• Zack Greinke on impressive outing vs. Rockies

    Zack Greinke on impressive outing vs. Rockies

  • Manager Torey Lovullo after win over Rockies

    Manager Torey Lovullo after win over Rockies

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    Manager Torey Lovullo after D-Backs lose series vs. Nationals

  • Braden Shipley after walking six in loss to Nationals

    Braden Shipley after walking six in loss to Nationals

  • D-Backs' Torey Lovullo after loss to Nationals

    D-Backs’ Torey Lovullo after loss to Nationals

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    Diamondbacks’ Robbie Ray strikes out 10 in loss to Nationals

  • Torey Lovullo on D-Backs' 6-3 win over Nationals

    Torey Lovullo on D-Backs’ 6-3 win over Nationals

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    Taijuan Walker on his short start vs. Nationals

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    Shot Clock: Rockets sizzle, D-Backs fizzle?

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    A.J. Pollock on controversial play: “You guys saw the replay”

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    Descalso talks about walk-off home run over Rockies

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    Lovullo on pitching, more in D-Backs’ wild win

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    Corbin discusses his scoreless outing vs. Rockies

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    Fernando Rodney talks about his latest blown save

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    Zack Greinke after outing vs. Rockies

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    D-Backs’ Shelby Miller to have Tommy John surgery

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    Diamondbacks fall 3-1 to Rockies

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    Chris Owings on his two-homer night

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    D-Backs’ Taijuan Walker on his 11-strikeout performance vs. Padres

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    D-Backs’ Shelby Miller considering Tommy John surgery

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    Fernando Rodney reacts to his blown save against the Padres

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    Torey Lovullo reacts to Diamondbacks’ ‘heartbreaking’ loss

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    Diamondbacks attendance hits new low

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    Diamondbacks pull away from Padres for 9-3 win

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    Diamondbacks hold on for win over Padres

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    Shelby Miller on his injury, visit with team doctor

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    Arizona Diamondbacks’ Shelby Miller discusses arm injury

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    David Peralta on his record-setting night

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    Robbie Ray reacts to Saturday’s win over the Dodgers

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    Diamondbacks use 9-run eighth to overwhelm Dodgers

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    Paul Goldschmidt on D-Backs’ offense vs. Padres

  • Manager Torey Lovullo breaks down D-Backs' loss, road trip

    Manager Torey Lovullo breaks down D-Backs’ loss, road trip

DENVER – The list of disappointments from the Diamondbacks’ 2016 season is long, and on it somewhere are the names Zack Greinke and Paul Goldschmidt. Neither would be at the top, neither at the bottom. But both players came away from last year with bad tastes in their mouths. Both thought this year would be better.

The Diamondbacks are less than five weeks into their season, but so far both are right. The two played key roles in a victory on Friday night over the Colorado Rockies, Goldschmidt slamming a pair of homers, Greinke pitching effectively for seven innings, and the Diamondbacks survived a harrowing ninth inning to escape Coors Field with a 6-3 win.

After the Rockies loaded the bases against reliever Archie Bradley in the ninth, closer Fernando Rodney entered and retired each of the two batters he faced, a fireman performance that helps ease concerns about his rocky start to the year.

BOX SCORE: Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 3

A year ago, both Greinke and Goldschmidt started their seasons in uncharacteristic fashion. In the middle of May, Greinke carried an ERA north of 5.00 while Goldschmidt had a batting average in the .220s.

But this year, the two are big reasons why the Diamondbacks own an 18-13 record and are playing like the team many thought they would be last season. Greinke is again pitching like an ace, diminished velocity be damned, and Goldschmidt’s production has returned to its MVP-caliber levels.

On Friday, they did what they normally do at Coors Field. Goldschmidt hit a solo homer to center in the first, then lined a three-run homer just inside the left-field foul pole in the third, both shots coming off Rockies right-hander German Marquez. Counting his home run in the ninth inning on Thursday afternoon in Washington, it gave Goldschmidt homers in three consecutive at-bats.

