Nick Ahmed homered and had five RBIs, Luke Weaver pitched five effective innings and the Arizona Diamondbacks stretched their winning streak to six games with a 10-1 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday.
“I felt like we would find our stride, hit our footing at some point and we just had to be patient as a coaching staff,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “These guys have been working their butts off to make good moments and we’re seeing it play out.”
The Diamondbacks put the game out of reach right away, batting around each of the first two innings to complete their first undefeated homestand since Aug. 25-31, 2017.
Ahmed hit a three-run homer off Frankie Montas (2-2) in the first inning and had a two-run single in the second. Kole Calhoun also homered off Montas and Weaver (1-4) allowed a run on three hits, retiring the final 10 batters he faced.
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Arizona's bullpen took it from there, holding the A's to four hits — one after the second inning — with 13 strikeouts.
“When things don't go well, you're concerned about it, and when you score some runs, hit some homers, you're not as much,” A's manager Bob Melvin said. “We do have some guys who will strike out. At some point in time it becomes a little bit of a concern.”
The right-handed Weaver has struggled to start his second season in the desert, allowing at least four earned runs in three of his four starts. He was on a tight pitch count (3 1/3 innings) the last time out in attempt the limit the potential for blowup.
Weaver worked out of a jam in the first inning, but pitched so well manager Torey Lovullo left him on the mound to earn his first win. He let out a yell after striking out Marcus Semien to end the fifth, his sixth of the night.
“I just feel like I pitch better, the game flows more to what I'm trying to do when the emotion is flowing, a little bit more of an edge,” Weaver said. “As pitchers, we try to minimize our emotion, try to keep an even-keel demeanor, but there's got a little bit of a show of it.”
Montas was scratched from his last start Friday against San Francisco and had not pitched since Aug. 8 against Houston.
The right-hander had control issues coming off the long layoff, uncorking a wild pitch for the game's first run and walking three in the first inning. Ahmed's homer put Arizona up 5-0.
Montas gave up a leadoff homer to Calhoun in the second inning and was lifted after his fourth walk loaded the bases with two outs. Ahmed greeted Lou Trivino with a two-run single to put the Diamondbacks up 8-1.
Montas allowed nine runs on six hits.
"He was just a little out of sync," Melvin said. “He spiked some pitches in the dirt, other ones hung up a little bit. You're trying to find your arm slot, maybe early on you're a little bit tentative, but the velocity was there. It just ended up being a tough game for him.”
GROUNDS CREW CHEER
Fans have not been allowed in the stands during baseball’s pandemic restart, the sounds replaced by recordings.
The Diamondbacks have a few vocal supporters inside Chase Field: their grounds crew.
“I can hear it very clearly, almost like a normal cheer coming from over my shoulder," Lovullo said. “We know that there are artificial sounds making a little bit of noise, but this one is very pure and we certainly appreciate it.”
A's: LHP A.J. Puk will likely need a couple more bullpens before facing live hitters as he tries to return from a shoulder injury. He threw 30-pitch bullpen at the club's alternate site Monday and is scheduled to throw again Wednesday.
Diamondbacks: OF/INF Ketel Marte was given the day off. ... 3B Jake Lamb took a bad-hop shot to the neck on a ball hit by Stephen Piscotty to third in the second inning, but stayed in the game.
A's: LHP Jesus Luzardo (1-0, 4.79 ERA) will start Wednesday's series opener at home against Arizona after allowing six runs in 3 1/3 innings against San Francisco his last start.
Diamondbacis: RHP Merrill Kelly (3-1, 1.71) has allowed one run in 12 2/3 innings his past two starts heading into Wednesday's game.
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