By JOSE M. ROMERO Associated Press
PHOENIX (AP) — Jarrod Dyson hit two home runs during a 2018 season shortened by a groin injury. The speedy outfielder already has two in 11 games this year, and his latest one was a game-winner.
Dyson connected for a pinch-hit, two-run shot with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Arizona Diamondbacks a 5-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
Batting for John Ryan Murphy with Eduardo Escobar on second base, Dyson ripped a 2-2 pitch from Rangers closer Jose Leclerc into the seats in right field. Arizona rallied from a 4-0 deficit after two innings for its third win in four games, with the 34-year-old Dyson hitting the first game-ending homer of his career.
Tough loss for Texas
“That is a tough guy there to try and put together a good at-bat with,” Dyson said of Leclerc. “I just tried to pick a good pitch over the middle of the plate and try to do a little damage with it, and I ended up getting a pitch I can handle and I got lucky.”
Matt Andriese (2-0) pitched two innings of scoreless ball in relief of starter Zack Greinke. Murphy and Nick Ahmed hit solo home runs for Arizona.
With the Diamondbacks down 4-2 in the ninth, Christian Walker led off with a single against Leclerc (1-1), who blew a save chance for the first time this season. Escobar doubled in Walker and Ahmed struck out before Dyson went deep.
“I think my fastball was good, my changeup was there,” said Leclerc, who entered with a scoreless streak of 25 2/3 innings. “Everything was good. They just hit whatever I threw and that was it.”
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said his team never quit.
“Exciting and well-deserved, because I felt like these guys were fighting the whole entire day,” Lovullo said. “We couldn’t really get anything going but we never shut down. You score three runs off a closer like Leclerc, you should feel pretty good.”
The loss ruined a strong effort from Texas starter Mike Minor, who struck out five in seven innings of five-hit ball. Elvis Andrus had two hits and drove in two runs to lead the Rangers, who have lost four straight.
“He used all his pitches effectively and worked both sides of the plate,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said of Minor. “When he’s got his changeup going like that it makes it a lot easier for the rest of his pitches to work.”
Texas scored twice in both the first and second innings, with Andrus’ double and Nomar Mazara’s groundout making it 2-0 and run-scoring singles from Rougned Odor and Andrus building a 4-0 lead in the second.
“I made some better pitches after that, but they were maybe a little up in the zone the first inning and maybe the first inning and a half,” Greinke said.
The right-hander settled down and retired 14 Rangers in a row from the second through the seventh before Shin-Shoo Choo’s second double of the game with one out in the seventh. Greinke allowed three earned runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.
The Diamondbacks made it 4-1 in the third with Murphy’s home run, a solo shot yanked down the left field line. Ahmed went deep to left-center in the seventh off Minor.
Greinke’s strikeout of Choo in the fourth was the 2,453rd of his career, tying him with Sam McDowell for 41st on the career list. Greinke later surpassed that total.
Rangers executives attended Tuesday’s series opener to get a firsthand look at the synthetic grass surface that was installed at Chase Field before the season. It will be the same playing surface used at the new Globe Life Field, the Rangers’ future home which is currently under construction.
Rangers third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera did not play after cross-country travel Monday from Miami, where he was sworn in as a U.S. citizen. Cabrera is 16 for 37 (.432) in his career against Greinke.
RING IT IN
Diamondbacks bullpen catcher Dan Butler, who played in two games for the Boston Red Sox last season, will receive his World Series ring at a later date because he could not attend the team’s championship banner ceremony Tuesday at Fenway Park.
Arizona sent RHP Jon Duplantier to Triple-A Reno after the game and will announce a corresponding move on Wednesday.
Diamondbacks: RHP Taijuan Walker (elbow) threw a bullpen, with no indication on when his next rehab outing will be. … LHP T.J. McFarland is scheduled to pitch one inning of an extending spring game Wednesday, Lovullo said.
Texas sends RHP Lance Lynn (0-1, 6.39 ERA) to the mound for his third start of the season. Lynn is 5-0 against Arizona, with three wins at Chase Field. LHP Robbie Ray (0-1, 4.35) is scheduled for the Diamondbacks.
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