No coincidence, the D-backs returned home Tuesday and the offensive firepower returned as well, as they erupted for seven runs in the first two innings en route to a 10-2 win over the Padres. The victory improved their home record to a major-league best 22-8, including 4-1 vs. San Diego. They regained a tie for second in the NL West with the Dodgers, two games behind Colorado.
Chris Owings belted a three-run homer -- giving him a career-high seven for the season -- and Jake Lamb drove in four runs, giving 50 for the season, second best in the NL.
But the real story on Tuesday was pitcher Robbie Ray's fourth consecutive pithing masterpiece. Ray is showing ace-type stuff, though for the time being, Greinke is still the staff leader.
Greinke is tied for sixth in the National League with eight quality starts, including seven in his past nine outings. Greinke has thrown his slider more than ever this year, more than one-fourth of the time. According to Fangraphs.com, opponents are swinging at more pitches outside the strike zone and making less contact this year than any other in his career.
He is averaging 10.44 strikeouts per nine innings, a micro-notch lower than his best rate (10.54) while with Milwaukee in 2011 and the only time he has averaged more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings in a season.
Greinke was the winning pitcher in a 3-2 victory over Miami last Thursday, striking out eight in seven innings while giving up four hits and two runs (one earned). He is 9-2 with a 1.93 ERA in 18 career starts against the Padres. He was the losing pitcher in a 1-0 pitchers duel at San Diego on April 19, surrendering a homer to Erick Aybar in the eighth inning. Aybar is a .343 hitter against Greinke (12 for 35) in his career.
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Padres starting pitcher Luis Perdomo (0-2, 5.01 ERA)
Perdomo, a ground-ball specialist, is making his 10th start but still looking for his first victory. Not all of it has been his fault. He has made quality starts in six of his last seven appearances, and he had his most effective start the last time out -- coming away with no decision against the Cubs on May 31 despite limiting them to one run and three hits in seven innings -- a game the Padres would win 2-1.
His only hiccup in that seven-start stretch was against the Diamondbacks, when he gave up eight runs and 11 hits in three innings on May 20. He is 3-2 with a 4.76 ERA in eight career appearances (four starts) against Arizona.
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Shuffling the D-backs
Left fielder Yasmany Tomas joined center fielder A.J. Pollock on the disabled list on Tuesday -- both with groin injuries -- although Tomas' is believed to be less severe than Pollock's. The D-backs recalled Jeremy Hazelbaker from Reno -- giving them a mix-and-match batch of left-handed hitters -- Hazelbaker, Gregor Blanco, Reymond Fuentes and Daniel Descalso, who started in left on Tuesday -- for the two outfield positions alongside David Peralta, who also swings from the left side.
Hazelbaker, who was on the opening-day roster, was hitting .329 at Reno with six doubles, two triples, five home runs and 15 RBI in 22 games.
Mark J. RebilasMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Both of San Diego's runs on Tuesday came via solo home runs by right fielder Hunter Renfroe. He leads NL rookies with 13 homers, and is second with 29 RBIs.
"The power has never been in doubt," San Diego manager Andy Green said. "It is just consistently working to positive counts. You see growths in at-bats that don't end the way you want them to. Obviously, he squared two baseballs up really well, and he has that in him."