ST. LOUIS — Jimmy Dugan was wrong. There is crying in baseball.
Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo had tears in his eyes Friday night after his team’s 1-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, although they had nothing to do with the outcome.
Lovullo saw his starting pitcher, Robbie Ray, take a 108.1-mph liner off Luke Voit’s bat off the back of the head. The ball flew so far away that third baseman Daniel Descalso had to hustle into foul ground to make a diving catch and record an out, which at the time seemed totally inconsequential.
“As much as we love and care for each other, it hit us a little bit,” Lovullo said. “Thank goodness everything came out OK.”
Considering all the terrible possibilities, Ray was fortunate to require only three sutures to close the wound. What’s more, he was released from a hospital and was in the team hotel resting by the time the game ended. Ray is in major league baseball’s concussion protocol.
Their minds perhaps eased by the outcome with Ray, the Diamondbacks will look to regain an edge in the series Saturday night at Busch Stadium with their ace on the mound.
Right-hander Zack Greinke (12-4, 2.92 ERA) has pitched more like the ace the Diamondbacks expected him to be when they signed him from the Los Angeles Dodgers as a free agent before the 2016 season.
Greinke cruised to a 10-2 win Monday night at home against Atlanta, giving up only five hits and two runs over eight innings with no walks and six strikeouts.
Even as he posted the second-worst ERA of his career last year at 4.37, Greinke still feasted on St. Louis, one of his favorite marks. He bagged two wins against the Cardinals, making him 11-4 with a 3.30 ERA in 15 career starts against them.
Greinke also is the ideal man to start this one for Arizona (59-44), which needed 6 1/3 innings from its bullpen after Ray’s injury.
The Cardinals (51-52) will give the ball to Mike Leake (7-8, 3.20) as they try to reach .500 for the first time since June 2. Leake won for just the second time in 10 starts Monday night, firing seven shutout innings as he beat Colorado 8-2.
Leake gave up just four hits, all singles, and fanned six without a walk. So dominant was Leake that he faced only one hitter with a man in scoring position, and that was only because Trevor Story stole second.
Leake has made 10 career starts against the Diamondbacks, posting a 5-2 record and 4.92 ERA. He blanked them over seven innings last May to notch a 6-2 victory.
St. Louis pulled within 3 1/2 games of the first-place Chicago Cubs in the National League Central on Friday night, thanks to Chicago’s 2-1 loss in Milwaukee. While there has been speculation the Cardinals could look to sell by Monday’s trading deadline, that seems unlikely, given how tight the division remains.
“If we can keep doing this and winning games, we have a chance to make a run,” said reliever Trevor Rosenthal.
Rosenthal’s performance Friday night would give anyone reason to believe. He struck out four of the six hitters he faced, bailing the team out of a second-and-third, no-out jam in the eighth and going on to garner his fifth save.