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Smith, Walker homers spoil Greinke’s return to Arizona

Kansas City Royals' Kyle Isbel, right, dives safely back to first base as Arizona Diamondbacks...
Kansas City Royals' Kyle Isbel, right, dives safely back to first base as Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker, left, applies a late tag during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, May 23, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)(Ross D. Franklin | AP)
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 8:09 AM CDT
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PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona’s familiarity with Zack Greinke led to a solid offensive night against the Diamondbacks’ former pitcher.

Christian Walker and Pavin Smith homered and Ketel Marte’s two-run double broke a fourth-inning tie to help the Diamondbacks beat Kansas City 9-5 Monday night in Greinke’s first appearance at Chase Field since he left at the 2019 trade deadline after 3 1/2 seasons in Arizona.

Greinke (0-3) gave up seven earned runs, two homers and four walks, all single-game highs this season.

“I think we know the things that he likes to do and the areas he likes to attack,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “He’s a creature of habit. It’s worked very well for a long time and he’s not going to make adjustments unless he has to. I know that his changeup wasn’t landing, and we saw that it wasn’t landing early, and that was a big advantage for us.”

Whit Merrifield, Bobby Witt Jr. and Hunter Dozier hit bases-empty homers 13 pitches into the game, and the Royals added another run in the first inning for a 4-0 lead before suffering their second demoralizing loss in as many days.

Kansas City, which has lost five in a row and seven of nine, failed to hold a 6-0 lead after seven innings in a 7-6 home loss to Minnesota on Sunday.

Smith and Walker homered in the last of the first to cut the Kansas City lead to 4-3, and Arizona tied it at 5-all in third inning when Greinke walked the first two he faced and both scored.

“The game started off, the ball seemed like it was flying, a lot of home runs being hit,” Greinke said. “And then had some close pitches called balls and kind of got scared to throw strikes a little bit. I think is what happened.”

Marte’s two-out double off Joel Payamps drove in two for a 7-5 lead, both runs changed to Greinke.

The Diamondbacks had eight runs against Greinke in nine innings in his two previous starts against them, both in Houston.

“It was great, especially against a guy with that kind of repertoire and that sort of reputation,” Smith said of the approach against Greinke. “Especially going down 4-nothing in the first inning, we wanted to see some pitches and grind out some good ABs.”

J.B. Wendelken (1-1) got out of a bases-loaded situation after replacing injured starter Zach Davies in the fourth inning for the Diamondbacks, who have won four of five.

Davies gave up eight hits and five runs before being knocked out of the game with a right leg contusion when he was struck by Witt’s line drive that loaded the bases with two outs.

X-rays on Davies were negative and he is to get a C-T scan Tuesday, Lovullo said, calling into question his availability for his next start Sunday.

Greinke joined the Diamondbacks on a six-year, $206.5 million contract in 2016, when his average yearly salary of $34.4 million was the highest in major league history.

Greinke had given up two homers and four walks in his first eight starts over 44 innings this season. He struck out a season-high five.

WALK THIS WAY

Arizona first baseman Christian Walker is playing both sides of the ball. He hit his 11th home run to tie for the NL lead with Colorado’s C.J. Cron.

Walker entered Monday’s game leading major league first basemen with seven “defensive runs saved,” as calculated by Sports Info Solutions. Kansas City’s Carlos Santana was tied for second with three. Walker was a Gold Glove finalist in 2019.

TOUCH ‘EM ALL

Merrifield stole a run for a 5-3 lead after singling to lead off the second inning. He stole second base with a head-first slide, and when a one-hop throw got away broke toward an uncovered third.

Geraldo Perdomo sailed a throw past third base and Merrifield got up from a head-first slide up beat a throw home, this time going in feet first.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Royals: OF Michael Taylor (undisclosed) missed his fifth straight game and has no timetable to return.

Diamondbacks: 3B Josh Rojas (left hand contusion) is to see hand specialist Dr. Donald Sheridan on Tuesday. He has not played since his top hand was hit by a pitch as he struck out in the first inning against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday. ... RHP Luke Weaver (elbow) is scheduled to throw 30 pitches in an extended spring training game Tuesday. He is to return as a reliever. … Arizona 3B Drew Ellis (right side discomfort) left the game after striking out in the second inning.

UP NEXT

Diamondbacks’ RHP Zac Gallen (3-0, 1.14 ERA) is to face Royals’ rookie RHP Jonathan Heasley (0-2, 4.32) in the final game of the two-game series. Gallen will enter the game 4 2/3 innings short of qualifying for the major league ERA lead. Heasley is to make his third major league start.

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