The Diamondbacks rolled to an 11-1 win over the Pirates Wednesday, and they got their bats going early against Pittsburgh starter Chris Archer.
“I think the key with Archer is when he’s not commanding the baseball, you’ve got to let him pitch. And you’ve got to force him to throw the ball over the plate,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “That’s a very hard thing to do when you’re a hitter, because you get into a tentative mindset, and then he’s going to blow 95 right by you.”
Even if it’s hard, Lovullo’s teams have found a lot of success against Archer. While Lovullo was the bench coach in Boston from 2013 to 2016, Archer posted an 0-11 record to go along with a 5.38 ERA in 15 starts against those Red Sox teams. Against all other opponents over that span, Archer was 40-37 with a 3.24 ERA.
Whatever Lovullo found in Boston, he brought it to Arizona. “I certainly offered my insight. I gave it to (hitting coach) Darnell (Coles),” Lovullo said.
Archer gave up seven runs on four hits in just 3 2/3 innings pitched. He walked four batters, including three of the first four he faced. With that, the Diamondbacks jumped out to a 3-0 lead after just one inning.
“It’s like any other pitcher,” said right fielder Adam Jones, who knows Archer well from facing him in the American League the past seven seasons. “You just have to capitalize on their mistakes. … They’re very stubborn. He’s a very stubborn pitcher when it comes to giving up runs.”
Jones was one of three different Diamondbacks to homer, though only Eduardo Escobar did so off of Archer. Jones and Blake Swihart each notched theirs against right-handed pitcher Chris Stratton. Still, by that point, the Pirates were already in a 7-0 hole, after the early rattling of Archer.
“I thought we had a really good approach that allowed us to see balls and strikes, and it equated to a very, very good offensive day,” Jones said.
Swihart steps up for Peralta
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Left fielder David Peralta left the game after five innings with right trap tightness, but Lovullo does not anticipate long-term issues. “We feel like with some therapy in the training room here, he’ll be fine,” Lovullo said.
Peralta’s replacement worked out well for the Diamondbacks. Swihart entered the game in the sixth and struck out in his first at-bat, but would soon make up for that. In the top of the eighth, he sliced a ball to right-center field on the first pitch.
Jones summed it up nicely: “He hit the ball in the right spot.”
That spot was good for an inside-the-park home run. Swihart kept running, despite a stop sign at third from coach Tony Perezchica, and also drove in Escobar from second to extend the lead to 11-0.
Escobar also left the game, but Lovullo said that was due to wanting to see Carson Kelly at third base, not due to any injury.
“I just removed him from the game to get a different look at something that could potentially pop during the season when you get stretched out and put in a situation where you’ve flexed all your players into a game and you tie the game late or something happens injury-wise,” he said.
Taijuan Walker threw 17 pitches Wednesday in a rehab outing at Salt River Fields. After 10 pitches in the first inning, he tossed seven more in the second before feeling some right shoulder soreness. “As a precaution, he was removed from the game, which I feel was the right thing to do,” Lovullo said of Walker, who is recovering from elbow surgery. “He is getting an MRI right now.”
Rick Morin contributed to this article.
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