Just one day ago, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo had said his team was guilty of some "wandering moments" in games during their recent struggles, but that was not the case Monday.
"I think today we captured what we were all about in an 8 1/2-inning ballgame," Lovullo said. "I know these guys locked in their focus. They did what they were supposed to and the way they were supposed to and the way they've been doing it all year long. I know the season is very grinding and it's easy to let your mind wander, and when things aren't going great, you can let it slip. I think these guys pulled it together in a very nice way."
Back-to-back two-out doubles in the second by Daniel Descalso and Ketel Marte gave Greinke a lead to work with, while Paul Goldschmidt and J.D. Martinez's back-to-back doubles in the sixth gave him some added breathing room.
Houston starter Collin McHugh (0-2) deserved a better fate as he struck out six and allowed six hits over 5 2/3 innings. The Astros left six men on base and were 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position.
"You know the job you have every night when you go out there, and it's to give your team the best chance to win," McHugh said. "I mean, [Greinke's] a really good pitcher. I faced him twice and it was not close. You got to tip your hat to him; he did a good job and he held us at bay. But that doesn't change your gameplan, doesn't change the way you attack hitters. It's just about pitch execution."
Greinke held the Astros' 1-through-5 hitters to three hits, all of which were singles. He also struck out All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve the first three times he came to the plate. Monday marked the first time Altuve has struck out three times in a game since 2014.
Astros reliever Tyler Clippard made his debut with the team Monday and escaped a jam after allowing a leadoff double to Jake Lamb to deliver a scoreless eighth inning.
"It was good to get out there," Clippard said. "I hadn't pitched in a couple days and I like to get consistent work, so from that standpoint it was good. To put up a zero for the new teammates is good. Wish we could have won the game. But we'll be just fine."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Getting out of it: Greinke struck out the first two batters in the third before George Springer beat out an infield single to short and moved to second when shortstop Marte's throw sailed wide of first base. Greinke struck out Altuve, but the third strike got away from catcher Jeff Mathis to put runners at first and third for Josh Reddick. Greinke, though, was able to get Reddick to pop to first to end the threat.
"He's a horse," Martinez said of Greinke. "There's a reason they gave the kind of money they gave him. You don't trick people to give you that kind of money. He's good for a reason. He eats up innings, he keeps guys off balance and to me he just doesn't give in. That's what it seems like. That's what makes him tough."
Big double play:Yuli Gurriel led off the fourth by beating out a dribbler to third (originally called out but overturned after a successful Houston challenge and replay review), but before the Astros could get anything going, Greinke got Alex Bregman to ground into a double play. That would loom large as the next batter, Marwin Gonzalez, lined a double into left-center that could have scored Gurriel.
WHAT'S NEXT Astros:Brad Peacock will get the start as the Astros finish off the Arizona leg of their home-and-home with the D-backs. Peacock is 7-1 with a 3.46 ERA in 13 starts this season. The Astros are 10-3 in games he has started.
D-backs:Anthony Banda will make his fourth big league start Tuesday afternoon as the D-backs close out the home portion of their four-game home-and-home series with the Astros. Banda lasted just four innings in his last start against the Dodgers.