Chicago at Arizona

Chi. Cubs
W: J. Cruz (1-0) L: R. Hill (0-1)
HR: CHC - None   ARI - C. Tracy (6), D. Easley (2)

Diamondbacks 6, Cubs 0

CBS wire reports

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks acquired Juan Cruz to be a reliever. Just one month into the season, he's making an impression as a starter.

In his second strong start, Cruz pitched five scoreless innings as the Diamondbacks defeated the Chicago Cubs 6-0 Thursday night for their fifth straight victory. The Diamondbacks, who started the streak in fourth, climbed into a tie with Colorado atop the NL West.

"He's progressively getting to the point where he's a force," said Arizona manager Bob Melvin, who called on Cruz to replace struggling starter Russ Ortiz, placed on the disabled list this week.

Chad Tracy homered for the third straight game and Damion Easley drove in three runs for Arizona.

Rookie Rich Hill (0-1) lost his first start for the Cubs, who have dropped three straight games. Chicago has been shut out three times in its last five games and outscored 44-5 the last six.

"We're just in a bad way right now," manager Dusty Baker said. "We can't seem to buy a run. You go through periods like that. It sure makes it tough. It doesn't make life very pleasurable when you're not scoring."

Cruz came up with the Cubs in 2001 and went 3-1 with a 3.22 earned-run average his rookie year. However, the Cubs gave up on him after he went 5-18 over the next two seasons, dividing time between the rotation and the bullpen.

Cruz said he didn't carry a grudge against his former team.

"The point here is to win," said Cruz, whom the Diamondbacks picked up from Oakland in a trade for lefty Brad Halsey. "Any team that I face, I just try to beat them like anybody else. I don't have anything with the Cubs."

Cruz allowed four hits and two walks and struck out seven in five innings.

This was Cruz's first victory as a starter since Sept. 4, 2003, when he beat Milwaukee while still with the Cubs. He spent the last two seasons as a reliever with Atlanta and Oakland.

When Cruz came to the Diamondbacks, he figured he'd work out of the bullpen.

"I like to be a starter," Cruz said. "If they want me to start, I can start. I just came here to work, so I don't worry about it. It's something you cannot control."

In two starts since replacing Ortiz in the rotation, Cruz has given up one earned run while striking out 10 in 10 innings. No wonder Melvin has no intention of moving Cruz back to the bullpen. The club hopes Cruz, who threw 84 pitches Thursday night, will be able to approach 100 pitches in his next start.

Cruz's control has been a problem; he has averaged about 4.5 walks per nine innings across his career. Cruz has issued 12 walks in 22 innings this season, but his 24 strikeouts have helped him work out of jams.

"Stuff-wise, boy, you just look at his stuff, if he can harness that and throw strikes, he's a tough guy to deal with," Melvin said.

With a 5-0 lead after four innings, Cruz nearly had to come out of the game. As he faced Freddie Bynum leading off the fifth, Cruz began limping. The Diamondbacks' trainer visited the mound, and after a couple of warm-up tosses Cruz decided to stay in the game. He walked Bynum, who stole second base.

Cruz winced as he delivered a pitch to the next batter, Henry Blanco, prompting another visit from the trainer. Cruz stayed on the mound and struck out Blanco. After pinch-hitter Neifi Perez singled, Cruz struck out Juan Pierre and Ronny Cedeno.

Cruz said he twisted his ankle on a pickoff throw.

"They asked me how I feel and I said, 'Good,"' Cruz said.

The Diamondbacks feel good when Cruz is on the mound.

"He's pitched lights out," said Tracy, who has hit in six straight games. "He's got great stuff. He can throw upwards of 96, 97, 98 miles an hour, and he can break off that little slider."

The Diamondbacks needed a strong outing from Cruz because their bullpen was without right-hander Casey Daigle, who left the team to be with his wife, former US Olympian Jennie Finch, as she delivered their first child in Tucson. Closer Jose Valverde was also unavailable after saving the last three games. Brandon Medders relieved Cruz in the sixth and pitched two scoreless innings. Greg Aquino pitched a scoreless eighth and Luis Vizcaino completed the eight-hitter.


