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Pollock's two homers lead Diamondbacks past Pirates

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PHOENIX -- Since his days at Notre Dame ended and he turned pro, A.J. Pollock had rarely hit a home run and never two in a game.

He was a slugger on Wednesday, though, knocking two over the left-field wall off Jonathan Sanchez to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 10-2 rout of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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Pollock began the day in an 0-for-14 rut. He also made a diving catch in center field to rob Andrew McCutchen in the first inning as the Diamondbacks salvaged the third game of the series after dropping the first two.

Wade Miley (2-0) allowed two runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings.

Sanchez (0-2) was charged with nine runs and eight hits in 3 1-3 innings. The last two of those runs came after Sanchez left and reliever Chris Leroux walked two batters, on four pitches each, with the bases loaded in the Diamondbacks' four-run fourth.

Pollock, a long shot to make the opening day roster before spring training injuries to Adam Eaton and Cody Ross, hit a three-run homer in the second and a leadoff shot in the fourth. He had two home runs in 81 big league at-bats last season and only 14 in three seasons in the minors.

But, manager Kirk Gibson said, Pollock has some power, especially against left-handers.

"You get the ball up like that on him and he has the ability to hit it out of the ballpark," Gibson said.

Pollock said he has more pop in his bat than people think.

" For me, hitting home runs is not about power," he said. "It's about hitting the ball correctly and your approach at the plate. It's 340 feet down the line. It's not like you need to hit it 600 feet to hit it out. It's more about getting the right pitch and taking the right swing in the right count."

Pollock was moved up to the No. 2 spot in the batting order. He was 3 for 17 (.176) entering the game and hadn't gotten a hit since opening day.

"Just a hunch I had," Gibson said.

It made the manager look like a genius. Pollock doubled down the left-field line with one out in the first, then took off trying to steal third while Sanchez still had the ball. Instead of what should have been an easy out, Sanchez threw wildly to third and Pollock scored.

It set the stage for what was to follow.

"You make a baseball play in the first inning, I don't know how (the game) turns out," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "It has a chance to be different, though. We make a throw to third, we get the out there, who knows?"

Sanchez was nowhere near as effective as he was in his first start, when he allowed three runs and five hits in five-plus innings in a 3-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"We have 30 starts out of the year," he said. "We're going to have bad outings and we're going to have good outings. You've just got to focus on the next one."

Martin Prado followed Sanchez's error with a walk, advanced to third on Paul Goldschmidt's single and scored when Miguel Montero grounded out. Alfredo Marte brought home the inning's third run with a two-out double.

In the second, there was more trouble for Sanchez. Josh Wilson reached on a walk and Gerardo Parra singled before Pollock homered into the left-field seats to make it 6-0.

Miley, runner-up in NL Rookie of the Year voting last season, had his second strong outing in as many tries.

"I was getting ahead of guys early," he said. "I went to the slider a couple of times. Mainly it's about getting ahead and controlling at-bats. They were putting the ball in play, and the defense was making plays."

Miley retired 10 in a row after Starling Marte opened the game with a double. The string ended when McCutchen walked with one out in the fourth. Gaby Sanchez singled and Josh Harrison had an RBI single.

Pollock's second homer made it 7-1. Sanchez walked Goldschmidt and gave up a one-out single to Montero before getting pulled by Hurdle.

Leroux came on and promptly walked three straight. Another run scored on Miley's groundout and Arizona led 10-1 through four innings.

Notes

  • Arizona 2B Aaron Hill got a day off after being hit in the left hand by a pitch Tuesday night. X-rays were negative and he hopes to return Friday night.
  • The Pirates, 2-4 on their road trip, return home to open a weekend series against Cincinnati on Friday. Arizona has Thursday off, then begins a three-game home series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.
  • Starling Marte had a hit to lead off all three games against Arizona.
 
Copyright 2015 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.
 
