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PHOENIX (AP) — To say Chris Herrmann was off to a slow start with the Arizona Diamondbacks is an understatement.
He came into Saturday night's game against Pittsburgh with one hit in 20 at bats. But work with hitting coach Dave Magadan and assistant coach Mark Grace paid off.
Hermmann drove in four runs with a home run and double, Rubby De La Rosa gave up three hits over six-plus innings, and the Diamondbacks beat the Pirates 7-1.
"Oh man, it's been driving me crazy," Herrmann said of his season-opening slump. "I play every now and then and if I have a bad game I kind of sit on it for awhile."
He doubled in a run in the second and hit a three-run homer on a changeup from A.J. Schugel in Arizona's five-run eighth. The four RBIs tied Herrmann's career high.
As the backup catcher, Hermann plays sporadically. That makes getting into a rhythm at the plate difficult.
"It's starting to come," Arizona manager Chip Hale said. "He has that potential to be a good hitter like this. Unfortunately, he is going to be played sporadically so we have to find a way to keep his swing solid."
De La Rosa (2-3), whose previous two appearances were out of the bullpen, didn't allow a hit after Sean Rodriguez's home run with two outs in the second inning until Gregory Polanco's infield single to start the seventh.
"The thing that really stood out to me was that we were just keeping guys off balance," Herrmann said, "mixing a lot of sliders first pitch and have those guys guessing the entire game."
De La Rosa said the work out of the bullpen "helped a lot."
"You're more aggressive," he said. "You go in there and just pitch."
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Schugel had been masterful against left-handed hitters this season.
"It is the first time he has been chipped all year," Hurdle said. "Until the hit from Herrmann, lefties were 1-for-10 against him."
Schugel threw Hermann a series of changeups.
"I was ahead in the count 1-2 an just didn't put him away," Schugel said. "I left the changeup up and that is what happens."
David Peralta homered for the second straight night, a solo shot off Juan Nicasio (2-2), to put the Diamondbacks up 2-1 in the third. Nicasio gave up two runs and three hits in six innings.
The Diamondbacks won for the sixth time in seven games and evened the three-game weekend series. The Pirates are 2-3 halfway through a 10-game road trip.
Rodriguez's third home run of the season, and second in two nights, was an opposite-field shot to right with two outs in the second.
Arizona tied it at 1-1 in the second when Herrmann lined a double to the right-field fence, scoring Nick Ahmed from first. Third baseman David Freese's fielding error allowed one of the Arizona runs to score in the eighth.
Before the game, Arizona's Zack Greinke was presented the Players Choice Award for outstanding pitcher in the National League last year.
The award is determined by vote of NL players. Greinke went 19-3 with a 1.66 ERA with the Dodgers last season.
Before the game, the Diamondbacks recalled right-handed reliever Enrique Burjos from Triple-A Reno and optioned right-hander Silvino Bracho to Reno.
Burjos had not allowed a run in five appearances for the Aces. He pitched the ninth for Arizona Saturday.
Pirates: INF Jung Ho Kang was 0 for 11 through Thursday in his rehab appearances for Triple-A Indianapolis. He is recovering from knee surgery.
Pirates: LHP Francisco Lariano (1-1, 4.11 ERA) makes his second start on Sunday since skipping one due to right hamstring discomfort.
Diamondbacks: LHP Robbie Ray (1-0, 1.96) tries to continue his strong start to the season when the Diamondbacks and Pirates conclude their three-game series.
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