More power from Nick Ahmed comes at the right time
Every time the Diamondbacks made big plays, the Brewers didn’t waste time responding.
Milwaukee mirrored Arizona runs in three of the first five innings to keep things even at 4 before Nick Ahmed launched his third career home run, a bomb in the eighth that put the D-backs ahead for good.
The solo shot gave the D-backs a 5-4 lead, and A.J. Pollock added a buffer to it with a two-run homer — the sixth combined home run of the game and fourth for Arizona — for a 7-5 victory against the Brewers on Friday at Miller Park.
"I’m obviously not trying to hit home runs," Ahmed told FOX Sports Arizona’s Todd Walsh. "I’m just trying to see the ball well and square it up. I’m actually lately shifting my focus to more middle, right-center of the field. Those balls I’ve hit out of the park are just mistakes the pitchers are making."
D-backs manager Chip Hale even boasted that he called the homer as pitcher Addison Reed was on deck.
"I told Reed, I said, ‘Be ready because he’s going to hit a home run and you’re going to hit, stay in the game,’" Hale said. "For once in my life, I called one right."
Ender Inciarte and David Peralta also homered in the D-backs’ win, while Paul Goldschmidt recorded three doubles and scored twice.
That long-bomb production made up for this: Arizona went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position. The Brewers, likewise, could only muster a 1-for-9 batting line with runners in scoring position.
Arizona took a one run lead in the first, a two-run lead in the third and another one-run lead in the fifth, but the Brewers evened the score by the end of each of those innings. Unlike two similarly close outings that left the D-backs feeling so-close-but-so-far-away in a three-game sweep at St. Louis, this one went Arizona’s way.
"We’re all frustrated especially the way the last game ended there," Ahmed said of the last series. "We were in every game, just a couple plays here and there for winning two out of three."
The D-backs took some luster from the famous Miller Park Sausage Race. Milwaukee thought it had caught Chris Owings off third base for the third out of the top of the sixth inning, but Hale asked for a replay review — not before the mascot race had already begun prematurely.
* Addison Reed might’ve used a solid outing to gain a little confidence after losing his closing job a few weeks back. The reliever entered in the bottom of the seventh, after Daniel Hudson and Oliver Perez left him a bases-loaded, one-out situation. Reed handled it, inducing a pop-out by Aramis Ramirez, then striking out Jean Segura. In the eighth, he closed the inning with a strikeout of Carlos Gomez, who had opened his game with a solo home run to tie it at 1. Reed had 18 strikes in 26 pitches in 1 2/3 innings. "His slider, fastball, located it," Hale said. "One thing we’re really seeing, he’s doing a really good job of being quick to the plate … which is holding those runners on base."
* As expected, Jarrod Saltalamacchia is not finding success with his bat out of the gates. He got promoted Friday from Triple-A Reno and didn’t waste any time becoming a key part of the D-backs — Hale said he would be the primary catcher with Tuffy Gosewisch on the 15-day disabled list with an ACL tear (the severity isn’t yet known). Saltalamacchia caught the D-back pitchers without any serious issue, but he struck out three times and flied out once. In his second at-bat, he was hit by a Jimmy Nelson pitch.
* Arizona starter Rubby De La Rosa struggled after the D-backs’ bats gave him multiple leads. He went 82 pitches and five innings, making way for Daniel Hudson in the sixth. De La Rosa allowed six hits and four earned runs.
11 — Yasmany Tomas’ hit streak of 11 straight games ended Friday with an 0-for-5 performance.
Freshly out of a job as of Thursday, former Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau took in the Brewers-D-backs game with Arizona chief baseball officer Tony La Russa. As Yahoo NBA columnist Adrian Wojnarowski noted in a column Friday, the two had become friends dinnering with Bulls and Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who now has fired both of them.