PHOENIX – The D-backs haven’t had much in the standings this year, but they took a look Thursday at some new guys who could change that.
Emmanuel Rivera, who traded from Kansas City 10 days ago that sent Luke Weaver to the Royals, had his biggest day as a D-back with a home run and two doubles. His three hits were among many as Arizona beat Pittsburgh 9-3 at Chase Field to win the four-game series before a road trip.
Rivera hit a solo homer in the fourth inning for the D-backs’ first hit against Pittsburgh starter JT Brubaker, and he wasn’t nearly done. In the seventh, the right-handed hitter pitched 0-2 on the third base line for a brace that scored Sergio Alcantara and Geraldo Perdomo and gave Arizona its first lead of the afternoon in an inning. seven points.
He would add another double on the left-field wall in the eighth. Thursday just added to his positive vibes on trading and how it fits in.
“It was great,” he said of the exchange via a translator. “I feel like I’ve been here for years and I’m adjusting very well with the team.”
With the bases loaded, the third-year D-back hit a 424-foot double to deep center, the longest non-home run by a D-back since last September. Varsho then stole the third and came back to score himself.
This day was as much about taking on three of the Pirates’ series four as it was about the crowd in Phoenix getting to know the new D-back, including his own manager.
“We’re still getting to know his game,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “I’m always trying to get a sense of what he’s doing well, and so far so good. He’s got a really good heart rate.
Also new to the mix is the emergence of rookie Alek Thomas. The center fielder took the lead on Thursday afternoon and started a run.
“I feel like there have been ups and downs, always trying to find flat ground. I just have to keep sticking to my approach,” Thomas said.[Rivera’s] Pretty sick. He’s a good player. I’ve been with him for a week and a half and he’s been great.
Merrill Kelly started on the mound for D-backs and became one of the hottest pitchers in the National League. NL Pitcher of the Month for July said himself he was on the best streak of his career at this point, but he struggled with his command on Thursday.
Kelly pitched five innings and struck out six while allowing three runs and ignoring the call. He had a lot of support though.
“The boys did a great job offensively and the throw we had after me,” he said. “These games you won’t be in will happen throughout the season. It’s good to know that just because you drop out of races doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to lose the game.
Lovullo brought in Tyler Holton, Kevin Ginkel and Joe Mantiply from the bullpen, before handing him over to closer Mark Melancon in a no-backup situation to give him work. The relievers combined for four shutout innings.