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The Arizona Diamondbacks didn’t waste any time breaking this game open.

Ketel Marte and Alex Avila each hit two-run homers and the Diamondbacks scored eight runs in the first three innings to power their way to a 9-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday night.

”We just did a good job of being aggressive in the zone Kalen Ballage Jersey ,” Arizona center fielder Jon Jay said. ”You saw guys put some good barrels on balls and we were ready to hit right from the start.”

Marte’s blast capped a three-run first, while Avila’s shot in the third extended the NL West-leading Diamondbacks’ advantage to 8-0.

Jay doubled in each of the first two innings, the second of which drove in two runs. The center fielder is hitting .340 in 13 games since being acquired June 6 from Kansas City in a trade.

”I feel very fortunate to have been traded here,” Jay said. ”It’s a great group of guys who know how to go about their business. You can see why this team is successful.”

Staked to the early cushion, Zack Godley (8-5) won his third straight start. He gave up three runs – two earned – and four hits in six innings with five strikeouts and three walks.

”A lot of times it’s hard to pitch in games like this because you can lose your concentration with the big lead, but he kept making pitches,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said.

Godley, though, said he didn’t feel any pressure in trying to hold the eight-run advantage.

”Heck Chandler Catanzaro Jersey , I’ll take eight runs in the first three innings every time,” he said with a smile.

Avila finished with three RBIs as he also doubled home a run in the ninth. The veteran catcher entered the game hitting .109.

Chad Kuhl (5-5) lasted just two-plus innings and was lifted following Avila’s homer. Kuhl was tagged for eight runs and eight hits after allowing three earned runs or less in seven of his previous eight starts.

”I don’t think balls were coming out (of his hand) as they have for whatever that reason may be,” Kuhl said. ”I just felt like tonight was a little bit different. They hammered balls over the plate. You just try your best to move on from this one.”

Kuhl was supposed to pitch Wednesday night against Milwaukee but the game was rained out after a delay of slightly more than two hours. Lovullo thought that might have worked in the Diamondbacks’ favor.

”He had to reverse his game plan,” Lovullo said. ”He thought he was starting against the Brewers and then he had less than a day to prepare for us. That’s difficult.”

Pittsburgh rookie Austin Meadows had three hits.

Daniel Descalso’s sacrifice fly brought home the game’s first run before Marte followed with his sixth home run into the right-field stands. Paul Goldschmidt singled in Jay in the second to make it 6-0.

Francisco Cervelli hit an RBI single in the fourth inning for the Pirates. Starling Marte doubled in a run and scored on Colin Moran’s sacrifice fly in the sixth.

The Diamondbacks have scored 35 runs in going 3-1 against Pittsburgh this season.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Diamondbacks: RHP Shelby Miller (Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery) rejoined the team following four minor league rehab starts and is scheduled to be activated from the disabled list Monday to pitch at Miami. Miller was injured April 22, 2017, while facing the Los Angeles Dodgers. He will take the rotation spot of RHP Matt Koch, who was optioned to Triple-A Reno, while RHP Jake Barrett was recalled from the Aces to provide extra bullpen help and got the final out.

Pirates: RHP AJ Schugel (right shoulder discomfort) has started playing catch on flat ground at the team’s spring training facility in Bradenton, Florida. The reliever has been on the DL all season.

TIME TO MAKE UP

Wednesday’s rainout will be made up July 14 when the Pirates and Brewers play a traditional doubleheader starting at 12:35 p.m. ET.

UP NEXT

Diamondbacks: LHP Patrick Corbin (6-5 Rasheem Green Jersey , 3.48 ERA) is 1-2 with a 5.90 ERA in five career starts against the Pirates.

Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (4-5, 4.42) has won both starts with a 1.54 ERA since being activated from the DL on June 10. He missed two weeks with a sprained right ring finger.



During the Texans‘ nine-week offseason program, Deshaun Watson had a set of goals in mind.

The second-year quarterback out of Clemson, who is recovering from tearing his right ACL during practice last season, said he met and surpassed them by the end of the team’s final veteran minicamp on Wednesday.

”Never satisfied, I always feel like I can do better,” Watson said. ”We’ll get better. Those nine weeks I’ve gained a lot on and off the field. Mentally, physically, emotionally Tevin Coleman Jersey , spiritually and I’ve been able to take my game and me as a person to another level.”

Going through this rehab process is not new to Watson.

In his freshman season at Clemson, Watson tore the ACL in his left knee during practice as well. Having been through it before and knowing the work he put in, Watson wasn’t surprised about his progress.

”I kind of knew where I was going to be,” Watson said. ”I put the time, effort and work in every morning. Just been grinding, so I’m not surprised at all. I’m right where I need to be and where I want to be.”

Despite having to recover from the injury, Watson feels as if he is ahead of where he was this time last year.

In 2017, Watson was selected No. 12 overall by the Texans and participated in the offseason program. During his second offseason in the NFL, his experience from the past year is paying dividends now.

”I’m light years away from where I was last year coming in Reuben Foster Jersey ,” Watson said. ”Just a rookie knowing what I knew from college and what I learned in the pre-draft and what I learned in the QB room. Everything was going so fast, a lot of information at that time.

”Having a full season and offseason with Coach (Bill) O’Brien and Coach Sean Ryan I’ve been able to advance my game and take my game to a whole other level. It’s been great.”

O’Brien has seen first-hand the improvement and development of the young quarterback.

”With the work ethic he has and the mindset that he has you’re going to get better at knowledge of the offense, knowledge of the defense and your own mechanics,” O’Brien said.

”There’s just been a lot of improvement in a lot of different areas. He’ll keep it going over the next five weeks and he’ll be ready for training camp.”

Heading into this year’s training camp for the Texans, unlike in some past seasons, there is no doubt who will be taking the reps with the main offensive unit.

With everything being settled on that side, O’Brien said he knows how the reps will be divided.

The biggest benefit is the team knows exactly what they will start working on once training camp begins.

”This year we know who our starting quarterback is,” O’Brien said. ”Obviously we’re very comfortable with that. That’s a good thing for our football team. All that means is that we’re settled there.

”It doesn’t mean anything relative to last year. It just means hey look we’ve got to come in ready to go in training camp and we’ve got to continue where we left off from when he was the quarterback.”

The Texans will finish their offseason program with meetings on Thursday before breaking for five weeks. Houston will open training camp at The Greenbrier in West Virginia at the end of July.

The Texans open their preseason at Kansas City on Aug. 9.



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