(SportsNetwork.com) – The Pittsburgh Pirates pay a visit to Chase Field on
Friday night to kick off a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Pirates were in action Thursday afternoon against the Chicago Cubs before
boarding a plane to Phoenix. After losing the first two games of that four-
game series, they won the final two to force a split and bring some momentum
into this weekend’s series.
Gregory Polanco was the spark plug in Thursday’s 5-4 come-from-behind victory.
His RBI double in the sixth inning ignited a three-run rally for Pittsburgh,
then he gave the Pirates the lead for good with an RBI single in the seventh
off Cubs reliever Phil Coke.
“Arguably for us, it’s one of the best team wins since I’ve been here with
what we had and what we went out there with and how we were able to battle,”
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of his team rallying from a 4-1 deficit.
Polanco finished 3-for-4 to raise his season’s batting average to .300.
Pirates starter Jeff Locke exited after giving up four runs in five innings,
but the bullpen picked him up by yielding only one hit the rest of the way.
Meanwhile, this marks the third contest of an eight-game homestand for
Arizona. The Diamondbacks were idle Thursday, their second off-day this week.
They split a pair of games against Texas this week after notching an 8-5
victory on Wednesday to rebound from a 7-1 setback a day earlier. Rookie
right-hander Archie Bradley walked three batters and hit another in the first
inning. However, he eventually settled down and went on to best an Opening Day
starter for the third time in as many outings, as he gave up just one run on
two hits over six innings.
“He didn’t have his control to start the game,” manager Chip Hale said of
Bradley’s 37-pitch opening frame. “But he stayed the course and really showed
a lot of heart tonight.”
Chris Owings went deep and Mark Trumbo each drove in a pair of runs for the
Josh Collmenter gets the start for Arizona in Friday’s opener. Collmenter, the
team’s Opening Day starter, notched his first win of the season last time out
as he went the distance against the Giants in San Francisco. The right-hander
allowed just four hits and notched the first shutout in the majors this year
as Arizona cruised to a 9-0 win.
His counterpart, Gerrit Cole, is seeking a third win in as many starts. The
righty has allowed a total of only two earned runs across 12 innings,
registering victories over Detroit and Milwaukee. He owns a 2.65 ERA with 20
strikeouts and five walks after three turns through the rotation.
There is some bad blood between these two teams. When they last faced each
other in August of last season, Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt had his left hand
fractured by a pitch from former Pirates hurler Ernesto Frieri. Randall
Delgado would later peg Pittsburgh’s All-Star outfielder Andrew McCutchen with
a pitch the following night, which caused some tense exchanges between the