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    D-Backs’ Zack Greinke on outing vs. Cardinals

  • Torey Lovullo on D-Backs' 7-1 win over Cardinals

    Torey Lovullo on D-Backs’ 7-1 win over Cardinals

  • D-Backs manager Tony Lovullo on Robbie Ray's condition

    D-Backs manager Tony Lovullo on Robbie Ray’s condition

  • Daniel Descalso on liner that hit Robbie Ray

    Daniel Descalso on liner that hit Robbie Ray

  • Shot Clock: Focus key for J.D. Martinez

    Shot Clock: Focus key for J.D. Martinez

  • Torey Lovullo on Martinez's grand slam, Godley's outing

    Torey Lovullo on Martinez’s grand slam, Godley’s outing

  • J.D. Martinez on strong performance in win

    J.D. Martinez on strong performance in win

  • Ketel Marte on his inside-the-park home run

    Ketel Marte on his inside-the-park home run

  • Lovullo talks about the D-Backs' 10-3 win over Atlanta

    Lovullo talks about the D-Backs’ 10-3 win over Atlanta

  • Diamondbacks fall 8-3 to Braves

    Diamondbacks fall 8-3 to Braves

  • J.D. Martinez on playing in the NL, seeing new pitching

    J.D. Martinez on playing in the NL, seeing new pitching

  • Lovullo raves about Greinke's outing vs. Braves

    Lovullo raves about Greinke’s outing vs. Braves

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    Zack Greinke discusses outing vs. Braves

  • Torey Lovullo and Robbie Ray discuss Diamondbacks' loss to Nationals

    Torey Lovullo and Robbie Ray discuss Diamondbacks’ loss to Nationals

  • Anthony Banda talks about his MLB debut

    Anthony Banda talks about his MLB debut

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    Lovullo reacts to the D-Backs’ loss to the Nationals

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    Diamondbacks edge Nationals in walk-off win

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    Diamondbacks introduce J.D. Martinez at Chase Field

  • Torey Lovullo on Corbin's outing, series victory vs. Reds

    Torey Lovullo on Corbin’s outing, series victory vs. Reds

  • Patrick Corbin on his strong start vs. Reds

    Patrick Corbin on his strong start vs. Reds

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    J.D. Martinez talks about getting hit by a pitch vs. Reds

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    Manager Torey Lovullo on loss to Reds, Martinez’s injury

  • Zack Greinke on his outing vs. Reds

    Zack Greinke on his outing vs. Reds

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    Shot Clock: D-Backs seize moment with trade

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    Torey Lovullo on D-Backs’ win over Reds, acquisition of J.D. Martinez

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    Shot Clock: Robbie Ray brings intensity to mound

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    Shot Clock: D-Backs fear Cubs; ASU’s hot seat

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    Torey Lovullo after D-Backs’ fifth straight loss

  • Zack Godley on rough start vs. Braves

    Zack Godley on rough start vs. Braves

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    Patrick Corbin goes five innings vs. Braves

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    Randall Delgado on Braves’ four-run, go-ahead rally

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    Torey Lovullo after D-Backs lose again vs. Braves

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    Torey Lovullo talks D-Backs’ strategy in loss to Braves

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    Taijuan Walker on his night vs. Braves

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    Shot Clock: D-Backs’ trade deadline ideas

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    Shot Clock: Playoffs for D-Backs and Suns?

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    Diamondbacks fall 2-1 to Reds

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    Lovullo on the Diamondbacks’ loss to the Reds

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    Diamondbacks hold off Reds for 6-3 win

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    Shot Clock: 1 more chance for D-Backs’ Rodney?

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    Fernando Rodney after blown save vs. Dodgers

  • Torey Lovullo after Dodgers sweep D-Backs in LA

    Torey Lovullo after Dodgers sweep D-Backs in LA

  • Robbie Ray on his outing, tough loss vs. Dodgers

    Robbie Ray on his outing, tough loss vs. Dodgers

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    Torey Lovullo on D-Backs’ second consecutive loss in LA

  • Zack Godley talks about his outing vs. Dodgers.

    Zack Godley talks about his outing vs. Dodgers.

  • Gregor Blanco after D-Backs' loss to Dodgers

    Gregor Blanco after D-Backs’ loss to Dodgers

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    Shot Clock: How should Suns, D-Backs prioritize improvement?

