Bats come alive as D-backs dump Yankees in series opener
PHOENIX -- Perhaps it was facing a pitcher making his Major League debut. Maybe it was the iconic uniform of the opponent that got the Diamondbacks' juices flowing, or the big crowd it brought along. It could have been master trumpeter Jesse McGuire, who stirred memories of the 2001 postseason with his rendition of the National Anthem.
Whatever it was that awoke the bats and simultaneously locked in Robbie Ray, the D-backs should look to bottle it for an extended run.
Jake Lamb hit a go-ahead three-run home run, the D-backs were clutch with runners in scoring position and Ray delivered his best start in a month -- and perhaps longer according to his manager -- as Arizona cruised to a 12-2 victory over the Yankees on Monday night at Chase Field.
Coming off a series in which they were held to seven runs in four losses and were 4 for 31 with runners in scoring position, the D-backs were 6 for 17 in such situations and collected 15 hits. Struggling Paul Goldschmidt homered and Nick Ahmed doubled twice. Even Ray picked up a hit and his first career RBI.
The win ended a five-game losing streak and snapped a seven-game skid at home.
"It was big. We were all, we weren't stressing but we were all kind of feeling it, weren't getting it done," said Lamb, who finished a triple shy of the cycle." A game like this, where everyone was a part of it, including Robbie Ray, was big for us.
"A game like this, you can take a deep breath."
"It was happening as the game was going on," manager Chip Hale said of his players exhaling and relaxing after they had fallen into last place in the National League West.
Goldschmidt hit a 410-foot homer on the first pitch he saw from Chad Green, who was making his debut, in the first inning and the D-backs added a run in the second. But the Yankees tied it at 2 in the fifth before Ray stranded the bases loaded.
Lamb regained the lead for the D-backs when he launched a Green fastball into the pool area in right-center field. Lamb's fifth home run came on a full-count pitch after he fell behind 0-2 to start the at-bat.
"Especially in that situation, a guy on second, I was trying to get a base hit," Lamb said. "Just because we've been struggling a little bit, you don't want to do too much in that situation. I got the barrel on it and the ball flew."
The D-backs scored five times in the inning and added on in each inning afterward against the New York bullpen.
Meanwhile, Ray flew through his first three innings and kept the Yankees from scoring multiple runs in any inning before finishing strong with a strikeout of Jacoby Ellsbury on a 95 mph fastball to end the seventh.
It was Ray's longest outing of the season and Hale called it the left-hander's best -- this season or last.
"I was just emptying the tank," said Ray, who gave up six hits and struck out six in seven innings. "I knew I had a little left in there."