Pirates drop 4th straight
PITTSBURGH — There was no stopping Ketel Marte and the Diamondbacks — especially not in Pittsburgh.
Marte homered from both sides of the plate, and Arizona won at PNC Park for the ninth straight time, beating the Pirates 11-2 on Wednesday night.
Marte batted lefty while extending Arizona’s lead to 5-1 with a solo shot in the fifth inning before going righty and driving a three-run shot, his sixth homer this season, into the left-field bleachers in the eighth. It was the third multi-homer game of his career and second this season.
“He has so much offensive capability,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “It’s just nice to see him putting it together and making tonight very special. You hit home runs from both sides of the plate as a switch-hitter, it’s like a dream come true. You work extremely hard. It means you’re locked in.”
Arizona’s nine-game winning streak at Pittsburgh is its longest in an opponent’s stadium, surpassing its eight straight at Philadelphia from June 17, 2016-April 24, 2018. The Diamondbacks have not lost in Pittsburgh since May 29, 2017, when Andrew McCutchen homered in the ninth of a 4-3 win for the Pirates.
Eduardo Escobar, who was 3 for 4 with a walk, tripled in the first, and the Diamondbacks hit three straight singles to take a 2-0 lead. Nick Ahmed homered to lead off the second before Escobar doubled in Caleb Joseph for a 4-0 lead.
“When you win, everybody’s happy,” Escobar said. “I think what’s important is working hard every day. Come to the field and play hard.”
After Marte’s first homer, the Diamondbacks added three runs on back-to-back two-out doubles from David Peralta and Christian Walker, extending the lead to 8-2 in the seventh.
The Pirates have been outscored 25-7 in the first three games of the four-game series.
“We’re just not clicking consistently as an offense,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We’re not bunching at-bats together. We’re shown some spurts at times, but the overall opportunities, we’re still kind of short with runners at third and less than two outs. Happened to us again tonight. … You own your at-bat. The guys know it.”
Merrill Kelly (2-2) gave up two runs on six hits in seven innings, walking two and striking out five. The runs came on homers from Josh Bell in the fourth and Jung Ho Kang in the sixth.
“Any time the offense puts runs on the board, it just allows you to be a little more aggressive,” Kelly said. “With the risk of taking the solo home runs like I did tonight, but I knew that they weren’t going to hurt me.”
Bell’s home run was his fifth in 22 games after hitting 12 in 148 games last season.
Jordan Lyles (2-1) lasted five innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on eight hits with three strikeouts. He gave up one run on 10 hits in 17 innings through his first three starts.
“There’s not much room in their lineup to take a breath,” Lyles said. “They scored early and often. That’s what good offenses do.”
Pirates: OF Bryan Reynolds did not play because of left quadriceps muscle discomfort he experienced during Tuesday’s game. He took batting practice Wednesday. … SS Erik Gonzalez will have surgery Thursday to repair a broken collarbone. He was injured while colliding with OF Starling Marte last Friday. … OF Gregory Polanco was given the day off after having two hits in each of his first two games of the season. He had shoulder surgery last Sept. 12.
Diamondbacks: RHP Zack Greinke (3-1, 4.60 ERA) takes the mound in the series finale. He is 3-0 in his past four starts. Arizona will finish its 10-game trip after winning seven of the first nine games.
Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (1-2, 3.12) will look to end Pittsburgh’s four-game skid. On Saturday, Taillon allowed one run on four hits in five innings of a rain-shortened 3-1 win over the San Francisco Giants.
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