Marte makes a dramatic return

PHOENIX — A car picked up new Diamondbacks third baseman Andy Marte at Sky Harbor International about the time the game started Thursday as clubhouse attendant Jimmy Garrett neatly stitched the No. 28 and "Marte" on the back of a blank Sedona red jersey.

The paperwork already had been taken care of — Marte had signed his contract before catching his flight from Fresno, Calif.

By the second inning, Marte was in the Diamondbacks’ clubhouse, the replacement for Martin Prado, who was traded at about 1 p.m.

By the sixth, Marte was the hero of a 7-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Marte’s two-run pinch-hit home run in the sixth inning broke a 3-3 tie. It was his first major league at-bat since Oct. 3, 2010, while with Cleveland, and his first homer since Sept. 8 of that year.

Returns do not get much happier.

"They told me to be ready, I might pinch-hit, so I went to the cage and started getting loose," Marte said.

Diamondbacks 7, Pirates 4

Shortstop Nick Ahmed led off the sixth inning with a single before Marte hit the second pitch he saw, a changeup, into the left field seats for a 5-3 lead.

"It feels great to be back," said Marte, who spent parts of six seasons in the majors with Atlanta and Cleveland. "I went to Triple-A and worked hard, tried to prove I can still play here. That’s what I’m trying to."

Once a top prospect in the Atlanta and Cleveland organizations, Marte was leading the Pacific Coast League with a .330 batting average when he was promoted.

Arizona manager Kirk Gibson saw he saw Marte in the dugout in the second inning.

"I said ‘Good to see you. Get ready to win a game,’" Gibson said.

Marte complied.

Nick Ahmed made a bare-handed catch and a 360-move as the middleman in the double play started by Aaron Hill in the eighth inning. The D-backs have called Ahmed an 80 fielder, the highest mark on the scout’s scale, and he looked it there.

338 — Victories by Kirk Gibson, breaking a tie with Bob Melvin for the most victories by a manager in franchise history.

*Nick Ahmed also had his first major league home run, and he is 11-for-38 since the second week of July.

*Addison Reed has converted his last seven save opportunities, six since the All-Star break. 

*Jordan Pacheco took advantage of his first Arizona start with a two-hit game, extending one rally with a fourth-inning double and capping another with a fifth-inning single. Pacheco started at third base and could continue to get playing time there after the trade of Martin Prado and the retirement of Eric Chavez. Didi Gregorius and Cliff Pennington, when he returns, also are candidates to play third. 

The nonwaiver trade deadline has passed, but teams have until Aug. 31 to add players that will be eligible for the postseason, so more jockeying will be done. The D-backs expect to be busy as players go through the waiver process, this time more with an eye toward the future than in 2011, when they added Aaron Hill and John McDonald from Toronto in August.

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