Arizona Diamondbacks’ Torey Lovullo talks about the team’s ups and downs in a win against the Indians, April 7, 2017. (Bob McManaman/azcentral sports)
1 of 20
D-Backs’ Shelby Miller talks about his 2017 season start in a win against the Cleveland Indians, April 7, 2017. (Bob McManaman/azcentral sports)
2 of 20
azcentral sports’ Mark Faller and Dan Bickley discuss the D-Backs’ start to the season as well as the retirement of Shane Doan.
3 of 20
Diamondbacks outfielder David Peralta discusses Thursday’s win over the Giants.
4 of 20
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo discusses his team’s 3-1 start to the season.
5 of 20
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo on using humidor for baseballs at Chase Field.
6 of 20
Starting pitcher Taijuan Walker discusses his first start in a Diamondbacks uniform on Wednesday against the Giants. Bob McManaman/azcentral sports
7 of 20
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo talks about his club’s 8-6 win over the Giants on Wednesday. Bob McManaman/azcentral sports
8 of 20
The Diamondbacks need a shortstop. Scott Bordow and Jay Dieffenbach discuss that and the Hamilton hazing scandal in the Shot Clock.
9 of 20
Diamondbacks shortstop Chris Owings talks about his error in the Giants’ five-run fifth inning.
10 of 20
Diamondbacks lefty Patrick Corbin talks about his outing vs. the Giants and his struggles to retire Hunter Pence.
11 of 20
The Arizona Diamondbacks dedicated Paul Goldschmidt Field in Goodyear on April 4, 2017. It’s the 39th “Diamonds Back” Field in Arizona. Video: Arizona Diamondbacks
12 of 20
Former Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals slugger had an emergency brain procedure to address a brain hemorrhage.
USA TODAY Sports
13 of 20
You can stream baseball online using MLB.TV, but the service does have restrictions.
Reviewed.com – Jeremy Stamas
14 of 20
Diamondbacks shortstop Chris Owings delivered the game-winning hit on Sunday vs. the Giants.
15 of 20
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo talks about the hug he gave walk-off hero Chris Owings and about his first win in his new job.
16 of 20
Diamondbacks right-hander Zack Greinke gave up two runs in five innings against the San Francisco Giants on Sunday at Chase Field.
17 of 20
Diamondbacks insider Nick Piecoro and Jay Dieffenbach talk about the upcoming baseball season. The lineup appears to be solid. What about the pitching staff? Video: Cheryl Evans/azcentral sports
18 of 20
USA TODAY Sports released its annual list of players to watch for in the upcoming season.
USA TODAY Sports
19 of 20
The Diamondbacks had their photos taken on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017 at Salt River Fields.
20 of 20
Torey Lovullo talks about the D-Backs’ win against the Indians
D-Backs’ Shelby Miller describes starting his 2017 season
Shot Clock: What D-Backs’ good start means
David Peralta on hot start: ‘We’re ready for anybody’
D-Backs manager Lovullo on starting year 3-1
D-Backs manager Lovullo on using humidor for baseballs
Taijuan Walker on his first D-Backs start
Torey Lovullo on D-Backs’ win over Giants
Shot Clock: Answer to D-Backs’ shortstop question?
Chris Owings talks about his fifth-inning error
Patrick Corbin after loss to Giants
Diamondbacks dedicate ‘Paul Goldschmidt Field’
Former Dodgers star Pedro Guerrero in critical condition
How to watch every baseball game in 2017
Chris Owings discusses his walk-off hit vs. Giants
Torey Lovullo on his emotional first win as D-Backs’ manager
Zack Greinke after his start vs. Giants on Opening Day
What is in store for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2017?
MLB’s 100 Names to Know for 2017
Behind the scenes at Diamondbacks Photo Day
Carlos Santana’s shift-beating single rolled into center field and two runs scored off Shelby Miller in the second inning on Friday night. It was the kind of moment that, a year ago, likely would have been the beginning of an unsightly unraveling for the Diamondbacks’ right-hander.
But Miller escaped the inning, returned to the dugout and regrouped. He dominated in the third and fourth innings and pitched into the sixth, and while his final line in the Diamondbacks’ 7-3 win over the Cleveland Indians was nothing special – three runs in 5 1/3 innings – the outing represented a victory in more ways than one.
It was Miller facing adversity and staring it down. It was a pitcher who didn’t record a win at Chase Field all last season doing so in his first time out this year. It was a fresh start in a new year.
“Yeah, it’s nice,” Miller said, jumping into his answer before a reporter had finished the question. “I didn’t pitch good at home last year at all. We didn’t win, either, at home last year. … Playing this good early is so fun. Hopefully we continue to do that. We will.”
BOX SCORE: Diamondbacks 7, Indians 3
After games during a painful 2016 season, Miller stood dutifully at his locker while reporters asked question after question. He had no answers, and at times he looked to be on the verge of tears. His start on Friday was just one game, but in his mind it appeared to carry more significance than that.
“It feels good,” he said.
The Diamondbacks have played five games. They have won four of them. They have rallied from deficits in each of their victories, seemingly following some carbon copy of a script, struggling early before storming ahead in the middle innings.
They keep delivering key hits. They keep putting pressure on their opponent. They keep getting competent relief work from their revamped, patched-together bullpen. And they keep winning, beating teams – first the San Francisco Giants, now the Indians – that were alive into October a year ago.
“Anytime you win a game, it doesn’t matter how you do it,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “We’re going to celebrate it and feel it and touch it and enjoy it and try to come out and do it again tomorrow.”
Miller, whose fastball sat mostly in the mid-90s and touched 98, was overpowering for stretches. He mowed through the middle innings, at one point retiring 10 in a row, exhibiting the kind of dominance he never did last year in any of his 10 starts at Chase Field, where he posted a 7.39 ERA.
Miller said his turnaround on Friday night could be attributed to increased use of his curveball, a pitch that helped get Indians hitters off his fastball and cutter.
“Once I started flipping that in and showing that I’m going to throw that, it made them not as comfortable in the box,” he said. “I think maybe if I used it a little earlier I could have got out of some jams and not had that second inning be so explosive.”
From there, the Diamondbacks’ hitters again carried the load. They scored twice in the fourth off Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin then exploded for five more in the fifth, stringing together hits borne of tough at-bats and hard-hit balls. Yasmany Tomas doubled twice. Paul Goldschmidt drove home two with a double of his own, a shot that one-hopped the wall in center and gave the Diamondbacks their first lead.
“I’ve faced them in the past for years and years and always thought highly of them and what they’ve been doing so far is so impressive,” Miller said. “We expect it almost; it’s kind of weird. They’re so good. They don’t quit. They don’t give up on at-bats. That’s one through eight. All of them are grinding out every single inning, every single out. For us as a pitching staff, bullpen, we appreciate how hard they work and I’m definitely glad they’re on our team.”
Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or nick.[email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.