“He’s such a humble man, he’s not going to predict anything or talk about things like that,” manager Torey Lovullo said, when told Goldschmidt said he didn’t expect a power surge might be coming. “But he’s got a great approach and he’s got that in him, and I think he can beat you in so many ways, and today is just a case of him hitting two home runs and helping us win the game.”

Goldschmidt also singled and walked, finishing with five RBIs. His numbers so far this season – .330 average, .470 on-base, .594 slugging – more closely resemble the production he logged from 2013-2015, when he rated among baseball’s best hitters.

In 45 games at Coors, Goldschmidt owns a .313/.409/.542 line with eight homers in 179 at-bats, typically strong numbers for a good hitter in a good hitter’s park. But Greinke, too, continued his success at Coors Field, a place where he doesn’t exactly enjoy going to work.

“No,” he said, “I hate pitching here. It’s really tough.”

And yet in eight career starts, his teams are 6-2 and Greinke has yet to take a loss, owning a more-than-respectable 4.03 ERA.

“There’s just a lot of good things for hitting here and a lot of bad things for pitching,” he said.

Greinke’s strong performance was his latest in a season that has featured only one subpar start. Through seven starts, he has a 3.09 ERA. He has posted quality starts in five of them, including the past four in a row.

Greinke has never been able to put a finger on just what went wrong during his rough stretches last season, believing his results never fully aligned with the way he pitched. But he attributes his success this year to two things: how he’s locating his fastball and his improved slider, a pitch he’s been throwing harder than last year.

“My fastball command has been pretty good,” he said. “My slider has been as good as it’s been in a long time. Maybe the defense has gotten better and it’s making things smoother? I don’t know. I feel like I have been making better pitches. The results are better. Everything has been better.”

MORE: Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings flexing his power muscles

The slider was especially good against the Rockies. He threw the pitch 31 times and induced 10 swings-and-misses.

“Zack painted the slider down and away to the right-handed hitters, painted the fastball away to right-handed hitters,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “He had good command of those two pitches, brought the change-up into play in the sixth and seventh innings. Typical-type Greinke game where he located the ball, changed speeds. He does those things on a regular basis.”

Greinke departed after seven with a 6-2 lead, and Bradley worked a scoreless eighth before the Rockies collected a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases to start the ninth. Bradley recovered to strike out Dustin Garneau, at which point Lovullo went to Rodney, who retired Chris Valaika (ground out) and Charlie Blackmon (fly out) to pick up the save.

It’s his second consecutive successful save conversion on this trip after he blew back-to-back chances on the previous homestand, including one against the Rockies last weekend.

“Credit Fernando for coming in there and executing and getting the job done with a bunch of traffic,” Lovullo said. “I know he typically likes to start innings, but it was a great team moment there in the ninth inning.”

Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.

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Saturday’s game

Diamondbacks at Rockies

When: 5:10 p.m.

Where: Coors Field, Denver.

Pitchers: Diamondbacks LHP Patrick Corbin (2-3, 2.29) vs. Rockies LHP Tyler Anderson (1-3, 7.71).

TV/Radio: FSAZ/KMVP-FM (98.7), KHOV-FM (105.1).

Corbin sports the lowest ERA among Diamondbacks starters. … He threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings against the Rockies on Sunday at Chase Field, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out six. … Corbin did not fare well at Coors Field last season, giving up eight runs in 6 1/3 innings in two appearances. … Anderson faced the Diamondbacks last weekend, giving up six runs in five innings. … He’s faced mostly right-handed hitters this season but has struggled against the few lefties he’s seen, allowing a .300 average (9 for 30) with three home runs.

Coming up

Sunday: At Colorado, 12:10 p.m., Diamondbacks RHP Taijuan Walker (3-1, 4.19) vs. Rockies RHP Tyler Chatwood (2-4, 5.40).

Monday: Off.

Tuesday: At Chase Field, 6:40 p.m., Diamondbacks TBA vs. Tigers RHP Justin Verlander (2-2, 4.21).

Wednesday: At Chase Field, 6:40 p.m., Diamondbacks LHP Robbie Ray (2-2, 3.47) vs. Tigers LHP Matt Boyd (2-2, 3.78).