SAN FRANCISCO -- Has Paul Goldschmidt awoken from his slumber? According to D-backs manager Torey Lovullo, the first baseman was never sleeping.The numbers might have said otherwise -- Goldschmidt came to AT&T Park toting a .100 batting average (3-for-30) with a double serving as his only extra-base hit of the
SAN FRANCISCO -- Has Paul Goldschmidt awoken from his slumber? According to D-backs manager Torey Lovullo, the first baseman was never sleeping.
The numbers might have said otherwise -- Goldschmidt came to AT&T Park toting a .100 batting average (3-for-30) with a double serving as his only extra-base hit of the year. But the slugger heated up by the Bay, and he played a starring role in Wednesday's 7-3 win, clinching the D-backs' fourth straight series victory to begin the year.
Lovullo was happy to see his star filling up the box score again on Wednesday, but it's just what he expects from Goldschmidt.
"You know that he's done it," Lovullo said. "You can just book it -- he's probably going to be 30 [home runs] and 100 [RBIs] every year of his career, and that's how much we think of him here. We know that if it was the middle of the season, [his slump would] be nothing that'd be talked about. It's just a little bit magnified when you start the season and you see that average up there. He's going to be fine. Today was a great day."
In the fourth inning of Wednesday's matinee, Goldschmidt launched one into the bleachers to break up a scoreless tie. Giants center fielder Austin Jackson only took a few steps back before watching the ball sail into the bleachers in left-center field. San Francisco southpaw Andrew Suarez retired the first 10 batters he faced in his MLB debut before allowing Ketel Marte's single to set up Goldschmidt's two-run dinger.
Goldschmidt followed that up by banging a go-ahead RBI double to center field in the sixth inning against Giants righty Sam Dyson, collecting his fifth RBI of the series while pushing Arizona's lead to 4-3. He finished the three-game set in San Francisco by going 5-for-12 (.417), wrapping it up with his first pair of multi-hit games of the season.
Wednesday marked Goldschmidt's second homer of the year, with both of them coming in a span of about 14 hours. He took Giants righty Hunter Strickland deep for a game-tying solo shot in the ninth inning of Tuesday's walk-off loss.
So, has he knocked off that early season rust?
"You guys can say whatever you want," Goldschmidt said. "I just take it day by day. Just because you have a couple hits today, doesn't mean it's going to happen the next day or if you're 0-for, doesn't mean you're going to do it again."
But Goldschmidt wasn't the only D-back to bring the lumber to Wednesday's contest. Backup catcher John Ryan Murphy, making his third start of the year and first since April 3, also went 2-for-3 with an RBI double and a homer. He belted a solo shot to left in the fifth inning to notch his second home run in 14 at-bats this year.
"He's been working hard since Spring Training to create a launch angle, drive balls and do all that," Lovullo said. "That's been noticed. Certainly, we love the offense and the output that he's given us. He's a tremendous player and we want to have a three-man rotation [at catcher]. ... John Ryan had a great day. He's going to get these opportunities."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Ray K's his way through trouble: Southpaw starter Robbie Ray pitched his way into some trouble in the fourth inning, but he was able to navigate out of the jam with a couple of key punchouts. The D-backs, holding onto a 3-0 lead, Ray gave up a Buster Posey single and an Evan Longoria double in succession to put two runners in scoring position. But Ray recovered to strike out Nick Hundley, making him chase a slider out of the zone. After walking Hunter Pence to load the bases with two outs, Ray got Brandon Crawford to wave at a slider to end the threat.
Insurance runs: Despite Goldschmidt's early productivity, the game still hung in the balance until the top of the seventh inning. Arizona might have entered the frame with a one-run lead, but it was able to push across three more runs to put the game out of reach. Murphy and Daniel Descalso, who was serving as a pinch-hitter, hit back-to-back RBI doubles before Marte capped off the rally with a two-out RBI single.
"We're confident, but there's a lot of games to go. We know how tough this division is, how tough these guys are, the Dodgers, Rockies, Padres -- it's not going to be easy." -- Goldschmidt, on Arizona winning its fourth consecutive series to start the year
The D-backs will rest Thursday before wrapping up their nine-game road swing in Southern California with a three-game series against the Dodgers. Zack Greinke will open the weekend against his former team on Friday at 7:10 p.m. MST in a series that figures to feature quality pitching from both sides.
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Alex Espinoza is a reporter for MLB.com.