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Pollock powers up as D-backs pound Pirates

The SportsXchange

PHOENIX -- A.J. Pollock does not consider himself a power hitter, but that does not mean his first career two-home run game Wednesday was necessarily a surprise.

"For me, hitting home runs is not about power. It's about hitting the ball correctly and your approach at the plate," said Pollock, whose two homers led the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 10-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"It's 340 feet down the line. It's not like you need to hit it 600 feet to hit it out. It's more about getting the right pitch and taking the right swing in the right count."

Pollock hit a three-run home run to give the Diamondbacks a 6-0 lead in the second inning, and he added a solo homer in the fourth, both off loser Jonathan Sanchez (0-2). Pollock had two home runs in 99 career at-bats before connecting in the second.

"You always want to go out and show what you got. Today wasn't about that. It was more about winning," said Pollock, as the D-backs salvaged the final game of a three-game series.

D-backs left-hander Wade Miley gave up two runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings to get his second victory in his second quality start of the season, half of the D-backs' total through their first nine games. Miley won 16 games last season when he finished a close second to Washington outfielder Bryce Harper in the National League Rookie of the Year voting.

"Every one of us wants to go out and give the team a chance to win every time out. I was getting ahead of guys early. Mainly it's about getting ahead and controlling at-bats. They were putting the ball in play, and the defense was making plays," Miley said.

Starling Marte had two of Pittsburgh's five hits, driving in the Pirates' second run with a bases-loaded infield single in the seventh inning. He was 6-for-13 in the series. Josh Harrison singled in the Pirates' first run in the fourth inning.

Sanchez has given up 12 earned runs and 14 hits in two starts, covering 8 1/3 innings. He had four of the Pirates' eight walks.

"I didn't make quality pitches," Sanchez said.

"He just wasn't sharp. But we've got to get the ball in. All of our pitchers have to get the ball in. It's part of our program. It's part of what we do, what we need to do and that didn't happen again," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

Pollock, who hit second in the order for the first time this season, broke a 0-for-14 skid with a double in a three-run first inning. He was picked off second but scored when Sanchez threw wildly to third base. The double was his first hit since he went 3-for-4 with a two-run double in a 6-2 victory over St. Louis on opening day.

"I really just focused on saying I'm not trying to do anything different. You do everything right and don't get any hits, and the next thing you're changing something and you're doing everything wrong and not getting hits," Pollock said.

"It's baseball, I was just trying to go out and be a good competitor."

D-backs rookie outfielder Alfredo Marte, who made the team when Adam Eaton and Cody Ross opened the season on the disabled list, doubled in the final run in the first inning and reached base four times. He also singled, walked and was hit by a pitch.

Paul Goldschmidt singled and scored twice, the second time when Pirates reliever Chris Leroux walked three straight batters, the last two with the bases loaded in a four-run fourth inning. Miley's run-scoring groundout drove in the final run for a 10-1 lead.

Marte's double as the leadoff batter in the first inning was the Pirates' only hit until they bunched two singles and a walk to score in the fourth.

Andrew McCutchen drew a one-out walk and Gaby Sanchez singled before Harrison singled in McCutchen.

NOTES: Arizona second baseman Aaron Hill was held out of the game after being struck in the left hand by a fastball in the fifth inning of a 6-5 loss to Pittsburgh on Tuesday. "I hate it," Hill said of the time off. X-rays taken after the game showed no break, the D-backs reported, and Hill said he expects to be available for the opener of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday. ... Pittsburgh infielder John McDonald was 0-for-3 in his first start of the season in place of second baseman Neil Walker, who has one hit in his last 24 at-bats. The D-backs traded McDonald to Pittsburgh with a week remaining in spring training because of an excess of middle infielders, but Willie Bloomquist (right oblique) suffered an injury two days later than would have created a spot for McDonald. ... Hurdle removed starters Russell Martin in the fifth inning and McCutchen in the sixth after the D-backs took a 10-1 lead. Both played every inning of the Pirates' first eight games. ... D-backs infielder Josh Wilson made his first start of the season in replacing Hill and saved a run with a backhand stop and throw to end the Pirates' fourth inning with runners on first and second.
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