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A.J. Pollock (center) is greeted by Martin Prado after hitting one of his home runs. (AP)
A.J. Pollock (center) is greeted by Martin Prado after hitting one of his home runs. (AP)

Players of the Game
Arizona

A. Pollock
AB 5
R 3
H 3
HR 2
RBI 4
Arizona

W. Miley
IP 6.2
H 5
ER 2
BB 3
K 5
 

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Pittsburgh Pirates
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Starling Marte, LF-CF4021010 .333
Jose Tabata, RF3000011 .077
   a- Garrett Jones, PH-RF1000013 .250
Andrew McCutchen, CF2100101 .233
    Travis Snider, LF1000000 .214
Gaby Sanchez, 1B3010101 .100
Russell Martin, C2000001 .043
    Michael McKenry, C2110001 .200
Josh Harrison, 3B4011011 .167
Clint Barmes, SS4000013 .087
John McDonald, 2B3000120 .000
Jonathan Sanchez, P1000010 .000
    Chris Leroux, P1000000 .000
   b- Neil Walker, PH0000100 .103
    Jared Hughes, P0000000 .000
   c- Pedro Alvarez, PH1000011 .067
Totals3225249  
a-struck out for Tabata in the 7th
b-walked for Leroux in the 7th
c-struck out for Hughes in the 9th
Batting
2B - Starling Marte (2, Miley), Michael McKenry (1, Miley)
RBI - Starling Marte (4), Josh Harrison (1)
2-OUT RBI - Starling Marte (1), Josh Harrison (1)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Barmes-McDonald-G. Sanchez
E - Josh Harrison (1, Throwing), Jonathan Sanchez (1, Throwing)
Pittsburgh Pirates
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jonathan Sanchez (L,0-2) 3.1899422 12.96
Chris Leroux 2.2211420 6.75
Jared Hughes 2000020 3.38
HBP - Marte (by Jonathan Sanchez)
Pitches-Strikes - Jonathan Sanchez 93-55, Chris Leroux 48-24, Jared Hughes 23-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jonathan Sanchez 6-2, Chris Leroux 5-0, Jared Hughes 2-2
Batters Faced - Jonathan Sanchez 23, Chris Leroux 13, Jared Hughes 6
Arizona Diamondbacks
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Gerardo Parra, RF5110022 .341
A.J. Pollock, CF5334020 .273
Martin Prado, 3B4110100 .273
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B2210201 .343
    Eric Hinske, 1B1000000 .286
Miguel Montero, C3111101 .300
    Wil Nieves, C1000000 .400
Alfredo Marte, LF3121110 .308
Cliff Pennington, SS3011114 .243
Josh Wilson, 2B2101201 .000
Wade Miley, P3001001 .000
    Brad Ziegler, P0000000 .000
    J.J. Putz, P0000000 .000
Totals321010986  
Batting
2B - A.J. Pollock (2, Sanchez), Alfredo Marte (2, Sanchez)
HR - A.J. Pollock 2 (2, Sanchez, Sanchez)
SH - Wade Miley (2)
RBI - A.J. Pollock 4 (6), Miguel Montero (7), Alfredo Marte (2), Cliff Pennington (3), Josh Wilson (1), Wade Miley (1)
2-OUT RBI - Alfredo Marte (2)
SB - A.J. Pollock (1, off Sanchez/Martin)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Pennington-Hinske
Arizona Diamondbacks
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Wade Miley (W,2-0) 6.2522350 2.13
Brad Ziegler 1.1000110 1.35
J.J. Putz 1000030 4.50
WP - J.J. Putz (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Wade Miley 104-64, Brad Ziegler 16-9, J.J. Putz 18-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wade Miley 7-8, Brad Ziegler 2-0
Batters Faced - Wade Miley 28, Brad Ziegler 4, J.J. Putz 4
Game Information
Attendance - 17769
Game Time - 2:52
Temperature - 70
Umpires - Home - Gary Darling, First Base - Paul Emmel, Second Base - Bruce Dreckman, Third Base - Clint Fagan