|Arizona offense aims to keep rolling at Pittsburgh|
The Arizona Diamondbacks rank highly in several offense categories. The Pittsburgh Pirates are getting strong pitching, led by an effective rotation.
While there will be three more clashes for bragging rights in a series that continues Tuesday in Pittsburgh, the first sample went decidedly to Arizona and its offense. The Diamondbacks pounded out 17 hits and won the opener Monday 12-4, their seventh straight win at PNC Park.
"Didn't work our way," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said.
The Pirates, pocked with injuries, have a couple of positives coming off the Monday defeat.
Gregory Polanco went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs in his season debut in his regular right field spot. He returned from left shoulder surgery that he underwent after a baserunning injury late last season.
"I really wanted to make it back as soon as I could," said Polanco, who originally was slated to be out until perhaps sometime in June.
Pirates backup catcher Elias Diaz started and drove in a run in his first appearance of the season after battling a virus that hit him during training camp.
On the flip side, Pittsburgh reliever Nick Burdi left the Monday game after he collapsed in agony, holding the biceps on his pitching arm following a pitch.
"It just takes the breath right out you," Hurdle said.
Joe Musgrove, who started Monday for the Pirates, indicated that seeing Burdi -- who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017 -- go down had a bigger impact than the loss.
"It's really quiet around the whole clubhouse," Musgrove said. "It's not easy to watch anybody go through that, especially a teammate."
It remains to be seen if that will affect the Pirates' psyche moving forward.
In the second game of the four-game series, Arizona right-hander Luke Weaver (1-1, 3.92 ERA) is scheduled to face Pittsburgh righty Trevor Williams (1-0, 2.59 ERA).
Weaver is coming off five scoreless, four-hit innings Thursday in a 4-1 at Atlanta, including a season-best nine strikeouts. In the first inning, he struck out three after his teammates staked him to a 1-0 lead.
"Luke threw the ball extremely well," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. "We want each starter to build on one start to the next and continue to know that they set the tone for us."
Weaver has made back-to-back quality starts.
"I wouldn't say it's anything huge," he said. "I would say just trusting that you have the stuff, staying on the attack. Just fill the count early, throw a lot of strikes and then really being focused on putting those put-away pitches where you need to and not just wasting pitches. Having a purpose for every pitch, and when things are going well and things are flowing together, it seems to happen more than not."
Weaver is 1-1 with a 4.18 ERA in seven outings (four starts) against the Pirates. He is 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA in three appearances (two starts) at PNC Park.
Williams, meanwhile, has had three straight no-decisions since he threw six innings during a combined shutout of the Cincinnati Reds in his first start.
On Wednesday, he gave up two runs and six hits in six innings, with a walk and five strikeouts, in what became a 3-2, 10-inning Pirates comeback win at Detroit.
Against the Diamondbacks in his career, Williams is 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA in four career starts. The two losses came in his two starts vs. Arizona last year.
--Field Level Media