PHOENIX (AP) — Taylor Clarke was essentially pitching for his spot in Arizona’s rotation.
The Arizona right-hander was good enough to keep it, at least for now.
Shaking off a rough previous outing, Clarke pitched six effective innings and Carson Kelly hit a three-run homer, lifting the Diamondbacks to a 5-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday.
“You don’t want to put too much pressure on yourself,” Clarke said. “When it becomes too much, I just try to treat it like any other start.”
The Orioles won their first game at Chase Field since 2007 Tuesday night, beating the Diamondbacks 7-2 to end a six-game losing streak in the desert.
Arizona closed out the series win with Kelly’s homer off John Means (8-6) in the fourth inning, a bounce-back performance by Clarke (3-3) and a little late-inning drama.
Arizona’s Yoshihisa Hirano and Archie Bradley worked out of bases-loaded jams in the seventh and eighth innings.
Greg Holland started the ninth, but was visited by Arizona’s trainer after a walk, then was removed by manager Torey Lovullo following another walk. Yoan Lopez got the final three outs for his first career save.
“I’m not sure what exactly was going on with the command,” Lovullo said. “He wasn’t hurt — we went out there with the trainer — his stuff just wasn’t what we’ve seen it. Those are hard decisions I have to make.”
Ketel Marte also hit a solo homer to become the first Diamondbacks player to hit 10 or more homers from both sides of the plate.
Trey Mancini and Anthony Santander homered for the Orioles, who squandered multiple opportunities late. Baltimore went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position and left the bases loaded twice in late innings to spoil the chance to win its first series after the All-Star break.
“We didn’t make enough contact late in the game with runners on base,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “We had them on the ropes a few times and just didn’t do a good job of putting the ball in play.”
Clarke had a shaky return from the injured list because of back inflammation, allowing four runs and seven hits in 3 2/3 innings against Milwaukee on Friday.
The right-hander had the Orioles guessing most of the afternoon, but made a couple of mistakes: Santander homered in the fourth inning and Mancini hit another, his 22nd of the season, in the sixth.
Clarke allowed two runs and four hits and struck out seven in six innings.
“He needed to step up and get the job done and he did,” Lovullo said. “There’s a lot of toughness there.”
Means stranded runners in the second and third innings, quickly running up his pitch count. He ran into trouble in the fourth inning, when Kelly hit a three-run homer and was pulled after the next two batters reached base.
Means allowed three runs and six hits and threw 95 pitches in 3 1/3 innings. He also legged out an infield single in the third inning for his first career hit.
“I felt good in the beginning and then in that fourth inning, I was overthrowing pitches,” Means said. “I got out of my motion and there was a lot that went wrong.”
The Diamondbacks appeared to have added a run in the seventh inning when Baltimore catcher Pedro Severino’s pickoff attempt at first sailed into right field and Jarrod Dyson scored from second.
Plate umpire Nic Lentz called interference on himself when Severino’s arm hit him on the mask before the throw. Lovullo quickly came out of the dugout to argue with Lentz, but the call stood and both runners returned to their bases.
“I was assuming called batter obstruction,” Lovullo said. “At that point, I backed down because in that case the umpire was right.”
Diamondbacks: David Peralta was activated from the 10-day injured list and grounded out as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning. He had been out since July 5 with right AC joint inflammation. Arizona optioned INF Ildemaro Vargas to Triple-A Reno to make room on the roster.
Orioles: RHP Tom Eshelman (0-2, 6.91 ERA), Thursday’s starter against the Angels, is seeking his first quality start since joining the rotation at the beginning of the month.
Diamondbacks: RHP Zack Greinke (10-4, 2.93) could be making his final start in an Arizona uniform Thursday at Miami. The two-time Cy Young Award winner is rumored to be on the trading block so the Diamondbacks can shed the $64 million remaining on his contract after this season.
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