PHOENIX — A.J. Pollock got the pitch he was looking for, and while his game-winning hit wasn't a long line drive, it got the job done.
Pollock singled off the glove of third baseman Alex Bregman with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, lifting the Arizona Diamondbacks over the Houston Astros 4-3 on Saturday night to end their longest skid of the season at three.
Pollock delivered off reliever Brad Peacock on the first pitch after Chris Devenski (1-1) had walked the previous two hitters to load the bases. Brad Boxberger (1-2) got the win in relief.
"We came up with a good plan. I was going to sit on it," Pollock said of a pre-at-bat conversation with hitting coach Dave Magadan. "Just kind of feeling the game out. It wasn't pretty ... but it was what we needed."
Astros reliever Collin McHugh became the first pitcher to enter a regular-season game in the Diamondbacks' shiny new bullpen cart. McHugh replaced starter Charlie Morton in the sixth inning.
Brian McCann doubled with two outs in the eighth inning off Yoshihisa Hirano to pull Houston to one run down, and then pinch-hitter Derek Fisher scored McCann with a double to tie it at 3.
In a dramatic ninth, the Diamondbacks had Deven Marrero on second base with one out when David Peralta, who homered earlier in the game, was called out on a check-swing appeal. Reliever Archie Bradley was ejected for arguing with third base umpire Dan Iassogna from the dugout.
Pollock's hit bounced into shallow left field to score Marrero.
"I made a good pitch, broke his bat but it just found a hole," Peacock said.
Bradley did his part with 1 1/3 innings scoreless innings, retiring the Astros' star trio of George Springer, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa in the seventh.
"Emotions got the best of me," he said. "Just part of the game."
The Diamondbacks' Zack Greinke held the World Series champions to a run on five hits over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out five and walked two.
Morton worked five innings and only allowed three hits, but gave up three runs and walked four. Morton uncharacteristically walked the first three batters he faced and four total in the first but only gave up one run.
"It was a good recovery. He is almost out of the game in the first or second inning," Astros manager AJ Hinch said.
Pollock's sacrifice fly with the bases loaded gave Arizona a 1-0 lead, but the Diamondbacks couldn't add on despite loading the bases again in the inning. Morton came into the game with 13 walks this season.
With two outs in the second inning, Peralta ripped a hanging curveball into the seats in right field, his sixth home run of the season.
The Astros threatened in the third against Greinke, but with one and two on, Pollock took extra bases away from Correa when he leaped and stretched to catch a long fly ball to center field. Greinke then wiggled out of a two-out, bases-loaded jam.
"Seems like he's always in the right spot," Greinke said of Pollock's catch. "Perfect job."
Springer hit the first pitch of the fifth inning over the wall in left-center for his seventh home run, making it 2-1.
Greinke led off the bottom of the inning with a double and scored on Peralta's single for a 3-1 Diamondbacks lead.
The Diamondbacks have had the bullpen cart ready for use since opening day, but no reliever opted to take it over Arizona's first 17 home games.
McHugh changed that by hitching a ride around the warning track to begin the sixth inning. He was dropped off just outside Houston's dugout, then walked the rest of the way to the rubber. All that saved energy proved useful — McHugh pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings before handing off to Joe Smith, who journeyed to the mound on foot.
"It was there, they provided it for us, so I decided to give it a shot," McHugh said. "I am still new to this whole bullpen thing so I don't think I have too much of a routine to deviate from."
Arizona's cart is the first known motorized vehicle used in the majors since 1995, when the Milwaukee Brewers shuttled pitchers in a motorcycle with a sidecar.
"I was kind of jealous," Bradley said of McHugh going for a ride. "I've been wanting to use it, haven't found the right time. But yeah, he's the first guy to use it and maybe more guys will jump on. I'm going to keep jogging out."
'SHIP' COMES IN
The Diamondbacks recalled right-hander Braden Shipley from Triple-A Reno before Saturday's game and optioned Friday's starter, Kris Medlen, to Reno. Shipley will serve as a long reliever but will be considered to start a game next week in what was Medlen's spot.
Diamondbacks: 3B Jake Lamb (shoulder) could throw again as soon as Sunday. RHP Shelby Miller (recover from elbow surgery) will throw a bullpen session on Tuesday and after that, a game in extended spring training, manager Torey Lovullo said
Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (4-0, 1.13 earned run average) faces Arizona Sunday afternoon on an 11-game regular-season winning streak, the longest active win streak in the majors.
Diamondbacks: RHP Matt Koch (1-0, 2.37 ERA) makes his fourth start of the season when he faces the Astros.