PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks played a ton of one-run games last season and lost most.
This year’s team is built to not only survive, but thrive in tight games. They did it again Friday night.
Ketel Marte had three hits and drove in a run, Zach Davies pitched effectively into the sixth inning and the Diamondbacks beat the Chicago Cubs 4-3 for their seventh win in one-run games after finishing 10-31 last season.
“We’re prepared mentally, physically and fundamentally to win this type of game,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “We were able to execute at a high level to win this game.”
Marte struggled to start the season after signing a long-term contract in spring training, but has started to round back into All-Star form the past couple of weeks. He had a pair of doubles off Drew Smyly (1-4) and finished 3 for 4, raising his average to .222.
Davies (2-1) allowed three runs and four hits with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Ian Kennedy worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth after shortstop Geraldo Perdromo’s two-out error and Mark Melancon pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save in eight chances.
Arizona has won eight of 10 to move three games over .500 after struggling at the start of the season.
Chicago had two hits after taking a 3-0 lead in the third inning and five overall to lose for the seventh time in nine games.
“This team has a great heartbeat,” Lovullo said. “They don’t panic. They stay with the process, stay with their prep and get very focused. We answered back.”
Davies, who went 6-12 for the Cubs last season, had not allowed a earned run in 14 1/3 innings before facing his old team.
The Cubs ended the right-hander’s streak in the third inning on Ildemaro Vargas’ two-run triple and Rafael Ortega’s sacrifice fly. Davies was solid in every other inning, leaving with a 4-3 lead with two outs in the sixth inning.
“I was kind off today,” Davies said. “I felt like there were at-bats where I got ahead and wasn’t able to put guys away or get behind and have to battle those. But overall, I was happy to get over that inning and be able to pitch into the sixth inning.”
Smyly had been good on the road this season, his ERA (1.26) more than four runs lower than at Wrigley Field.
The left-hander wasn’t quite as sharp at Chase Field.
Marte and Pavin Smith hit RBI doubles off Smyly in the third inning and Christian Walker added a run-scoring single. Jose Rojas reached third after walking to lead off the next inning and scored when Smyly let loose a wild pitch to make it 4-0.
Smyly allowed four runs and 10 hits and struck out four in six innings. He has lost lost four straight starts since beating Pittsburgh on April 12.
Things got a little dicey for Kennedy in the eighth after Pedromo mishandled Willson Contreras’ sharp grounder.
Kennedy just missed on a couple of pitches to walk Ian Happ and Patrick Wisdom to load the bases. The right-hander escaped the jam when he jammed Alfonso Rivas to induce a weak pop out to short center field.
“You can’t make mistakes in the middle of the zone and Ian is smart enough to know that,” Lovullo said. “He was making quality pitches, they just weren’t giving in. The inning got a little extended, but when he had to make pitches, he did.”
Cubs: LHP Justin Steele threw a bullpen without any trouble after leaving the fifth inning of Sunday’s start against the Dodgers with left thumb soreness. … RHP Alec Mills (strained lower back) is scheduled for a bullpen session on Saturday.
Diamondbacks: SS Nick Ahmed was out of the lineup to rest his his right shoulder, an injury that kept him out the first two weeks of the season. He struck out as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning.
Diamondbacks RHP Zac Gallen (2-0, 0.95) has the lowest ERA by a starting pitcher his first five starts in club history heading into Saturday’s game against Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks.
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