out three in his fourth start of the season. He has posted a 2.13 ERA in five appearances (25 1/3 innings).

Pollock drove in David Peralta with a two-out single for a key insurance run in the bottom of the eighth.

Pollock's two hits, two of only five for the D-backs on Sunday, allowed him to finish 11-for-26 with six RBIs over the seven-game homestand.

"He seems to be the catalyst," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "Day by day he's working extremely hard to get in a good hitting position, survey the strike zone and not miss the pitch that he's looking for."

Video: HOU@ARI: Pollock plates Peralta with an RBI single

Boxberger earned his 11th save by striking out the side and is 11-for-11 in save chances this season.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Koch was in a bind to start the top of the sixth when Jose Altuve tripled and Carlos Correa was hit by a pitch. But the youngster struck out Josh Reddick and induced a double-play grounder from Bregman to end the threat.

"He found himself squarely in the middle of a mess, and it's one thing that continues to stand out for me, he doesn't come unglued," Lovullo said.

Video: HOU@ARI: Koch gets 6-4-3 double play to end the 6th

SOUND SMART
The D-backs' 23-11 record is tied for their second best 34-game start in franchise history. They have not lost a series this season, with 10 wins and a split.

HE SAID IT
"Those are the types of games that I really enjoy. There's a lot of pressure. There's a lot of important moments where you've got to step up and execute. My heart is pumping. I know their [the players'] hearts [are] pumping too. When they come through, it's a pretty good moment." -- Lovullo

UP NEXT
After Monday's off-day, right-hander Zack Godley will take the mound for the D-backs on Tuesday when they open a two-game series against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Godley (4-2, 3.41 ERA) took the loss against the Dodgers at Chase Field on May 2, a 2-1 defeat. Arizona will face left-hander Rich Hill, who is coming off the disabled list in time for Tuesday's game. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. MST.

Jose Romero is a contributor to MLB.com.

Arizona Diamondbacks