SAN DIEGO -- When it comes to Zack Greinke, D-backs manager Torey Lovullo likes to treat him as though he were a hitter and not a pitcher.
On Tuesday night, Greinke showed why that’s the case, as he smacked two home runs and struck out 10 over six innings to lead the D-backs past the Padres, 8-5, at Petco Park.
The dingers marked the seventh and eighth career homers for Greinke, who won a Silver Slugger Award in 2013. His last home run was against Cincinnati’s Anthony DeSclafani on Aug. 16, 2015, when he was with the Dodgers.
Greinke is the first pitcher to hit two home runs in the same game since the Giants' Madison Bumgarner, who slugged a pair, including one off Greinke, on Opening Day 2017, two years ago to the day. The last D-backs hurler to accomplish the feat was Micah Owings on Aug. 18, 2007, in Atlanta.
At 35 years old, Greinke became the third-oldest pitcher since 1908 to have a multi-homer game. He is the first pitcher 35 or older to do it since Dixie Howell of the White Sox on June 16, 1957.
Given all that history, Greinke was asked what the homers meant.
“Not much now,” Greinke deadpanned. “It feels like everyone is hitting homers. We’ll see how long that keeps up for.”
Greinke’s first homer was a three-run shot in the fourth inning off Padres starter Eric Lauer. He smacked an 0-1 pitch to dead-center and sent it 413 feet, according to Statcast. The ball left Greinke’s bat at 102.8 mph.
That Greinke was even swinging the bat in that situation showed the confidence Lovullo has in him. With runners on first and second and one out, Lovullo said he would have bunted had any other pitcher been at the plate. Greinke, though, got the green light to swing.
“Nothing he does surprises me,” Lovullo said. “He works extremely hard on all parts of his game. He’s a good hitter; he’s a good athlete. So, we ask a lot of him when steps on the mound, but we know he’s very capable. And that actually doesn’t surprise us because he’s talked about being a good hitter, and he didn’t let us down today.”
Greinke’s teammates jokingly gave him the silent treatment after the first homer, initially ignoring him when he came back to the dugout after the homer before then celebrating with him.
“I told them it was the first time I wanted anyone to talk to me all year,” he said. “And they didn’t want to talk to me then.”
Not done yet, Greinke followed John Ryan Murphy's monster bases-empty shot in the sixth inning with his second home run of the game, which put Arizona up 6-2. Greinke's second blast, off Padres right-hander Adam Warren, left the bat at 101.4 mph and traveled 384 feet to left field, per Statcast.
Meanwhile, on the mound Greinke pitched far better than he did on Opening Day, when he allowed seven runs and didn’t get out of the fourth inning against the Dodgers.
“Everything was way better today,” Greinke said. “The pitches were sharper. Command was better. Last game, everything about it was really bad. Today, it wasn’t perfect, but it was way, way better.”
Since he had a bird’s eye view from his spot behind the plate, Murphy was asked what impressed him more Tuesday night. Was it Greinke at the plate or on the mound?
“I have to say on the mound because his head would get too big,” Murphy joked. “So I’m going to say his pitching was more impressive.”
Let’s just say it was a good night all the way around -- for Greinke and the D-backs.