DETROIT (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks started the year with relatively low expectations from those outside their clubhouse.
Manager Torey Lovullo and his players, meanwhile, always believed this season would be successful.
So far, it looks like they’re right.
Nick Ahmed hit a two-run homer in the second inning, Lourdes Gurriel followed with a three-run blast in the fifth and the NL West-leading Diamondbacks beat the slumping Detroit Tigers 5-0 Saturday.
“We have the right pieces,” Lovullo said. “We have really good players on this team. Am I surprised? No.”
Arizona, which has won four straight, is 14 games over .500 for the first time in nearly five years.
“We have a lot of talent in this room, and guys that are hungry,” Ahmed said.
Detroit, which has lost eight straight games, was shut out for the third time this month and eighth time this season.
“We’ve got to find a different way and we haven’t really done that in this stretch,” manager A.J. Hinch said.
Ryne Nelson (3-3) threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings. After walking two straight to load the bases, Nelson was replaced by right-hander Austin Adams, who ended the sixth by getting Zack Short out on a fly to center.
“That’s huge,” Nelson said. “Feel really good with him coming in the game right there. I definitely wanted to go six, and maybe even more, but I made a couple mistakes and walked a couple guys.”
Nelson, who gave up four hits and struck out four, would have had a chance to match his career high with a seven-inning outing if he stayed out of trouble in the sixth.
“There was a thought there that he was going to touch the seventh inning,” Lovullo said. “That’s how well he was throwing.”
Detroit’s Matthew Boyd (3-5) allowed five earned runs for the second time in three starts and third time in six outings.
“Made a few mistakes, and a few of them were all the damage in the game,” Boyd said.
Tigers fans didn’t have much to cheer about, but they did get a chance in the second and ninth when fading star Miguel Cabrera hit a double in each inning.
The 40-year-old Cabrera, who is retiring after this season, matched Ty Cobb’s total of extra-base hits (1,136) for 15th on the all-time list and tied Dave Winfield for 22nd all time with 3,110 career hits.
Gurriel played for the first time in a week, returning from a break to let his right groin heal, and looked healthy when he hit a shot over the left-field fence.
“You throw the wrong pitch at the wrong time to the wrong hitter in the wrong area, and that’s dangerous,” Hinch said.
Diamondbacks: LHP Anthony Misiewicz, who was on the 15-day injured list with a strained right calf, was reinstated and optioned to Triple-A Reno.
Tigers: OF Akil Baddoo went on the 10-day injured list with a right quadriceps strain after leaving Friday’s game with an injury. Nick Solak was recalled from Triple-A Toledo to take Baddoo’s roster spot. … OF Matt Vierling (lower back) has begun a rehab assignment with the Mud Hens.
Wrapping up their only series this season, the Diamondbacks expect to have a big advantage on the mound with RHP Zac Gallen (7-2, 2.75) and Tigers LHP Joey Wentz (1-6) scheduled to start in a game that begins Sunday at 11:35 a.m. in Detroit and 8:35 a.m. in Arizona.
“We know how early it is back home,” said Lovullo, whose major league playing career began with the Tigers in 1988. “Hopefully our body clocks have adjusted.”
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