PHOENIX (AP) J.D. Martinez has no intention of letting up, even though the final few games of the regular season are essentially meaningless to the Arizona Diamondbacks. He wants to be in peak form going into the playoffs.
The streaking slugger hit a grand slam and drove in six runs, leading the Diamondbacks and their lineup of regulars to an 11-4 win over the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night.
Martinez continued a torrid September in which he has 15 home runs, 35 RBIs and seven doubles with a .414 batting average. He has 28 homers since the Diamondbacks acquired him from Detroit, tied with Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton for most in the majors since July 19.
The six RBIs tied a career high, and Martinez’s total of 103 RBIs on the season is a career best.
”Now is the time to go. Now’s not the time to say, `OK, I just have to finish these last four games out,”’ Martinez said. ”I’m not a believer in that switch. I think you’ve got to get going, so when the bell rings, we’re clicking on full cylinders.”
The Diamondbacks went with their everyday lineup after giving all but second baseman Brandon Drury the night off Monday, one day after they clinched home-field advantage in the NL wild-card game Oct. 4.
The hitters came out swinging right away. Martinez doubled home two runs in the first inning, then drove his grand slam to right field during a six-run second.
He trotted back to the home dugout with his third slam of the season to chants of ”J.D.! J.D.!” from the crowd.
”I feel like I’m a better hitter now. It’s more of a sense of understanding myself, the game and what teams try to do than maybe three years, four years ago,” Martinez said.
David Peralta and A.J. Pollock also drove in runs in the inning. Seven earned runs were charged to Giants starter Matt Moore (6-15), who couldn’t make it out of the second.
”This is baseball. It can teach you some tough lessons sometimes if you are hard-headed,” Moore said.
San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said he’d like to find some work for Moore one more time before the season ends.
”I don’t want him to go out like this either, because he has been throwing the ball well. I will talk to him,” Bochy said.
Arizona starter Robbie Ray had more than enough support, though he gave up Tim Federowicz’s two-run homer in the fifth. Ray (15-5) allowed three hits in five innings and won for the sixth time in his last seven starts. He struck out five.
Ray was limited to 80 pitches as he looks ahead to how he’ll potentially be used in the postseason. He is scheduled to start Sunday but manager Torey Lovullo on Wednesday is expected to announce his starter for the regular-season finale in Kansas City.
”Hurry up and wait,” Ray said. ”Whenever they call my name I’m going to be ready.”
Ketel Marte doubled and tripled for Arizona, driving in two runs in the fifth with his triple.
Pablo Sandoval and Joe Panik drove in single runs for the Giants in the seventh.
Pinch-hitter Christian Walker had a line-drive home run in the bottom of the seventh that barely cleared the right-field fence, his second homer of the season.
CAIN SET FOR SATURDAY
Bochy said that as of Tuesday, the final three starting pitchers of the season will be Chris Stratton, Matt Cain and Johnny Cueto, which means ace lefty Madison Bumgarner will not get another start before the season ends.
It figures to be an emotional day for Cain on Saturday at home against San Diego. The veteran right-hander hasn’t pitched since Aug. 31 and is 3-11 on the season. He has been a part of three World Series championship teams in San Francisco and is a three-time All-Star over his 12-plus seasons with the team.
Saturday could very well be Cain’s last time on the mound for the Giants, who don’t seem likely to pick up his contract option for 2018.
”With what he’s done for the Giant organization, he’s been here from Day 1 with me, so I want him to make a start at home and Saturday is the best time,” Bochy said. ”Matt’s been great through all this, providing leadership and of course, what he brought to us on the field. This is going to be a special day I think, for him and for all of us.”
A MANAGERIAL FIRST
With the Giants’ 9-2 win on Monday, Bochy earned his 900th victory at the helm for San Francisco. He is the first manager in major league history with 900 or more wins for two teams, after winning 951 games with San Diego.
WORK IT OUT
Lovullo said the team will work out Monday and Tuesday in preparation for next Wednesday’s wild-card game. ”I think this group really likes the idea of spending time together,” the manager said.
Giants 1B Brandon Belt’s season is over due to a concussion. Bochy said Belt is able to do some cardio work and is still being tested, but isn’t completely over the injury yet.
Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija (9-15) is set for his final start of 2017 in an afternoon game Wednesday against Arizona.
Diamondbacks: RHP Braden Shipley (0-1) replaces ace Zack Greinke, who was pushed back to Friday to line him up for the wild-card game. Arizona’s starting rotation going forward is Shipley, Greinke, Taijuan Walker on Saturday and a pitcher to be determined on Sunday.
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