It may not come as a surprise that the Diamondbacks have gotten another season off to a winning start.
Impressive performances at the plate from Gerardo Parra and A.J. Pollock were more unexpected. The outfielders will attempt to build on strong season debuts as the Diamondbacks and visiting Cardinals continue a three-game series Tuesday night.
Arizona has opened seven consecutive seasons with a win and started last year with a franchise-record four-game winning streak.
The Diamondbacks got 2013 off to another solid start with a 15-hit performance in Monday’s 6-2 win over the Cardinals, as Parra and Pollock led the way offensively.
Parra matched his career high with four hits and set a personal best with three doubles. Pollock had career bests with three hits and two RBIs and became the first Arizona rookie to get three hits in a season opener since Travis Lee in the Diamondbacks’ first game in 1998.
“I’m happy because it’s a good team,” said Parra, who hit .273 last season. “Maybe we don’t have a lot of power, but we have a lot of fast guys, a lot of contact guys.”
Parra may be hitting leadoff again since he’s a career .310 hitter with a .366 on-base percentage over 51 games in that spot. He’s also 8 for 23 (.348) with four doubles and a triple over his last five home meetings with the Cardinals.
Pollock, a .247 hitter in 31 games last year, is 6 for 8 in his three career meetings with St. Louis and should be back in the lineup with Adam Eaton (elbow) and Cody Ross (calf) on the 15-day disabled list.
Martin Prado added a pair of doubles and an RBI in his team debut Monday, improving to 8 for 18 over his past five games against the Cardinals.
Trevor Cahill is expected to get the ball in an effort to carry success from spring into the regular season. The right-hander was 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings over five starts. He ended his spring by fanning 11 and yielding an unearned run in 5 2/3 innings Thursday against the Rangeres.
Cahill went 13-12 with a 3.78 ERA last year, capping his first season with the D-backs by winning four of his final five starts with a 2.62 ERA. He has a 2.25 ERA in two starts against St. Louis but no record thanks to getting only two runs of support.
The Cardinals, who had five hits Monday, are slated to counter with Jaime Garcia, who is trying to continue putting last year’s shoulder trouble behind him. The left-hander went 2-1 with a 2.48 ERA in six starts during spring training, logging a team-high 29 innings.
That may have been a relief to the Cardinals after Garcia spent much of last summer on the disabled list and exited Game 2 of the NL Division Series against Washington after just two innings.
He went 7-7 with a 3.92 ERA in 20 starts during the regular season, winning his final three starts behind a 2.29 ERA.
The success during the spring seems to have given Garcia some confidence.
“The biggest thing was being able to go out there every fifth day, being able to trust yourself and get in a position where you are ready to go for the season,” Garcia told the team’s official website. “The first thing is health. Obviously, that’s what everybody wants. I’m going to be there for my teammates, and I’m going to take one day at a time.”
Garcia has won both career starts against the Diamondbacks, allowing three runs in 11 innings.