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Lovullo doesn't regret sticking with Greinke

D-backs starter allows go-ahead triple in eighth inning
MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

DENVER -- Having faith in his starting pitchers and letting them pitch deep into games has been a winning strategy this year for D-backs manager Torey Lovullo.

Tuesday night, though, it wasn't, as the Rockies rallied for two eighth-inning runs off Arizona starter Zack Greinke to beat the D-backs, 4-3, in the series opener of the National League West showdown series at Coors Field.

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DENVER -- Having faith in his starting pitchers and letting them pitch deep into games has been a winning strategy this year for D-backs manager Torey Lovullo.

Tuesday night, though, it wasn't, as the Rockies rallied for two eighth-inning runs off Arizona starter Zack Greinke to beat the D-backs, 4-3, in the series opener of the National League West showdown series at Coors Field.

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Greinke (8-4) allowed a pair of runs in the first four innings, but settled in and found his rhythm, getting a double play to end the fourth and then retiring the Rockies in order in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

"There was no doubt in my mind he deserved to go back out in the eighth inning," Lovullo said. "I wanted to send him out there and I just felt like that was the breaking point in the game, and it was going to go one way or another and I wanted our guys to understand that they're built for those moments. Zack deserved it. He was in total control of that game."

Greinke said despite the hot night, he was still strong after seven.

"I was throwing good, and even that inning I threw all right," he said.

After getting the first out of the eighth, Greinke allowed a ground-ball single up the middle to Charlie Blackmon and a single to left by DJ LeMahieu.

"I felt really good," Greinke said. "I felt I made pretty good pitches. Blackmon just kind of slapped a ball in a good spot. LeMahieu did a good job with what I gave him."

After Blackmon reached base, Lovullo got setup man Archie Bradley up in the bullpen. Bradley has been a dominant force for the D-backs this year. Entering Tuesday he had not allowed a run in his last nine appearances and his ERA was 1.13.

Still, Lovullo didn't go get Greinke after the two hits and the dangerous Nolan Arenado coming to the plate.

"It didn't work out," Lovullo said. "It's unfortunate and I know that the decision I made directly impacted the outcome in this game, but I still believe in Zack Greinke. I would have done the same thing every single time. Different story if he's at 125 pitches, I probably would have thought differently, but he was in control of that game."

D-backs starters have thrown the third-most innings in the NL this year and Lovullo has wanted them to adopt a mindset of pitching deep every time out.

"It's worked good for our team," Greinke said. "The starters have done good. It's kept the bullpen fresher, and the results have been great for the first half of the season. It's definitely worked out really, really good."

Had Greinke retired Arenado, Lovullo would have looked prescient once again. Instead Arenado tripled off the wall and the Rockies took a 4-3 lead.

"Hindsight I know is 20-20," Lovullo said. "We had a bunch of different plans in place, but obviously it didn't go the way we wanted."

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

Arizona Diamondbacks, Zack Greinke