Thomas hits 2 of Diamondbacks’ 5 HRs in win over Pirates
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Rookie Alek Thomas hit two of Arizona’s five home runs and the Diamondbacks opened a long road trip by beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-6 Friday night.
Ketel Marte homered while extending his hitting streak to 15 games and Christian Walker and Jake McCarthy also connected for Arizona.
Thomas hit solo drive in the fourth and seventh innings for his first career multi-homer game while raising his season total to five. The homer in the seventh was the second of back-to-back blasts with fellow rookie McCarthy that pushed the Diamondbacks’ lead to 8-3.
“It’s pretty big because I haven’t hit two home runs in a game since high school,” Thomas said. “It gives me some confidence to say, ‘I can do this, I can be here in the major leagues for a good amount of time.'”
Thomas was considered one of the top prospects in baseball coming into the season. The 22-year-old center fielder hasn’t disappointed Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo.
“He’s doing a really good job,” Lovullo said. “The thing is to keep him on edge, keep him hungry. That’s the main objective right now. He’s a good baseball player and he’s improving every single day.”
Ke’Bryan Hayes’ three-run homer in the ninth off J.B. Wendelken drew the Pirates to 8-6. Mark Melancon then got the last three outs for his 11th save in 12 chances.
Thomas, Walker and Josh Rojas had two hits each for Arizona, which began a 10-game trip with its third win in its last four games. Thomas also had three RBIs.
“It’s a good way to start the trip,” Walker said. “A lot of people contributed.”
Merrill Kelly (4-3) won for the first time in five starts, giving up three runs – two earned – in five innings. He allowed five hits, walked four and struck out two.
“He was in a bit of a fistfight,” Lovullo said. “It wasn’t the perfect outing for him, but he was doing everything he could to keep us in the game.”
Pittsburgh rookie Jack Suwinski had his first three-hit game. Hayes and Bryan Reynolds added two hits each.
“We’d like to not be down in those later innings, but we’re super young and we never feel like we’re out of a game, no matter what the score is,” Hayes said. “Whenever we’re down, there are always people in the dugout saying, ‘Don’t give these at-bats away. Every at-bat counts and you never know what can happen.'”
JT Brubaker (0-5) remained winless in 11 starts this season as was tagged for six runs – five earned – and eight hits in four-plus innings. The Diamondbacks hit three of their homers off Brubaker, who allowed just two unearned runs in 11 2/3 innings in his previous two starts.
The Pirates were coming off a three-game road sweep of the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Diamondbacks broke a 3-all tie with a three-run fifth that chased Brubaker. Marte hit a two-run home run, a screaming line drive into the first row of the right-field stands, and David Peralta doubled and scored on a wild pitch by Anthony Banda.
Arizona made it 8-3 with the back-to-back homers in the seventh off Yerry De Los Santos.
Pittsburgh opened the scoring in the first when Hayes hit a leadoff double and scored on Kelly’s wild pitch.
Arizona moved in front 2-1 in the second as Walker led off with a homer and Thomas hit a sacrifice fly.
The Pirates countered with a run-scoring groundout by Tyler Heineman in the second and Suwinski’s RBI single in the third but the 3-2 lead did not last.
The Diamondbacks activated right-handed reliever Taylor Widener from the taxi squad. Left-hander Paul Fry was optioned to Triple-A Reno but will remain with the major league team on the taxi squad.
Diamondbacks: SS Nick Ahmed has been shut down indefinitely because of right shoulder soreness. On the COVID-19 injured list since May 16, the two-time Gold Glove winner was scheduled to start playing in extended spring training games this week. … RHP Keynan Middleton (right elbow inflammation) was activated from the 15-day IL and optioned to Reno.
Pirates: INF Josh VanMeter (fractured left ring finger) was placed on the 10-day IL after being injured Wednesday in a win at Los Angeles. DH Daniel Vogelbach (right hamstring strain) was activated from the IL.
Diamondbacks: RHP Zach Davies (2-3, 4.84) starts Saturday and is 0-2 with an 8.31 ERA in his last three outings.
Pirates: Rookie RHP Roansy Contreras (1-0, 2.55) has allowed two runs in 10 innings in two starts since being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis but did not factor in the decision in either game.
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