(Photo by Christian Petersen / Getty Images)
PHOENIX – If the Arizona Diamondbacks finally return to preseason expectations, their offense in the top five will reach a period of calm.
If the Boston Red Sox met their expectations, it would mean that the 2018 World Series champions would play like that after a 2-6 record in the first two series of 2019.
A game in the third series of each team of the year, neither of which is happening.
The battered starter of the Arizona Red Sox, Rick Porcello, for seven earned runs on Friday, then caught reliever Brian Johnson for seven more in a 15-8 victory versus 48,338 at Chase Field.
"The races kept coming in. You can not take anything for granted against this ball club," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said after his team's first home game.
"At a certain point, you start to really enjoy the at-bats and really look at them from a different angle, I can not say enough about what we did offensively."
Seven D-backs recorded multiple hits, including starting pitcher Zack Godley and second baseman Ketel Marte, the latter of whom threw a home run from both sides of the plate. His grand slam in the sixth inning contributed to a seven-run inning that put Arizona ahead, 14-1, giving the bullpen plenty of room for error.
"I feel good right now, I feel healthy, I feel stronger," said Mars. "My mind is ready."
Meanwhile, Godley recovered after allowing seven earned runs in an 18-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Against Boston, he pitched 5.2 frames, allowing three hits and one run with three walks and five strikeouts.
"I felt really good," said Godley. "He had everything working very well, he had to swing, they got a double that got a race, after that he settled down and got some guys out."
The Arizona starting pitcher also scored his team's first career in the game, just after allowing a double driven by Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi, on top of third, to put Boston briefly 1 -0.
Godley's first single at the bottom of the inning was followed by a single by Jarrod Dyson, a walk by Eduardo Escobar and a double by David Peralta that scored the pitcher.
Mars hit a solo dinger with one out in the fourth inning, and three batters later with two in the base, Godley threw a RBI single between three Red Sox in the shallow right. Dyson singled for another RBI, and Escobar went ashore to score Godley from third to close the four-run box.
The D-backs did it again in the fifth inning, when Adam Jones started with a solo shot that preceded a Nick Ahmed single. Alex Avila then doubled, giving Arizona a 7-1 lead.
It would take more offense to keep a Boston team at bay, which then jumped on reliever Matt Koch, who allowed seven earned runs in 2.1 frames.
Jones hit again in the sixth, doubling the center field wall to score Dyson and move Escobar to third. After an intentional walk by Christian Walker by Boston reliever Brian Johnson, Mars, who was hitting right, threw a ball into left field (his first home run was from the right side of the plate to right field) for a big slam.
"I know they walked a very capable hitter ahead of (Mars)," Lovullo said of Walker. "I think a lot of good hitters take it personally."
Mars would not confess hard feelings. But he could not hide the meaning of the day.
His grand slam was the first of his career. And his second multi-homer game reflected his first game. The first time he did it in 2018, he also moved away a little on each side of the plate.
"I got up there and I'm like … I have to catch him," said Mars about the Grand Slam. "I have to catch him, I have to do something special for my team."
By the end of the sixth inning, Arizona had added seven runs after pinch-hitter Ildemaro Vargas hit a two-run homer, the second of his Major League career.
Godley hung through the top of the sixth, when he left with two outs and the bases loaded. Andrew Chafin induced a field to help the Diamondbacks escape the frame without spotting.
And three outs later, the D-backs had a 14-1 lead enough to protect a win against a 2-7 Red Sox team that defeated Arizona by allowing the most runs in baseball to be won. so far this year.
"I think we have a room full of confident players who are playing together and we're not afraid to give it to the next player if they can not run and get the tone they want to swing," Lovullo said. "For me, that has been the constant theme so far."