PHOENIX — Zack Greinke piped his fastball to the spots he wanted and had hitters pounding his changeup into the dirt.
So what if he got a little tired in the eighth inning. This was the kind of start the Arizona Diamondbacks had hoped for from their new ace and maybe one he can build upon.
Greinke struck out seven and pitched effectively into the eighth, helping the Diamondbacks clinch their first regular-season series over the New York Yankees with a 5-3 victory the night of May 17.
“He threw the ball well,” Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale said. “He used his changeup, was really working the ball down. We saw in the eighth there, he started to elevate and they got a couple hits on it, but before it was a knockout pitch for him.”
Arizona blew out the Yankees 12-2 in the series opener and withstood a late rally to win a regular-season series against the Bronx Bombers for the first time in six tries.
Jake Lamb hit a two-run homer off Michael Pineda (1-5) and the Diamondbacks, who beat New York in the 2001 World Series, had 10 hits to win consecutive home games for the first time this season.
Greinke (4-3) looked the part of an ace the Diamondbacks were expecting after signing him to a six-year, $175 million contract, giving up a solo homer to Starlin Castro in the second inning but not much else before tiring late.
Brad Ziegler worked around a walk in the ninth for his eighth save and 36th straight overall.
“It was good everything,” Greinke said. The Yankees had little go right.
Pineda continued his season-long struggles, extending his winless streak to seven straight starts.
Chase Headley had an error on a perfectly thrown ball on a steal attempt at second — he was shifted over — and catcher Brian McCann compounded a passed ball to allow Chris Owings to race all the way from first to third.
“You can’t play like that and win,” Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said.
Greinke has gone through an up-and-down start during his first season in the desert, entering the game with a 5.26 ERA after leading the majors at 1.66 last season.
He struggled the last time out, allowing four runs on eight hits in six innings in a loss to San Francisco.
The 2009 NL Cy Young Award winner was sharp against the Yankees, mixing a low-90s fastball with a curveball that dropped all the way to 67 mph.
Greinke had the Yankees swinging and missing or hitting the ball into the ground, racking up 11 groundball outs.
His one big mistake: A fastball that Castro launched for a towering solo homer to center in the second inning.
Greinke was lifted after allowing two singles to open the seventh and the Yankees followed with a pair of run-scoring singles off Daniel Hudson.
“Got a lot of groundballs, so it (changeup was definitely a valuable pitch,” said Greinke, allowed three runs on five hits in seven innings. “Good fastball location and the slider was pretty good as well.”
Pineda had allowed 28 runs in seven starts, with all but eight of those coming in the first two innings.
Working on an extra day’s rest, Pineda limited the damage in the first two frames to a run-scoring single by Nick Ahmed in the second.
The problems came later.
Arizona scored two off him in the third on run-scoring singles by Paul Goldschmidt and Wellington Castillo, then Lamb launched a two-run homer into the pool deck in right-center to put the Diamondbacks up 5-1 in the fifth.
“I know I am better than that,” said Pineda, who allowed five runs on nine hits and struck out nine in five innings. “I am struggling again. I need to keep working hard and be better.”
(JOHN MARSHALL, AP Sports Writer)