Ahmed's defense, hitting help D-Backs end 6-game skid
PHOENIX (AP) Nick Ahmed tripled and scored. But the slick-fielding shortstop's defense was equally crucial in Arizona's 3-1 victory over the Miami Marlins on Monday night.
Ahmed bare-handed a ball and in one motion barely got a forceout at second. Another time, he did a 360-degree spin to convert one of the four double plays for the Diamondbacks, who snapped a six-game losing streak and handed the Marlin s their fourth straight loss.
Ahmed finished with 10 assists, one shy of Stephen Drew's club record.
''I always liked to play and have fun doing it,'' he said. ''My dad would come home from work and I would beg him to go out in the yard and hit me groundballs. My high school coach would always stay after practice and hit me groundballs. It's always something I loved doing.''
Rubby De La Rosa went seven innings for his first win in five starts and David Peralta singled in two runs.
De La Rosa (7-5) allowed a run on five hits, overcame a season-high five walks and got his second RBI of the season by hitting into a bases-loaded fielder's choice.
The double plays, De La Rosa said, ''saved the game.''
He would get no argument from Miami manager Dan Jennings.
''The double plays were definitely a nemesis tonight,'' Jennings said. ''We couldn't deliver with two outs, and the difference in the game was honestly they did and we didn't. Phelps pitched well enough to win. He had the one problem in that one inning where we mishandled a bunt, then walked a guy, but he battled, kept us in it and gave us a chance.''
Derek Dietrich homered for the Marlins, who were coming off a three-game road sweep at the hands of the Phillies.
Peralta's two-out, bases-loaded single off David Phelps (4-6) in the third provided the only runs needed by the Diamondbacks, who were swept at home by San Francisco over the weekend. Peralta has 11 RBIs in his last 14 games.
Phelps went 5 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits with four walks and three strikeouts. Phelps disputed the assessment he had pitched well.
Miami loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, but closer Brad Ziegler got Dietrich to ground out to Ahmed for his 10th assist. Ziegler got the last five outs for his 15th save of the season and 13th in a row.
Ahmed led off the Arizona third with his second triple of the season, a shot to deep center. Phelps struck out De La Rosa and got Ender Inciarte to ground out to second before A.J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt walked to load the bases. On the next pitch, Peralta's opposite-field single to left brought two runs home.
De La Rosa escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first, inducing Adeiny Hechavarria to hit into the first of Arizona's four double plays.
In the sixth, the Diamondbacks loaded the bases and De La Rosa's broken-bat blooper brought in a run. Ahmed, uncertain if the ball would be caught, was forced out at second on a throw from right fielder Ichiro Suzuki.
Leading off the seventh, Dietrich homered just over the glove of Inciarte in right field, the ball bouncing off the top of the fence and over, to cut the lead to 3-1.
A BASEBALL `FLOP?'
Three pitches into the game, Suzuki went to the deck emphatically as the umpire ruled he was hit by a pitch. The trainer rushed out to see if he was all right. But the Diamondbacks challenged and the video replay clearly showed the ball hit the bat, not him.
Muhammad Ali watched the game from the owner's suite. The boxing great, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, lives in suburban Phoenix.
Marlins: Jennings said OF Giancarlo Stanton has been cleared to begin ''dry swings'' of the bat. The slugger has been out since June 27 after fracturing a bone in his left wrist. He still is tied for the NL in homers (27). ... RHP Jarred Cosart's recent bout of dizziness was caused by vertigo, Jennings said, and more tests are planned, with the results likely later this week.
Marlins: RHP Mat Latos (3-6, 4.90 ERA) gets the start. He is 1-3 with a 2.57 ERA on the road, 2-3 with a 6.92 ERA at home.
Diamondbacks: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (6-5, 5.04) goes for Arizona. He has allowed three runs in his last 11 innings.