D-backs strike early, hold off Angels
PHOENIX -- The Diamondbacks brought the pitching home to Chase Field.
After the starting rotation finished an eight-game road trip in which it gave up two earned runs or fewer in six of the final seven games, Chase Anderson carried it over -- with great support from Daniel Hudson and the bullpen -- in a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.
Anderson gave up two runs in six innings, another strong outing for a pitcher whose most misleading statistic this season is his record. Anderson has given up as many as three earned runs in just three of his 13 starts, but a lack of run support -- 2.69 runs a game while he is on the mound -- prevented his record from reflecting that. He is 3-1 with a 2.84 ERA.
"He's our stopper as a starter," manager Chip Hale said. "I've said for a couple of weeks now that Chase should be in the discussion to be one of the All-Star pitchers."
And while Paul Goldschmidt's 19th home run and Yasmany Tomas' three hits, including an RBI on his first major league triple, staked Anderson to a 3-0 lead, the bullpen also played a shut-down role.
It started with Anderson. After a diving stop and throw from the hole by shortstop Nick Ahmed turned what would have been a single for Albert Pujols into an RBI groundout, Anderson stranded runners at first and third to get out of the sixth with a 3-2 lead.
David Hernandez, Oliver Perez, Daniel Hudson and Brad Ziegler pitched out of tough situations in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, when the Angels challenged at every turn but could not push across the tying run.
"A great job by our bullpen and Chase," Hale said.
Hernandez gave up two hits to start the seventh before getting Erick Aybar to pop out on a bunt attempt. Perez got lefty Kole Calhoun to pop out to short center on the first pitch. Hudson then entered to face Mike Trout, and got Trout to ground out to third to end the inning.
Hudson got Pujols to fly out on a 96 mph fastball to open the eighth and struck out David Freese before giving up a two-out triple to Matt Joyce. Hudson struck out Joey Giavotella on a changeup to get out of the inning, and Ziegler got his ninth save by getting a double play after a leadoff single in the ninth.
"Ollie did a great job. You get to Trout and Pujols, we wanted Hudson on them," Hale said. "That's our best guy in that situation against those three guys. Trout, Pujols and Freese. We had him in the right spot and he came through for us. That was huge tonight."
The D-backs considered whether to pitch to Trout with runners on second and third or to walk Trout and pitch to Pujols with a force at every base in the seventh. Against two of the hottest hitters in the American League, it was not an easy call. In the end, they chose to go after Trout, maybe not quite as hot as Pujols, who entered with 11 homers in his last 18 games.
"You pitch your nastiest stuff to this guy," Hale said of his conversation on the mound with Hudson and catching Welington Castillo. "But if it doesn't work out, the next guy is pretty darn good, too, and maybe hotter. I think they felt like they wanted to go after Trout."
It was a tough spot.
"I knew who was coming up. It's hard not to know when Trout or Pujols are coming up. I was just trying to make a good pitch and get out of these. I was trying not to be too fine with it. As hot as Pujols is, and Trout is the best hitter in the American League, or top three at least, just trying not to do too much."
Hudson has been scored upon in only once of his last 12 appearances as his ERA has dropped to 3.26, and he is 1-1 with three holds and a save in that stretch, emerging as a top option late in close games.
"I don't really know about roles, really," Hudson said. "I just take the ball whenever they ask me to take it, whether it is sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, third. I don't really care. I'm not worried about when I pitch. I just want to go out there and get three outs whenever they ask me to."
Castillo has two homers in 27 at-bats since joining the D-backs on June 4, and he seems to have developed a nice rapport with his new pitching staff. The starters have given up two runs combined the last four times he was behind the plate.
27 -- consecutive games in which Paul Goldschmidt has reached via hit or walk, the longest active streak in the majors. Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto has reached in 26 straight.
* Jake Lamb was given a day off when the Angels started left-hander Hector Santiago on Wednesday, in part because of the matchup and in part because the D-backs plan to be very cautious after his return from a stress reaction in his left foot. Aaron Hill started at third. "We wanted to go with the best matchup, number one," Hale said. "Number two, I don't want to run Lamb out there five, six, seven days in a row right now, and probably not the rest of the year. We are probably going to give him those days when we can, and when the matchups are in Hill's favor, it is better to do it then. I just want to be very careful. We played him a lot in spring training. He's a big guy. Obviously we have the hot spot there on the foot, the stress reaction. Just don't want it to come back. He's too important."
* Archie Bradley is scheduled throw about 45 pitches in a simulated game Thursday at Salt River Fields before possibly going out on a rehab assignment. "The reports in the side work have been really good," Hale said. "He said he is starting to feel like he did at the start of the year." Bradley is expected to make at least one rehab start before possibly returning. "He'd have to pitch," Hale said. Bradley, 2-3 with a 5.80 ERA, has been on the disabled list since June 4 with right shoulder tendinitis. He missed time earlier in the season after being struck in the face by a line drive April 28.
RHP Allen Webster (1-0, 3.18) is coming off a victory in his major league debut at San Francisco. He was recalled from Triple-A Reno after the team moved Josh Collmenter to the bullpen.
Chip Hale and Steve Kerr, contemporaries at Arizona in the 1980s and two of the most accomplished athletes in school history, renewed contact Wednesday after Kerr's Golden State Warriors won the NBA title. "I texted him this morning and he got right back to me," Hale said. "I was amazed, but that's the kind of guy he is. Very happy for him. And obviously I grew up in the Bay Area, grew up a Warriors fan. It's really cool to see it go back to the Bay."