PHOENIX -- Arizona right-hander Max Scherzer pitched with a one-track mind Sunday.
"Completely, let's get after them," he said. "Let's get ahead as fast as we can."Scherzer pounded the strike zone, getting ahead of Pittsburgh hitters and making sure the Arizona offense didn't need to give him much help. The Diamondbacks' 9-0 victory over the Pirates was the first win for Scherzer since June 23.Scherzer (6-6) gave up five singles in seven innings, struck out eight and did not walk a batter for only the second time in his 26 career starts. He threw first-pitch strikes to 20 of first 24 batters he faced and reached a three-ball count only twice.Of his 109 pitches, 85 were strikes."For a strikeout pitcher to have that much strike zone command, it is really dominant," Arizona manager A. J. Hinch said."From the first inning on, you could tell. He was challenging hitters with his fastball the first time through the order, then he mixed in his other pitches the next two times. What a great performance on all fronts, from dominating stuff to first-pitch strikes."Mark Reynolds and Gerardo Parra had two-run homers, and Parra had four RBIs while finishing a triple short of the cycle.Reynolds' 26th homer gave Arizona (43-56) a 4-0 lead in the third inning. Parra's homer, his fifth, capped the scoring in the eighth inning.Both homers came with two outs as Arizona scored seven of its nine runs with two outs."That really demoralizes the other team," Hinch said."We are playing well right now, scoring runs and making it easy on our pitchers," Reynolds said.The Diamondbacks had eight extra-base hits, including a double and a triple by Stephen Drew, who extended his hitting streak to eight games. They had 25 extra-base hits in winning three of four during the series.Pittsburgh (43-55) was shut out for the second straight game, and its 11 shutouts lead the major leagues. The Pirates did not score in the final 19 innings of the series."They have a good pitching staff," said Pittsburgh's Freddy Sanchez, who was 0 for 12 with seven strikeouts in the series. "As bad as we are pressing and not doing well, you have to give credit to those guys, too."Arizona recorded back-to-back shutouts for the first time since blanking Washington on May 31 and June 1, 2008. The Pirates have been shut out on consecutive days twice this season, the first time in interleague play at the Chicago White Sox on May 22-23."You get behind a guy like that, it's going to be tough. He got into a good groove," Pittsburgh manager John Russell said. "Spotting them four runs early, it's awfully tough to come back, especially we've been struggling the last couple of games scoring runs."Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero extended his hitting streak to nine games with a run-scoring single in a two-run seventh inning. Montero has hit safely in 17 of his last 18 games and is hitting .371 in July.Parra drove in Drew with a double in the first inning, and he singled in Drew in the fourth. Ryan Roberts also doubled in a run and Chris Young drove in a run with a double in the seventh.Pirates rookie right-hander Virgil Vasquez (1-5) gave up four runs in three innings."Curveball was up, fastball was up. Everything was just up," Vasquez said. "The team needed me to come out and put up a couple of zeros early, and just faltered."
Arizona won its fourth home series of its 17 this season, their first in a four-game series since it swept San Francisco last September. The Diamondbacks have lost 11 series and split two. ... Pittsburgh OFs lead the major leagues with 29 assists after CF Andrew McCutcheon and SS Jack Wilson combined to throw out Parra attempting to stretch a double in the first. The Pirates had 27 outfield assists in 2008. ... Drew's two-out triple in the fourth inning ended reliever Jeff Karstens' hitless streak at 10 2/3 innings. ... Pittsburgh OF Garrett Jones is a top candidate for the NL Player of the Week award. He was 13 for 28 with three doubles, three homers, 12 RBIs and five runs. Jones leads the majors with 10 homers in July.