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Richards, Marlins unable to overcome bumpy 1st

MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- The month of June has been a series of ups and downs for Marlins right-hander Trevor Richards. On Thursday afternoon, the rookie was matched against a starter who has been a model of consistency in his All-Star career.

Zack Greinke may have thrown seven scoreless innings, but the right-hander had a complete all-around game, also collecting two singles, an RBI, a run scored and a stolen base in the D-backs' 4-0 win over the Marlins in the series finale at Marlins Park.

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MIAMI -- The month of June has been a series of ups and downs for Marlins right-hander Trevor Richards. On Thursday afternoon, the rookie was matched against a starter who has been a model of consistency in his All-Star career.

Zack Greinke may have thrown seven scoreless innings, but the right-hander had a complete all-around game, also collecting two singles, an RBI, a run scored and a stolen base in the D-backs' 4-0 win over the Marlins in the series finale at Marlins Park.

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Video: ARI@MIA: Greinke displays arm, bat, wheels in win

Making just his 10th big league start, Richards is still striving for consistency. Throughout June, he's been in a pattern of one strong start followed by a rough one. Richards allowed three runs, including two in the first, on six hits and two walks in four innings.

It was a contrast from Richards' previous outing, when he struck out eight in six innings in a win at the Rockies. Richards is 2-3 with a 5.18 ERA in June.

"When it's going good, I've got all three pitches throwing it wherever I want," Richards said. "On the nights that I struggle is when one of them is gone, or missing with fastballs. Tonight was a little of both. I missed a couple of spots and the slider wasn't there for strikes."

Greinke did it all against the Marlins and former manager Don Mattingly. The two were previously together with the Dodgers.

Video: ARI@MIA: Mattingly on Greinke's outing in 4-0 loss

"I've seen a lot of that," Mattingly said. "He was pretty good today. As the game is going, you've got a little bit of that flat feeling. But you know guys are battling. He was just a handful today. He's able to do things with the ball and change gears on you."

JT Riddle had three hits for Miami, which was shut out for the seventh time this season.

"He was a tough guy to handle today," Mattingly added. "I thought our guys were fighting, but it felt at times you were fighting with a hand tied behind your back."

In the loss, Brian Anderson went 0-for-4, as his streak of reaching base successfully ended at 24 games. It was the longest active streak in the National League, and the most by a rookie in the Majors this year.

Video: ARI@MIA: Dietrich cuts down Mathis at second base

"I think the name of the game is always consistency, so any time you are able to put together a streak like that, it means that through the ups and downs, you're still finding ways to get on base," Anderson said. "That's what I'm always working on and trying to get better on."

The D-backs came out swinging, using an aggressive approach in the first inning off Richards. In a two-run first inning, the first three batters each put the ball in play in three pitches or fewer, with two of them collecting hits. Paul Goldschmidt had his first of three hits in the first, and Jake Lamb singled. Daniel Descalso put Arizona on the board on a fielder's choice, and Nick Ahmed laced a two-out RBI double.

"The first few innings, a couple of pitches missed my spots and they took advantage of it," Richards said.

Richards is most effective when he can get into counts where he can exploit his plus changeup. He threw 18 changeups, inducing six swinging strikes. But Richards had just one swinging strike on 43 four-seam fastballs.

In the second inning, Greinke singled, and with two outs, he stole second. He scored on Goldschmidt's run-scoring single.

The D-backs padded their lead to four runs in the sixth inning on Greinke's two-out, run-scoring single off Nick Wittgren.

Video: ARI@MIA: Wittgren retires Descalso, strands runner

"Quite honestly, he can really hit," Mattingly said. "We were talking on the bench. He's probably got a better swing than like 70 percent of the guys in the big leagues, and I'm serious about that, if you look at his mechanics."

GUERRERO MAKES ADJUSTMENT
On the surface, the play might not have seemed significant, but in terms of the development of Tayron Guerrero, throwing Lamb out while he tried to steal second base was significant. Earlier in the season at Arizona, the D-backs stole two bases off the 6-foot-8 Guerrero. The club has been working with Guerrero on holding runners and fielding his position. In the seventh inning, Guerrero varied his timing with Lamb on first, and when the D-backs' third baseman attempted to steal second, the right-hander stepped off and threw to second for the out.

"In Arizona, twice they stole bases," Guerrero said. "Now I've changed my time, and that's why I got that guy at second."

Video: ARI@MIA: Guerrero steps off the mound to nab Lamb

SOUND SMART
A bruised left wrist kept J.T. Realmuto out of the starting lineup for the fourth straight game. In Realmuto's place, Bryan Holaday caught all four games. It was the first time since Holaday was with the Rangers in 2016 that he started four straight behind the plate. The veteran backup also enjoyed a two-hit game on Thursday. But when Greinke stole second in the second inning, it snapped Holaday's string of nine straight times throwing out a runner who was attempting to steal.

Video: ARI@MIA: Greinke helps his own cause with a steal

HE SAID IT
"Just that group approach. We've kept them in check, in a sense. We had chances to win here. But they keep coming -- and the at-bats, you can see they are purposeful. They've probably been one of the better teams with that. You feel like the whole group is coming at you. That's been impressive."
-- Mattingly, on how effectively the D-backs have played against Miami this year

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Marlins didn't have many scoring chances off Greinke, and when they did, they didn't capitalize. They had a chance in the second inning, trailing by three at the time. With runners on the corners and one out, Holaday tapped a grounder to third base, and the D-backs converted a 5-4-3 double play. But the play was close at first base, and the Marlins challenged to see if Holaday had indeed beaten the throw. The ruling was the call stands, preventing a run from scoring.

Video: ARI@MIA: Lamb, Descalso turn 2, call stands in 2nd

UP NEXT
The anticipated Marlins debut of Sandy Alcantara has arrived. Miami's top pitching prospect, who has a fastball that has touched 100 mph, is getting promoted from Triple-A New Orleans to start the series opener Friday against the Mets and Jacob deGrom. Alcantara is Miami's No. 2-ranked prospect. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

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