With a left-hander starting for Chicago, Melvin gave SS Craig Counsell the night off. ... Shawn Green singled in the second to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. ... Cincinnati comes to Phoenix Friday for a three-game weekend series between National League division leaders.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Players of the Game

D. Easley
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1

J. Cruz
IP 5.0
H 4
ER 0
BB 2
K 7

Related Video

Chicago Cubs
Juan Pierre, CF4030112 .269
Ronny Cedeno, SS5000028 .305
Aramis Ramirez, 3B4010011 .207
Todd Walker, 1B4000002 .325
Matt Murton, LF3010121 .289
Jacque Jones, RF4010002 .239
Freddie Bynum, 2B3010112 .238
Henry Blanco, C2000112 .087
   a- Jerry Hairston Jr., PH1000010 .237
Rich Hill, P1000011 .000
   b- Neifi Perez, PH1010000 .186
    Glendon Rusch, P0000000 .333
   c- Michael Restovich, PH1000011 .182
    Scott Eyre, P0000000 .000
    Will Ohman, P0000000 .000
   d- John Mabry, PH1000000 .233
a-struck out for Blanco in the 9th
b-singled for Hill in the 5th
c-struck out for Rusch in the 7th
d-grounded out for Ohman in the 9th
3B - Juan Pierre (2, Vizcaino)
SB - Juan Pierre (10, 2nd base off Cruz/Estrada), Freddie Bynum 2 (2, 2nd base off Cruz/Estrada, 2nd base off Cruz/Estrada)
PK - Juan Pierre (1, Cruz)
Team LOB - 11
DP - Bynum-Cedeno-Walker
E - Ronny Cedeno (6, misplayed grounder)
Chicago Cubs
Rich Hill (L,0-1) 4655212 11.25
Glendon Rusch 2000010 7.77
Scott Eyre 1000010 1.84
Will Ohman 1111110 9.82
WP - Will Ohman (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Rich Hill 67-43, Glendon Rusch 26-17, Scott Eyre 11-8, Will Ohman 18-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rich Hill 6-5, Glendon Rusch 2-3, Scott Eyre 1-1
Batters Faced - Rich Hill 20, Glendon Rusch 6, Scott Eyre 3, Will Ohman 5
Arizona Diamondbacks
Eric Byrnes, CF4011012 .292
Orlando Hudson, 2B4000001 .214
Chad Tracy, 3B4111010 .307
Conor Jackson, 1B4220000 .296
Shawn Green, RF3110101 .327
Damion Easley, SS3113000 .261
Johnny Estrada, C3001001 .286
Andy Green, LF2110110 .269
    Greg Aquino, P0000000 .000
    Luis Vizcaino, P0000000 .000
Juan Cruz, P0000100 .000
    Brandon Medders, P0000000 .000
   a- Jeff DaVanon, PH-LF1000010 .284
a-struck out for Medders in the 7th
2B - Eric Byrnes (7, Hill), Conor Jackson 2 (6, Hill, Ohman)
HR - Chad Tracy (6, Hill), Damion Easley (2, Hill)
SF - Damion Easley (2), Johnny Estrada (3)
SH - Juan Cruz (2)
RBI - Eric Byrnes (7), Chad Tracy (22), Damion Easley 3 (10), Johnny Estrada (15)
2-OUT RBI - Eric Byrnes (3)
SB - Shawn Green (3, 3rd base off Hill/Blanco)
Team LOB - 4
Arizona Diamondbacks
Juan Cruz (W,1-0) 5400270 2.05
Brandon Medders 2200120 4.91
Greg Aquino 1100110 5.11
Luis Vizcaino 1100010 2.40
Pitches-Strikes - Juan Cruz 84-55, Brandon Medders 43-29, Greg Aquino 19-9, Luis Vizcaino 16-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Juan Cruz 5-2, Brandon Medders 3-1, Greg Aquino 1-1, Luis Vizcaino 2-0
Batters Faced - Juan Cruz 20, Brandon Medders 9, Greg Aquino 5, Luis Vizcaino 4
Game Information
Attendance - 24552
Game Time - 2:40
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - Bill Miller, First Base - Gerry Davis, Second Base - Brian Gorman, Third Base - Eric Cooper