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Greinke's best start leads D-backs over Cards

May 22, 2016

ST. LOUIS -- The D-backs ambushed opposing starter Jaime Garcia to seal a series win on Sunday, jumping out to an early lead that Zack Greinke never allowed the Cardinals to threaten en route to a 7-2 victory at Busch Stadium."They were ready," D-backs manager Chip Hale said of his

ST. LOUIS -- The D-backs ambushed opposing starter Jaime Garcia to seal a series win on Sunday, jumping out to an early lead that Zack Greinke never allowed the Cardinals to threaten en route to a 7-2 victory at Busch Stadium.
"They were ready," D-backs manager Chip Hale said of his team. "We really wanted to win this series. Zack has been pitching better and better. He went out there like a No. 1 does and took control of the game. The offense scored a few runs for him early, which I'm sure helped him."
Garcia faced 16 batters and allowed 10 of them to tally a hit before being pulled after 2 1/3 innings, his shortest start in almost four years. Yasmany Tomas and Brandon Drury had RBI singles off the lefty in the first, while a Paul Goldschmidt RBI single helped add to Arizona's lead the following inning. Michael Bourn finished the series with five hits after collecting three more, including an RBI single, in the finale.
Start one to forget for Garcia
"I just couldn't get the movement that I wanted," Garcia said. "I think I got off with something mechanically, and that threw me off a little bit. I was trying to find it back, but they didn't let me. They kept swinging at the first pitch, and they were hitting it on the ground and finding holes [and] hitting it in the air."

Greinke needed a fraction of that support as he rolled to his fifth win in his last six decisions. After giving up seven runs in a start against the Cardinals last month, Greinke pitched a season-long eight innings while limiting the Cardinals to five hits. Brandon Moss' fourth-inning home run was the only blemish. With the win, Greinke improved to 11-4 all-time against St. Louis.

Carryover effect: The D-backs scored a pair of runs in Saturday's ninth inning and brought the potential tying run to the plate against Trevor Rosenthal before the rally fell short in a 6-2 loss. D-backs manager Chip Hale hoped it would lead to a quick start on Sunday, and he got just that as Arizona scored three runs in the first and a run each in the second and third.
"There was a very good focus," Hale said. "Early on during our [pregame] meeting, we talked about it. The young guys are starting to get it that every game you've got to bring it like the seventh game of the World Series, basically."

Much-needed relief: With a bullpen thinned after covering 11 innings over the previous three days, the Cardinals summoned Matt Bowman to steady the game behind Garcia. He quickly did so, retiring eight of the first nine batters he faced on 27 pitches. Bowman did give up a pair of runs in his final frame, but he also carried the game into the seventh by throwing a season-high 3 2/3 innings.
"Today was more of an 'eat-up-some-innings' scenario," said Bowman, who threw 36 of his 50 pitches for strikes. "I would have liked to keep it a little closer, but I'm happy that at least I threw a few innings.You have to understand that today, if we don't pull back and win it, that at least tomorrow we have a good series coming up now, and hopefully that helps us in the next few days."
Great Greinke: Greinke had his best start since signing a six-year, $206.5 million free-agent deal this past offseason. It was the first time the right-hander had logged eight innings this year. The only other time he allowed just one run in a start was April 20 against the Giants.
"I got a lot of fly balls on the fastball," Greinke said. "So far this year, I've been giving up a lot of line drives on the fastball. That was nice. Then, the offspeed, I kept it down and got ground balls on it. The fastball was good because they were hitting it in the air more than hitting line drives today." More >

Just short: The Cardinals' offense made little noise against Greinke, though the complexion of the game could have changed had Stephen Piscotty's deep flyout in the third gone a few feet further. With two on and his team trailing by five, Piscotty drove a first-pitch fastball to center that outfielder Chris Owings snagged at the warning track. Piscotty, subbing in as a three-hole hitter for the day, just missed going deep again in the sixth.
"That could have been a game-changer if it carries a little better for him," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Just not quite enough. [It was] one of those days that Greinke had it going. They needed to make plays, and they made the plays."
This was the D-backs' first series win in St. Louis since 2003. Arizona is 21-43 on the road against the Cardinals.
D-backs: After Monday's off-day, the D-backs will open a three-game series with the Pirates at PNC Park on Tuesday at 4:05 p.m. MST with Shelby Miller making his 10th start of the year. Miller is 2-6 with a 4.29 ERA in nine career starts against the Pirates.
Cardinals : There will be an opportunity for the Cardinals to put a dent in Chicago's National League Central lead this week, as they welcome the Cubs to Busch Stadium for a three-game series. Adam Wainwright, who threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings in his last start, will face former teammate John Lackey in Monday's 7:15 p.m. CT opener.
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Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast.

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