PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks didn’t waste any time breaking this game open.
Ketel Marte and Alex Avila each hit two-run homers and the Diamondbacks scored eight runs in the first three innings to power their way to a 9-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday night.
“We just did a good job of being aggressive in the zone,” Arizona center fielder Jon Jay said. “You saw guys put some good barrels on balls and we were ready to hit right from the start.”
Marte’s blast capped a three-run first, while Avila’s shot in the third extended the NL West-leading Diamondbacks’ advantage to 8-0.
Jay doubled in each of the first two innings, the second of which drove in two runs. The center fielder is hitting .340 in 13 games since being acquired June 6 from Kansas City in a trade.
“I feel very fortunate to have been traded here,” Jay said. “It’s a great group of guys who know how to go about their business. You can see why this team is successful.”
Staked to the early cushion, Zack Godley (8-5) won his third straight start. He gave up three runs — two earned — and four hits in six innings with five strikeouts and three walks.
“A lot of times it’s hard to pitch in games like this because you can lose your concentration with the big lead, but he kept making pitches,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said.
Godley, though, said he didn’t feel any pressure in trying to hold the eight-run advantage.
“Heck, I’ll take eight runs in the first three innings every time,” he said with a smile.
Avila finished with three RBIs as he also doubled home a run in the ninth. The veteran catcher entered the game hitting .109.
Chad Kuhl (5-5) lasted just two-plus innings and was lifted following Avila’s homer. Kuhl was tagged for eight runs and eight hits after allowing three earned runs or less in seven of his previous eight starts.
“I don’t think balls were coming out (of his hand) as they have for whatever that reason may be,” Kuhl said. “I just felt like tonight was a little bit different. They hammered balls over the plate. You just try your best to move on from this one.”
Kuhl was supposed to pitch Wednesday night against Milwaukee but the game was rained out after a delay of slightly more than two hours. Lovullo thought that might have worked in the Diamondbacks’ favor.
“He had to reverse his game plan,” Lovullo said. “He thought he was starting against the Brewers and then he had less than a day to prepare for us. That’s difficult.”
Pittsburgh rookie Austin Meadows had three hits.
Daniel Descalso’s sacrifice fly brought home the game’s first run before Marte followed with his sixth home run into the right-field stands. Paul Goldschmidt singled in Jay in the second to make it 6-0.
Francisco Cervelli hit an RBI single in the fourth inning for the Pirates. Starling Marte doubled in a run and scored on Colin Moran’s sacrifice fly in the sixth.
The Diamondbacks have scored 35 runs in going 3-1 against Pittsburgh this season.
Diamondbacks: RHP Shelby Miller (Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery) rejoined the team following four minor league rehab starts and is scheduled to be activated from the disabled list Monday to pitch at Miami. Miller was injured April 22, 2017, while facing the Los Angeles Dodgers. He will take the rotation spot of RHP Matt Koch, who was optioned to Triple-A Reno, while RHP Jake Barrett was recalled from the Aces to provide extra bullpen help and got the final out.
Pirates: RHP AJ Schugel (right shoulder discomfort) has started playing catch on flat ground at the team’s spring training facility in Bradenton, Florida. The reliever has been on the DL all season.
TIME TO MAKE UP
Wednesday’s rainout will be made up July 14 when the Pirates and Brewers play a traditional doubleheader starting at 12:35 p.m. ET.
Diamondbacks: LHP Patrick Corbin (6-5, 3.48 ERA) is 1-2 with a 5.90 ERA in five career starts against the Pirates.
Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (4-5, 4.42) has won both starts with a 1.54 ERA since being activated from the DL on June 10. He missed two weeks with a sprained right ring finger.