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Arizona Diamondbacks' Zach Greinke continues mastery of Miami Marlins

By
Walter Villa, The Sports Xchange
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Greinke delivers a pitch. File photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zack Greinke delivers a pitch. File photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

MIAMI -- Zach Greinke was on the mound Thursday night when Justin Bour, the Miami Marlins' lumbering 265-pound first baseman, got his first career stolen base.

"I know," Greinke said with a slight smile. "Don't rub it in."

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Other than that, Greinke was masterful against a team he virtually owns, striking out eight and leading the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 3-2 win over Miami at Marlins Park.

At some point in his career, Greinke has lost to every team in the majors ... except the Marlins. He is 5-0 with a 2.75 ERA in nine career starts against the Miami. Greinke is 3-0 with a 0.79 ERA in three starts at Marlins Park.

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"(Miami) is pretty good right now, but some years it hasn't been the best team," Greinke said. "I'll take that, though."

On Thursday, Greinke (7-3) allowed four hits, two walks and two runs (one earned) in seven innings. Fernando Rodney, a former Marlins reliever, pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his 14th save.

Arizona (34-22) was led offensively by shortstop Nick Ahmed, who went 3-for-4, including a two-run single to right in the eighth. Arizona trailed 2-1 before that hit.

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"He has come up in a lot of key situations this year, and he has done his job," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said of Ahmed. "That's the result of a lot of hard work put in when nobody is watching. He deserves these moments."

Miami (21-31) had its season-best four-game win streak snapped.

Greinke's gem overshadowed a good effort by his counterpart, Jeff Locke, who made his Marlins debut and his first major league start of 2017.

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After beginning the season on the disabled list, Locke struck out seven and walked none in 5 2/3 innings. He allowed just three hits and left with a 2-0 lead, but the Marlins bullpen couldn't hold on.

Locke was officially charged with one run.

Miami opened the scoring with two runs in the third. Rookie JT Riddle doubled off the wall in right, and Dee Gordon drew a two-out walk. Giancarlo Stanton then cleared the bases with a hard single to right-center. Right fielder Chris Owings was charged with an error when the ball got by him.

For Stanton, that was career RBI No. 578, tying him with Mike Lowell for the franchise record.

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Bour, who is in his fourth season in the majors, singled and stole his historic base in the fourth. He didn't score, so the play was somewhat inconsequential ... but it was certainly noticed by players on both sides.

"I wasn't ready for that," Greinke said. "That was disappointing. I was focused on getting an out at the plate."

Even Locke, the Miami pitcher, noticed Bour's theft.

"I didn't know he had never done it before," Locke said, "but if he steals a base on me, I would've been like, 'What the heck?' ... But good for him."

Arizona cut its deficit to 2-1 in the sixth inning. Greinke singled, advanced to second on Ahmed's single and scored on a base knock by Paul Goldschmidt off reliever David Phelps.

The Diamondbacks took a 3-2 lead in the eighth. Marlins reliever Kyle Barraclough (1-1) walked the first two batters he faced, Chris Hermann and Daniel Descalso. Reliever Brad Ziegler came in and got an out on a sacrifice bunt by Rey Fuentes.

With the Marlins playing in on the corners in hopes of cutting a run down at the plate, Ahmed slapped a line drive just over the glove of Bour to put Arizona on top.

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Miami nearly came back in the bottom of the eighth. Gordon singled and stole second with one out. Arizona reliever Archie Bradley then struck out Stanton, who swung at an 82 mph breaking ball. After a walk to Christian Yelich, Bradley struck out Marcell Ozuna, who swung at a 97 mph fastball.

That was a turning point for Arizona in terms of preserving its lead, but Locke had his own regret.

"I wish I could go back and do that sixth inning again," he said.

NOTES: Arizona CF Gregor Blanco (jammed left thumb) left the game in the third inning and was replaced by Rey Fuentes. Blanco was hurt while fielding a ball. ... Arizona recalled RHP Silvino Bracho from Triple-A Reno and optioned RHP Zack Godley to Reno. ... Arizona RHP Taijuan Walker (blister on right index finger) threw a 60-pitch simulated game. He could rejoin the rotation as soon as Sunday. ... As expected, Miami placed LHP Justin Nicolino (finger) on the disabled list.

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