This is what happens when you get good pitching. You keep the game close until one big hit can win it for you.
The Phillies have utilized this recipe a lot in the early stages of this season and they did it again Wednesday night. Jake Arrieta delivered the team's 12th quality start in 23 games and Aaron Altherr provided the big hit the team needed in a 5-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citizens Bank Park.
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Altherr, a Phoenix-area native, smacked a three-run home run against Zack Greinke with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning to rescue the Phils from a one-run deficit and give them a two-run lead.
It was Altherr's second difference-making hit in three games. His RBI single in the 11th inning lifted the Phils to a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.
Altherr got off to a slow start – he had just three hits in his first 39 at-bats – but he has seven hits and seven RBIs in his last seven games.
The win was the Phillies' 14th in the last 18 games and it improved them to 15-8. It came against an Arizona club that entered with the second-best record in the majors and against a pitcher who had dominated the Phillies in recent seasons. In 11 previous starts against the Phillies, Greinke was 7-1 with a 2.56 ERA and a .194 opponents batting average.
Arizona is 16-7.
Arrieta went seven innings and pitched over some poor Phillies' defense. The club made three errors, two of them in the infield (Maikel Franco and J.P. Crawford) to lead off innings. Both of those errors led to runs.
Arrieta held the D-backs to four hits. He walked two and struck out two. He has won each of his last three starts and all have been quality starts – six or more innings, three or fewer earned runs. His ERA in four starts is 1.82.
After Arrieta left, relievers Adam Morgan, Luis Garcia and Hector Neris closed out the Diamondbacks.
The two teams close out the series on Thursday afternoon with Ben Lively opposing right-hander Matt Koch. Arizona won the first game, 8-4, on Tuesday night.
• General manager Matt Klentak said right-hander Jerad Eickhoff was progressing well in his recovery from a strained lat muscle. "When he comes back to this team, he's going to be back in the rotation," Klentak said. "We need to get him stretched out. I think we're looking at the later part of May. It could be sooner than that. Fortunately, right now we have five guys rolling through the rotation, doing pretty well. We can afford to do the right thing for Jerad and not rush him back."
Relievers Pat Neshek and Mark Leiter Jr. are due back sometime in May, as well.