PHOENIX -- One day after the D-backs and Pirates combined for 28 hits, strong pitching from Arizona starter Rubby De La Rosa and Pittsburgh starter Juan Nicasio was the early story in the D-backs' 7-1 victory on Saturday at Chase Field.
De La Rosa gave up a single to first baseman John Jaso and hit the next batter, Andrew McCutchen, to start the game. He recovered quickly, retiring the next five batters in order and 13 of the next 15 after a solo home run by Pirates shortstop Sean Rodriguez with two outs in the second inning.
"The fastball command improved as the night went on, and the fastball stayed 95 [mph] and hotter," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of De La Rosa. "The slider got better as the game went on. That's probably as good of a right-handed slider as we've seen this year."
The D-backs tied the game at 1 in the bottom half of the second on a RBI double by Chris Herrmann off Pirates starter Juan Nicasio. The home team pulled ahead, 2-1, on solo home run by left fielder David Peralta, his second home run in two days, in the third inning.
As for Nicasio, he was charged with two runs on three hits in five innings. He struck out four and walked four in the 101-pitch outing. De La Rosa was replaced by Tyler Clippard after a single by Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco to start the seventh. De La Rosa finished with six strikeouts.
"He did a nice job and got us into the seventh inning," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "We were going hitter to hitter there, and unfortunately, they got the scratch hit and we went to Clippard."
Daniel Hudson tossed a scoreless eighth, and after the D-backs put the game away with a five-run bottom of the eighth, including Herrmann's three-run homer off A.J. Schugel, Enrique Burgos tossed a scoreless ninth.
"We know his bat works. That's why we traded for [Herrmann]," Hale said. "He's done a really good job behind the plate. That's one thing that has gone a little under the radar. He's handled each pitcher as a backup very well."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Serpico goes oppo: Rodriguez stayed hot at the plate, providing the Pirates with a brief early lead. After pulling a homer to left-center Friday night, Rodriguez swatted a 96-mph fastball from De La Rosa into the right-field seats. Rodriguez's solo shot was his third home run of the season. The superutility man already surpassed his walk total from a year ago, and he's one homer away from matching that mark.
"We're all happy for him, the way he's swung the bat," Hurdle said. "It's been fun to watch."
Peralta on a roll: The outfielder hit a home run in the third inning to push his club ahead, 2-1, and has now homered in back-to-back games for the second time in his career. Peralta also hit home runs in consecutive games Aug. 18-19, 2014. Overall, the Venezuela-native has reached base safely in 14 consecutive starts and 18 of 19 games this season.
Herrmann goes four-th: Herrmann's second-inning RBI single snapped an 0-for-10 skid, and his eighth-inning homer was his first since last August. The four RBIs tied a career high, done previously on July 23, 2013, against the Angels while Herrmann was a member of the Twins.
"I just didn't put him away," Schugel said. "I left a changeup up, and that's what happens."
"At the top of the order, getting hits is great and getting on base is great, but just the attitude and the swagger he has, he's a good leader. Guys feel comfortable when they go to the plate after he hits. He's a hacker and he goes after the pitches but there are times when he takes pitches for guys. He'll let the guys on the bench know what the [pitcher] looks like and how his ball is moving. Just his whole game - moving over to second base - has been tremendous for us." - D-backs manager Chip Hale on infielder Jean Segura, who went 1-for-3 on Saturday.
WHAT'S NEXT Pirates: After throwing six scoreless innings and striking out 10 Cardinals on Opening Day, Francisco Liriano has walked nine batters, struck out seven and allowed seven runs in 9 1/3 innings over his two latest outings. The left-hander will try to get back on track in the 4:10 p.m. ET series finale on Sunday at Chase Field.
D-backs: Left-hander Robbie Ray will start the final game of the three-game weekend series against the Pirates at 1:10 p.m. MST at Chase Field. Ray had his best start of the year last time out against the Giants, tossing six shutout innings. Ray walked two batters in the outing after walking five in the previous start.