PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks made an under-the-radar move at the trade deadline one month ago, acquiring third baseman Emmanuel Rivera in a trade with the Royals for pitcher Luke Weaver.
So far, the deal looks like a steal for the D-backs.
Rivera had three hits, Jake McCarthy added the go-ahead RBI single and the Diamondbacks edged the Milwaukee Brewers 2-1 on Friday night.
“He's come in and slugged right away,” D-backs third baseman Josh Rojas said of Rivera. “That was a great addition to this team. That was something we needed — we needed another power bat in the lineup."
Milwaukee — which has dropped three of four games — fell to 7 1/2 games behind the division-leading St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central.
The D-backs have won seven of their past eight games. They’ve done their damage against the White Sox, Phillies and Brewers, which are all teams fighting for a playoff spot.
“It’s been a challenging test and I think we’re passing, we’re doing a good job,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “We’re a good baseball team when we do things like we know how to do them.”
Rivera had an RBI double in the fifth and added two singles. The 26-year-old struggled to find a consistent role with the Royals but immediately became a key cog in the middle of the D-backs’ order since the trade.
In 21 games since joining Arizona, he's batting .293 with five homers and 13 RBIs.
The Brewers took a 1-0 lead in the fifth when Andrew McCutchen walked with the bases loaded, forcing home Willy Adames. It was the third straight walk from D-backs reliever Kyle Nelson.
But the D-backs recovered quickly in the bottom of the fifth, tying the game on back-to-back doubles by Christian Walker and Rivera. McCarthy brought Rivera home with a single to give Arizona a 2-1 advantage.
The Brewers left 11 runners on base.
“Today was a strange game,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We got a bunch of base hits, bunch of singles, but didn't really have a ton of guys in scoring position.”
Arizona's bullpen threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings. Ian Kennedy worked the ninth for his 10th save in 14 opportunities.
D-backs right-hander Zach Davies was effective, but needed 91 pitches to navigate 4 2/3 innings. He gave up one earned run on six hits and a walk while striking out five.
Brewers left-handed starter Eric Lauer (10-6) gave up two runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings, striking out five. Kyle Nelson (2-0) got the win for the D-backs.
It was the first time Davies and Lauer met on the mound since they were traded for each other in a Brewers-Padres swap in 2019.
PITCHER OF THE MONTH
D-backs RHP Zac Gallen was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for August after finishing with a 5-0 record and 0.68 ERA.
The 27-year-old is in the midst of a 34 1/3 scoreless innings streak dating to Aug. 8. It's the second-longest scoreless streak in franchise history behind Brandon Webb's streak of 42 innings in 2007.
The D-backs have claimed back-to-back pitcher of the month honors. Right-hander Merrill Kelly won the award in July. Gallen makes his first start of September on Sunday.
Brewers: OF Christian Yelich was out of the lineup after leaving Thursday's game because of a neck discomfort.
The teams play again on Saturday. The D-backs will start LHP Madison Bumgarner (6-13, 4.87 ERA) while the Brewers counter with RHP Corbin Burnes (9-6, 2.84).