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    Chris Owings on Kershaw’s night, D-Backs’ late push

  • Torey Lovullo on D-Backs' late push in loss vs. Dodgers

    Torey Lovullo on D-Backs’ late push in loss vs. Dodgers

  • Dodgers vs D-Backs preview

    Dodgers vs D-Backs preview

  • Lovullo, Marte, Walker discuss D-Backs' walk-off win

    Lovullo, Marte, Walker discuss D-Backs’ walk-off win

  • Four Diamondbacks react to making NL All-Star team

    Four Diamondbacks react to making NL All-Star team

  • Archie Bradley on D-Backs' win over Rockies

    Archie Bradley on D-Backs’ win over Rockies

  • Zack Greinke on his effective outing vs. Rockies

    Zack Greinke on his effective outing vs. Rockies

  • Robbie Ray on his outing in loss vs. Rockies

    Robbie Ray on his outing in loss vs. Rockies

  • Chris Owings homers twice in loss to Rockies

    Chris Owings homers twice in loss to Rockies

  • Torey Lovullo talks loss to Cardinals

    Torey Lovullo talks loss to Cardinals

ST. LOUIS – In the weeks leading up to Opening Day, many of the key questions surrounding the Diamondbacks involved the fate of right-hander Zack Greinke. Not just whether he would bounce back from a down year or how he would fair with diminished velocity, but also whether he would still call Arizona home by the time the trade deadline had come and gone.

With Monday afternoon’s deadline mere hours away, the Diamondbacks are square in the heart of a pennant race, Greinke is pitching about as effectively as he ever has, and the thought of unloading him seems entirely untenable – and not for the reasons many would have assumed in the offseason.

Greinke turned in yet another masterful performance on Saturday night against the St. Louis Cardinals, tossing seven innings of one-run ball in a 7-1 win at Busch Stadium. He allowed just five baserunners. He struck out seven. He once again followed a Diamondbacks loss by leading them to a win.

He has been every bit the ace they sought when they committed $206.5 million over six years to get him two winters ago. And though it can be hard to tell by watching him, Greinke says he would rank this year up there with just about any he’s had in his big-league career in terms of enjoyment.

“It’s been amazing. … Some of it might be having kids now and how much fun they are to be around,” said Greinke, who welcomed his family’s second child last month. “It’s just been a great year all the way, at the field, at home, everywhere.”

The circumstances surrounding the organization entering the year were hard to ignore, particularly when it came to Greinke’s contract, which eats up such a disproportionate amount of the team’s budget that many in the industry figured the club’s new front office would do all it could to unload it. Greinke figured anything was possible, but he said he didn’t dwell on the idea of being traded.

“Not really too much,” he said. “It’s possible, but there’s a lot of circumstances that have to happen in order for me to get traded, kind of like (Justin) Verlander this year. It’s tough to do sometimes. It’s a possibility, but I’d put the odds against it.”

The Tigers are finding with Verlander that it’s never easy to move a player with such an unwieldy contract. But there’s little doubt Greinke’s trade value has sharply improved given how he’s thrown. In terms of statistics, Greinke’s season compares favorably with some of the best of his career.

His 2.88 ERA might be high, relatively speaking, but he’s never had a season in which he’s both struck out as many and walked as few as he has this year. And while his home runs allowed are up, so are everyone’s; the sport is on pace for an all-time high.

Said first baseman Paul Goldschmidt: “We faced him for three straight years in LA, so I think that’s where my mind goes, and I’m like, ‘He’s struck me out on that pitch before.’ I’m happy to be playing defense behind him rather than facing him.”

It’s been a dramatic turnaround for someone whose contract looked, not long ago, like an albatross. Still, Greinke said the contract didn’t make him feel any worse about his subpar 2016 season.

“I think it was more just that I knew I should have been doing better sometimes,” he said, “and that was the main thing that was disappointing, not doing what I felt like I should do.”

His performance on Saturday was his fourth quality start in five outings this month. The Cardinals’ lone run scored in the first, when they opened the game with three consecutive hits. Greinke proceeded to retire the next 12 he faced and 20 of the next 23.

The outing improved the club’s record to 7-3 in games Greinke has started following a loss. In the times when he’s factored into the decision, he’s 7-1.

“It’s nice,” Greinke said, “but I think most of those times we get like seven or 10 runs. It’s just good timing for everything, also.”

More: Robbie Ray on DL after taking line drive to skull

Game Day: Descalso makes ‘amazing play’ on Ray liner

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