Goldschmidt does it again in D-backs’ big win

PHOENIX — Would it be bad form to renegotiate?

Just kidding. But less than three months into his new deal, Paul Goldschmidt is making his five-year, $32 million contract extension look like the biggest bargain in baseball for the team he has driven to the NL West lead.

Goldschmidt had two more home runs in a 11-5 victory over the Reds at Chase Field on Friday, giving him four homers in his last four games and the third two-homer game of his career.

Once again, the game was close until Goldschmidt took matters into his own hands in the middle innings. His two-run homer that landed near the pool in right-center field broke a tie at 3 off Johnny Cueto, whom the D-backs pounded for 11 hits and seven runs.

Goldschmidt’s second homer, in the sixth, was reminiscent of the line drive off the batter’s eye that he hit to give the D-backs a 3-2 walkoff victory over the Marlins on Tuesday. This one hit above the camera well in the batter’s eye and was measured at 457 feet.

His 19 homers are one fewer than he had all of last year, and he leads the National League with 65 RBIs. Not that he is caught up in that sort of thing.

“I wouldn’t know. I don’t look at anything, any stats. They are what they are, but that stuff is in the past. You have to focus on that game and that at-bat. The homers are good, but the team playing well and winning is the most important thing, obviously,” Goldschmidt said.

The D-backs (40-33) have a 2 1/2-game lead in the NL West, a number that does not mean all that much at this time of year but at the same time is an indicator that the team knows how to win, a flair that goes a long way.

Goldschmidt, of course, has been at the forefront. He has more than twice as many RBIs as the D-backs player with the second-highest total, Eric Chavez, who has 25. Martin Prado and Gerardo Parra have 24 — Prado had two sacrifice flies Friday and Parra had his fifth leadoff homer of the season — and three players have 22.

His June has been particularly memorable as he works toward the All-Star Game by acclamation. He has had a lot of games like Friday. He beat the Giants with a three-run home run in the eighth inning of a 3-1 victory here June 7. He beat the Cardinals with a 14th-inning single June 4 after hitting a go-ahead single in an 8-4 victory over the Cubs on June 2 and a tiebreaking grand slam in the eighth inning of a 12-4 victory at Wrigley Field the day before. And that is just the last three weeks.

“We have to keep him healthy, don’t we?” D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. “He’s the nucleus of our team, certainly offensively.”

Jason Kubel, who tied a career high with four hits Friday, knows the feeling. He was on a similar ride last year, when he had a career-high 30 homers. Kubel had seven homers and 27 RBIs in June and 11 homers and 22 RBIs in July.

“It feels like you won’t miss any pitches. Balls you foul straight back, you are hitting those balls out,” Kubel said. “It’s a good feeling to have. It doesn’t last for long, and he’s been making it last for quite a while now. You just ride it as long as you can.”

Goldschmidt has made a difference in close games, especially. Of his 19 home runs, 12 have given the D-backs a lead, and those are the sorts of at-bats Goldschmidt relishes.

“I think everyone does. Everyone wants to be in that spot,” he said. “You are going to fail, or not come through, more times than you are. That’s just how the game is, especially as a hitter. Regardless of whether you are doing well or not, just kind of forget about the past and try to have a good at-bat, and hopefully it works out.”

The D-backs, meanwhile, got through another so-so outing by Wade Miley, who won 16 games and was a very close second in the NL Rookie of the Year race last year because of his command and control. He threw strikes and made opponents put the ball in play.

He has not been able to find that this year, and it has led to an inconsistency that was present again Friday. Miley gave up three runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings, walking four. Only one of the walks scored, but they served to elevate his pitch count. He left after throwing 104 pitches.

“The good Wade Miley throws all his pitches in every count aggressively. He couldn’t get his changeup over tonight,” said Gibson, who when asked if he would continue to give Miley the ball said, “What choice do I have? Of course I will.”

Miley said this year’s drop-off has been a simple matter of execution.

“I don’t know if I’m pressing. I’m going out with the same mindset every day that I had last year. Not executing pitches it what it boils down to.”

Goldschmidt’s hitting turned that into a footnote.

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