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Cubs lose series opener to Diamondbacks 4-3


PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks played a ton of one-point games last season and lost the most.

This year’s team is built not just to survive, but also to thrive in close games. They did it again Friday night.

Ketel Marte had three hits and drove in, Zach Davies pitched effectively in the sixth inning and the Diamondbacks beat the Chicago Cubs 4-3 for their seventh win in one-run games after going 10-31 the last season.

“We are mentally, physically and fundamentally prepared to win this type of game,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “We were able to perform at a high level to win this match.”

Marte struggled to start the season after signing a long-term contract in spring training, but has started to return to All-Star form in the past two weeks. He had a pair of doubles against Drew Smyly (1-4) and finished 3 for 4, taking his average to .222.

Davies (2-1) allowed three runs and four hits with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Ian Kennedy worked a goal-laden jam in the eighth after shortstop Geraldo Perdromo’s two-out error and Mark Melancon threw a perfect ninth for his seventh save in eight chances.

Chicago had two hits after taking a 3-0 lead in the third inning and five overall to lose for the seventh time in nine games.

“This team has a great heart rate,” Lovullo said. “They don’t panic. They go through the process, stay with their preparation and become very focused. We responded.”

Davies, who went 6-12 for the Cubs last season, hadn’t allowed an earned run in 14 1/3 innings before facing his former team.

The Cubs ended the right-hander streak in the third inning on Ildemaro Vargas’ two-run triple and Rafael Ortega’s sacrifice fly. Davies was solid in every other inning, starting with a 4-3 lead with two outs in the sixth inning.

“I was nice today,” Davies said. “I felt like there were bats where I was ahead and I wasn’t able to put the guys out or fall behind and have to fight them. But in Overall, I was happy to get through that inning and be able to pitch in the sixth inning.”

Smyly had been good on the road this season, his ERA (1.26) more than four points lower than Wrigley Field.

The southpaw wasn’t as sharp at Chase Field.

Marte and Pavin Smith doubled RBI against Smyly in the third inning and Christian Walker added a single. Jose Rojas moved up to third after walking to start the next set and scored when Smyly unleashed a wild pitch to make it 4-0.

Smyly allowed four runs and 10 hits and struck out four in six innings. He’s lost four straight starts since beating Pittsburgh on April 12.

DAMAGE AVOIDED

Things got a little dicey for Kennedy in the eighth after Pedromo mishandled Willson Contreras’ sharp grounder.

Kennedy narrowly missed a few shots to walk Ian Happ and Patrick Wisdom to load the bases. The right-hander escaped the block when he blocked Alfonso Rivas to induce a weak pop to short center field.

“You can’t make a mistake in the middle of the area and Ian is smart enough to know that,” Lovullo said. “He was throwing quality pitches, they just weren’t giving up. The inning got a little longer, but when he had to pitch, he did.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: LHP Justin Steele pitched a bullpen with no problem after leaving the fifth inning of Sunday’s tee against the Dodgers with a sore left thumb. … RHP Alec Mills (strained lower back) is scheduled for a bullpen session on Saturday.

Diamondbacks: SS Nick Ahmed was out of the lineup to rest his right shoulder, an injury that sidelined him the first two weeks of the season. He struck out as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning.

NEXT

Diamondbacks RHP Zac Gallen (2-0, 0.95) has the lowest ERA by a starting pitcher in his first five starts in club history heading into Saturday’s game against the Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks.


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