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Prado sparks D-backs to comeback win

The SportsXchange

PHOENIX -- Martin Prado did not let a slow start chip into his belief, and now he is beginning to put the kinds of numbers that have marked his career.

"I've always been confident. Always. No matter if I am hitting .100 or .400, I'm the same guy," Prado said.

Prado had four hits and four RBIs, and his two-run single with the bases loaded in the eighth inning gave the Arizona Diamondbacks a 9-8 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays to finish a two-game series sweep Wednesday at Chase Field.

Arizona's Didi Gregorius walked and pinch hitter Gerardo Parra singled off Joel Peralta (1-5) before Adam Eaton walked against closer Fernando Rodney. Prado followed with a single to right-center.

"There were a lot of people asking why I had a tough first half," Prado said. "Every player has a rough patch. I moved on. I'm here for my teammates. Feeling better. Working hard to get myself in a good position to help my team."

Prado hit his 10th home run of the season in a three-run third inning and finished a triple short of the cycle while tying his career high with four hits. He has 26 hits in his last 67 at-bats to raise his season average to .274, the highest it has been since April 16.

J.J Putz (3-1) pitched a scoreless eighth, and Brad Ziegler got his seventh save of the season by getting Evan Longoria to ground into a game-ending double play with runners on first and second. The D-backs had a team-record six double plays, five on the infield.

"We're swinging the bats good," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "We made great defensive plays. That's who we are."

Longoria hit a two-run double and pinch hitter Sam Fuld followed with a two-run single in a four-run seventh inning as the Rays took an 8-7 lead. Tampa Bay (66-47) has lost four of its last six.

Aaron Hill had two doubles and drove in two runs, and Eric Chavez had two singles, scored twice and drove in a run for the D-backs (58-55), who have won three of their last five.

"It was very difficult because we definitely played hard tonight and well enough to win it," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "Our bullpen was just not normal tonight. Beyond all the double plays, et cetera, our bullpen is unusually more lock-down than that."

Matt Joyce had three hits for Tampa Bay, and Wil Myers had three singles before leaving due to asthma symptoms, the Rays announced.

"In the first inning when I had to score from first base, I needed the inhaler after that," Myers said. "It is just something that I deal with when I am in higher elevations, thin air like Arizona."

Kelly Johnson hit his 16th homer for Tampa Bay, and Yunel Escobar had two hits and two RBIs.

Ben Zobrist, Joyce and Escobar doubled in the first inning and Myers singled as the Rays took a 3-0 lead six batters into the game. Joyce drove in one run and Escobar drove in two.

Paul Goldschmidt singled home a run in the first off Rays starter Chris Archer, who left with what the Rays called forearm tightness after throwing a 2-1 pitch with two outs in the second inning. Archer was 4-0 with an 0.73 ERA in July, winning the AL pitcher and rookie of the month awards.

"I felt it on a pitch, and a couple of pitches later, I felt the same thing," he said. "Nothing serious. All the tests came back negative. I am glad they are cautious with me, thinking about the future, and hopefully it just dissolves and my next start I am out there at normal game speed."

NOTES: Myers has reached base in 21 straight games via a hit or a walk, three short of OF Rocco Baldelli's franchise rookie record set in 2003. ... Rookie RHP Zeke Spruill will make his second major league start Sunday, the D-backs announced Wednesday, in the final game of a three-game series against the New York Mets. That will push LHP Wade Miley to Monday. Thursday's off day enables the other four D-backs starters to pitch on five days' rest the next time through the rotation. ... Tampa Bay LHP Matt Moore (shoulder soreness) played catch for the second day in a row and continues to progress toward a bullpen session either Saturday or Sunday. Maddon said the bullpen work will go a long way toward determining if Moore needs a rehab start. Moore, 14-3 with a 3.14 ERA, last started July 28. ... Rays RHP Alex Cobb (concussion, right index finger blister) is scheduled to make a rehab start for Class A Charlotte on Friday.
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