Williams has strong start, Pirates snap 6-game skidPosted: Updated:
Trevor Williams pitched five strong innings and the Pittsburgh Pirates snapped a six-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday night.
Nick Ahmed homered twice for the Diamondbacks, the second to make it a one-run game in the ninth. It was Ahmed's first career multihomer game.
Williams (2-2), in his second start since taking the rotation spot vacated when Jameson Taillon left to begin treatment for testicular cancer, gave up a run on four hits, striking out four and walking one.
Williams retired the last 12 batters he faced.
He had been hit hard for eight runs in three innings against the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Monday night. But the only run he allowed Saturday was Ahmed's leadoff homer in the second.
Tony Watson, coming off his first blown save of the season, survived a scare to get his eighth save in nine tries.
He gave up Ahmed's homer with one out in the ninth but got Jeff Mathis to fly out to center.
Pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso walked and A.J. Pollock's broken-bat pop out to third ended the game.
Taijuan Walker (3-3) gave up four runs, three earned, on eight hits in six innings to take the loss, only the seventh at home for the Diamondbacks in 22 games.
Paul Goldschmidt also homered for Arizona.
Andrew McCutchen had a run-scoring double and John Jaso a pinch-hit RBI single for the Pirates.
The game was played without incident a night after Arizona's Chris Iannetta was hit in the face with a fastball from Pittsburgh's Johnny Barbato.
Ahmed homered on a line shot off the wall of the Arizona bullpen down the left field line. Light-hitting Mathis followed with a double but was stranded at third when Gregor Blanco fouled out and Goldschmidt struck out.
Pittsburgh took the lead in the fourth. The Pirates loaded the bases with no outs and tied it at 1-1 when Francisco Cervelli bounced into a double play. Jordy Mercer was walked intentionally to bring up Williams and second baseman Brandon Drury booted a routine grounder to allow the Pirates to go up 2-1.
Goldschmidt hit Felipe Rivero's 100 mph pitch into the right field seats in the eighth to cut the Pirates' lead to 4-2.
Iannetta has several stitches in his upper lip, plus a couple of fractured teeth and a broken nose after getting hit in the face by a fastball. Tests for a concussion were negative but manager Torey Lovullo said Iannetta would be monitored closely. There's been no decision on whether to put him on the 10-day disabled list, the manager said.
But he won't be rushed back.
"The obvious concerns are, being a catcher and the mask, foul tips, just ripping open wounds," Lovullo said, "so we're going to take our time with this one."
Arizona has two other catchers -- Mathis and Chris Herrmann.
RH Ivan Nova (3-3, 2.23 ERA) takes the second-best ERA in the National League to the mound to try to give the Pirates a split of their four-game series in Arizona. LHP Robbie Ray (2-3, 4.14) goes for the Diamondbacks. He's fourth in the NL in strikeouts.