Goldschmidt homers, D-Backs beat Cubs to take series
PHOENIX - Trying to get Paul Goldschmidt to talk about himself is a futile exercise.
So let his starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson do it.
"Best player in the game," Hellickson said.
Goldschmidt hit his second home run in three days and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Chicago Cubs 4-3 on Sunday to win the three-game series.
Goldschmidt's 12th home run of the season, a two-run shot off Jason Hammel to the porch in deep right-center, put Arizona up 4-1 in the third.
"I was just looking for something to hit hard," he said. "Fortunately he made a mistake and I was able to tee it out of there."
Goldschmidt also singled in a run in the first.
In the three-game series, the Arizona first baseman was 5 for 10 with two home runs, five RBIs, four runs scored, four walks and two stolen base. Goldschmidt is hitting .333 with 38 RBIs.
"That ball he hit out," Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said. "I've never seen a guy, just basically the flick of his wrist, hit it that far."
Miguel Montero homered against his former Arizona teammates, a solo shot to the opposite field. Chris Coghlan hit a two-run homer that cut the Diamondbacks' lead to 4-3 in the fifth.
Hellickson (2-2), who played for Cubs manager Joe Maddon when the two were with Tampa Bay, allowed three runs on four hits in 6 2/3 innings to get the win. He also had his first career RBI. Hellickson won for the first time at Chase Field, where 39,660 - the second-largest crowd of the season - gathered for fedora giveaway day.
Brad Ziegler pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save.
Hammel (3-2) went seven innings, allowing four runs on five hits with nine strikeouts and an intentional walk.
"A tale of two pitchers," Hammel said. "I felt good. The first three innings I just couldn't get the ball over the plate, too many pitches up in the zone. Obviously Goldy when he is locked in he is not going to swing at too much bad stuff and if you are over the plate he is probably going to hurt you."
Arizona shortstop Nick Ahmed tripled and made two outstanding defensive plays. He made a tough backhand stab to start a double play that ended the sixth, then ranged far to his left to field Jorge Soler's grounder and throw him out.
"It's probably not fair because we expect him to make all these great plays," Hale said. "It's just not that easy. We've all played. Everybody down that bench has done it. And the stuff he does is just mind-boggling every day."
Coghlan made a spectacular grab of Ender Inciarte's sharply hit fly ball to left in the seventh.
The Diamondbacks, winners in six of their last seven, broke a 1-all tie in the third. Ahmed led off with a triple, extending his career-best hitting streak to nine games, and scored on Hellickson's sacrifice fly.
With two outs, Goldschmidt homered. He had a two-run homer to tie it in the 10th in the Diamondbacks' 5-4 win in the series opener on Friday.
Chicago went 3-3 on the trip to San Diego and Phoenix.
"At this point you get greedy. We did play better than that but you accept it at this moment," Maddon said. "Coming out west, the time change, all that stuff. Day game after a night game. Going back for another day game tomorrow. It is not easy."
Diamondbacks: RHP Bronson Arroyo, recovering from Tommy John surgery, is to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday, his first in 10 months. ... RHP Matt Stites (right elbow inflammation) is to pitch an extended spring training game Monday, then report to Class A Visalia.
Cubs: Chicago opens a three-game series at home with Washington. LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (0-0, 3.86) makes his second start since being called up from Triple-A Iowa. He struck out a career-nine against San Diego on Tuesday, allowing two runs on four hits in 4 2/3 innings. RHP Tanner Roark (0-2, 2.66) goes for the Nationals.
Diamondbacks: After a brief three-game homestand, Arizona is on the road for the next six. RHP Chase Anderson (1-1, 2.54) starts on Monday night against St. Louis and RHP Carlos Martinez (4-2, 4.08).