Zack attack: Greinke lends swagger in return

D-backs ace turns in victorious quality start in first outing since June 28

Zack attack: Greinke lends swagger in return

NEW YORK -- The D-backs appeared to have a little extra bounce in their step in Tuesday night's 5-3 win over the Mets at Citi Field.

And it's probably no coincidence that they also had their ace, Zack Greinke, back on the mound after a six-week stint on the disabled list with a strained left oblique.

Greinke sustained the injury on June 28 against the Phillies. From June 29 until this past Sunday, the D-backs went 9-22, the worst winning percentage in the Majors over that time period.

"It just gets guys invigorated," D-backs manager Chip Hale said of Greinke's return. "They know he's out there, he's going to give us a quality start pretty much every time he goes out there, so guys are excited to play behind him."

Greinke (11-3) allowed three runs on five hits over six innings, with two of the three runs coming on a Neil Walker homer during his final inning.

Outside of a two-batter sequence in the sixth when he gave up a double to Curtis Granderson and then Walker's homer, Greinke looked sharp, throwing 64 of his 93 pitches for strikes.

Walker's two-run jack

"Just Granderson had a good battle that last at-bat, and [it was] not necessarily a bad pitch, but it wasn't perfect, and he got a double," Greinke said. "Then close to what I was trying to do to Walker. I thought it was a popup, and it ended up going over the fence. Then made good pitches the rest of the inning."

Indeed, Greinke retired the next three hitters to end the sixth, and the bullpen, which has struggled mightily this year, held the Mets scoreless through the final three innings.

It looked a lot like how the front office envisioned the team playing when it made a splash this past winter by signing Greinke and trading for Shelby Miller.

"It's been pretty awful," Greinke said of having to watch the team's slide while on the DL. "Hopefully it gets better from here. Today was about as good as it gets. Everything kind of clicked. Scored some runs, starter pitched semi-deep, semi-decent, and then the bullpen pitched great and we got a win. It was really just how you want it to be."

Greinke made the most of his time on the DL, spending time with the team's young pitching staff. He could be seen talking to them during games on the bench and even working with them at times in the bullpen during side sessions.

"When I've been on the DL, I've had more time to do that stuff," Greinke said. "Whereas when I pitch it takes so much concentration just to pitch well that it will just wear me down too much to do some of that. It just gave me something to do, and it was fun learning from them too."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.