PHOENIX — For the first time this season Authentic Customized Cardinals Jerseys , the Arizona Diamondbacks had their projected big four in the lineup Thursday, although that did not keep the San Diego Padres from winning the first contest of a four-game series.
Right fielder Steven Souza Jr. was activated from the disabled list after missing the majority of the season with a pectoral injury suffered the final week of spring training, at last joining first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, center fielder A.J. Pollock and third baseman Jake Lamb in the same lineup.
Lamb and Pollock also were on the disabled list at times in the early season, keeping the foursome apart.
“When we traded for Steven, there was a lot of excitement, hoping we could get all of these guys on one lineup card,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “It means that we are getting healthy, and it means the good things are on the way.”
Although Pollock had two of Arizona’s 11 hits and lefty-hitting Lamb had an RBI single off San Diego left-hander Eric Lauer, the Padres took a 6-3 victory at Chase Field.
Arizona right-hander Zack Godley is scheduled to face Padres lefty Joey Lucchesi in the second game of the series Friday.
Without their full complement, the Diamondbacks have not produced at expected levels this season, although the installation of a humidor as well as health could play into it.
They have 381 runs, two more than the league average, but are hitting a league-low .230 and have a .699 OPS, 12th in the league and ahead of only the Mets, Miami and San Diego. The Diamondbacks worked through a 2-15 stretch in May to regain the NL West lead in June, although they fell into a virtual tie with the Dodgers with their loss Thursday.
“We’ve been two different teams in two different months,” Lovullo said. “It’s been crazy. But now that everybody is healthy, we are hoping that there is a little lineup continuity and we start to do the things that we were projected as a team that we could do.
“We’re winning games. We’re doing OK in that regard. But I feel like offensively with this group of guys on the field at one time, we could do some pretty special things. I know that these guys are anxious to get going and play together.”
The return to full health will give Arizona a chance to assess its full roster as the July 31 trade deadline approaches.
“Projecting the things we want to offensively with this group, it will give us a snapshot of what we really are,” Lovullo said. “I know we already are a good team. If guys perform, and we are talking about some good players coming back, if guys perform up to their abilities, we are going to be even better.”
San Diego, meanwhile, found hitting support from Wil Myers and Carlos Asuaje in winning Thursday, and oft-rumored trade chip Brad Hand struck out the side in the ninth inning after a leadoff infield single for his 24th save.
Nos. 2-3 hitters Asuaje and Myers had two hits and a triple apiece, and Myers drove in two runs. Asuaje, who also walked Authentic Customized Falcons Jerseys , scored twice. Asuaje has hit safely in all four games back after spending the previous six weeks in the minors because of the Padres’ glut of middle infielders.
“He’s had good at-bats,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “He’s put himself in position to earn more playing time. Whatever he makes of that opportunity is up to him.”
Godley is 9-6 with a 5.07 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP. He had a four-game winning streak broken in his last appearance, when he gave up seven runs and nine hits in a 9-6 loss to San Francisco on Sunday.
He beat the Padres in his only start against them this season, giving up two runs in a 6-2 victory on April 21. Golden has pitched well at home, going 4-2 with a 4.14 ERA in seven starts. He is 2-3 with a 5.23 ERA in 10 career appearances (seven starts) against the Padres.
Rookie Lucchesi, 4-3 with a 3.26 ERA, is to make his fourth start since returning from the disabled list with a right hip strain that kept him out for a month. He gave up four runs and five hits in his lone appearance against Arizona, a 4-2 loss April 22.
Included in Lucchesi’s repertoire is a combination changeup/curveball that has been dubbed a “churve.” He grips the pitch like a changeup but the pitch has the opposite break, down and in to a right-handed hitter instead of the true changeup movement of down and away. He also throws a true curve, which he has used more than the “churve” since his return.
SAN FRANCISCO — Right-hander Jack Flaherty returns to the scene of his major league debut last September when he closes out a four-game series for the St. Louis Cardinals against the San Francisco Giants on Sunday afternoon.
Flaherty (3-4, 3.19 ERA) will attempt not only to give the Cardinals a 3-1 win in the four-game series but to reward manager Mike Matheny with his fifth series win in seven return visits to San Francisco, where he played the final two years of his career.
Matheny has never lost a series as a manager in San Francisco, winning four and tying the other two. He is assured of at least a tie in this one as well, with the Cardinals having posted 11-2 and 3-2 wins sandwiching a 3-2 loss on Friday night.
Flaherty was just 21 years old when he debuted for the Cardinals last Sept. 1 in an 11-6 win in San Francisco.
He did not get credit for the win, going only four innings, during which he was roughed up for five runs and eight hits. He’s thus 0-0 with an 11.25 ERA against the Giants.
Brandon Crawford doubled and homered against Flaherty, and Hunter Pence lashed a two-run triple.
The California native will be seeking to snap a two-game losing streak. He has allowed eight runs and 10 hits in 10 innings in losses to Cleveland and Arizona.
Flaherty will be backed by a Cardinals defense that has been superb against the Giants, having committed just one error in the three games. That lone miscue was an errant throw by backup catcher Francisco Pena on a steal attempt.
“That’s kind of the initiative we have going on right now: bolstering our defense,” Matheny noted Saturday. “Let’s play a cleaner defensive game. And then hope that we get contributions offensively. Let’s figure out ways to make sure we’re catching the ball to help reinforce the great starts that we’ve been getting.”
Luke Weaver, John Gant and Carlos Martinez have provided that pitching in San Francisco. The Giants have totaled just seven runs in the series, extending to six games their streak of scoring three or fewer.
Martinez even contributed an RBI double to Saturday’s win.
The Giants have hit a cumulative .167 in their last six games, five of which they’ve lost.
San Francisco will be counting on ace Madison Bumgarner (1-3, 2.58) to contribute both on the mound and at the plate in the series finale.
The Giants have supported their pitching leader with just 14 runs in his six starts. He hasn’t helped his own cause; the slugger with 17 career homers has gone 0-for-14 so far this season.
The left-hander has pitched brilliantly in his last three starts, allowing just three runs (two of which were earned) and 12 hits in 21 innings.
Bumgarner often has not been at his best against the Cardinals in his career, going 3-5 with a 4.38 ERA in eight starts. He hasn’t beaten St. Louis since 2014.
One player who has never figured out Bumgarner is Kolten Wong, who has been the big hitter in the series with six hits, including a double and a triple, and two RBIs.
He’s 0-for-9 with two strikeouts in his career against Bumgarner.
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