Snakes Snatch Series Opener
AL West Lead Drops To 2-1/2

Hirano: Gets props from catcher
(c) Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle
With Oakland pulling off a dramatic win in St. Pete, Houston had motivation to get the runs needed to defeat Arizona Friday night. It seems this year the Astros just aren't the same club at home as they are on the road, which is the opposite from most teams in sports. The Diamondbacks are trying to keep their own playoff hopes alive and took the series opener, 4-2, pushing the Astros' lead in the A.L. West to 2-1/2 games.

The Diamondbacks put two aboard in the first inning against Dallas Keuchel when David Peralta's comebacker made it through the infield for a 2-0 lead. "Los Astros" immediately answered against Robbie Ray, filling the bases. Yuli Gurriel bounced a single for one run then another scored on a double play grounder by Carlos Correa.

That 2-2 draw lasted until the eighth inning when Hector Rondon was on the mound for the Champs. Nick Ahmed spanked a one-out double then pinch-hitter Jon Jay swung at a breaking pitch that actually struck his bat twice then had enough backspin to drop inside the right field line to bring home the winning run. Playing the shift, right fielder Josh Reddick had a long haul to run down the ball which became a triple before the Snakes stopped Jay at third. A sinking bloop by A.J. Pollock which eluded a diving George Springer in center, added an insurance run. (Springer is listed as day-to-day after jamming his shoulder with the dive.)

Houston had a final chance to tie in the ninth. Yoshihisa Hirano gave up a leadoff single to Marwin Gonzalez and a walk to Brian McCann. Josh Reddick tapped into a textbook 6-4-3 double play to kill the rally before J.D. Davis bounced to third to end the game.

Keuchel tossed six innings, allowing two runs on five hits and four walks to get a no-decision. Ray lasted 5-1/3rd, giving up just two hits and three walks. Peralta had three of Arizona's ten hits while the Astros totaled just five for the night.

'Zona will now deploy their Twin Zack Attack (tm) for the weekend. Zack Godley (14-9) will pitch the 6:10 p.m. Central contest for Saturday against Charlie Morton (14-3). All-Star Zack Greinke will pitch for the Snakes on Sunday. What are the odds that a rotation will have two pitchers with the initials "Z.G."?

- Bob Hulsey