For facing a team that was more than 130 percentage points better in the standings and starting a former Cy Young winner Monday night, the Arizona Diamondbacks put up a pretty respectable fight at home against the Detroit Tigers in the first of a three-game series.
The Tigers got to new Diamondbacks starter Vidal Nuno for two early home runs, and six-time All-Star pitcher Justin Verlander was perfect through three innings, but Arizona came alive in the fourth.
Aaron Hill led off with a single to center, and Paul Goldschmidt doubled him to third base. Miguel Montero lined out to the pitcher, but both runners advanced and the Diamondbacks had their first run. Mark Trumbo then singled to left to bring Goldschmidt home. Martin Prado would later add a double, but Verlander got out of the inning with the Tigers still leading 3-2.
Two innings later, Gerardo Parra crushed a Verlander pitch to right, and the game was knotted up at 3.
The tie didn't last long though, as Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera nearly doubled to center field off Randall Delgado, which plated leadoff hitter Austin Jackson in the top of the seventh. Cabrera was thrown out at second on the play, but his RBI would be all the Tigers needed, as they held on for a 4-3 victory, snapping Arizona's three-game winning streak.
Detroit (first in the AL Central) improved to 55-41, while the Diamondbacks fell to 43-57, fourth in the NL West.
Here's a look at Monday's contest by the numbers:
Young relief pitcher Matt Stites finished out the final two innings for the Diamondbacks, tying his longest appearance in the Majors. He threw 27 pitches and did not allow a single hit, run or walk. He also didn't have any strikeouts.
Nuno gave up homers to Torii Hunter (a two-run shot) and Jackson. It was the left-handed pitcher's shortest outing since joining Arizona, as he went 4.2 innings while surrendering seven hits and three earned runs. He also walked one and struck out three in 81 pitches. Nuno (0-1 in the National League, 2-6 overall) has given up 18 homers on the season in 19 starts.
Parra's sixth-inning solo blast was his sixth homer of the year, giving him his 29th RBI. Based on the number of games left, the sixth-year outfielder is slightly behind his pace from last year of 10 home runs and 48 RBI.
Center fielder David Peralta went hitless for just the 10th time in his 39 games as a rookie. He did walk once Monday, advancing to third on Aaron Hill's single in the seventh inning. Peralta had a chance to score the tying run, but Goldschmidt grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning. The D-backs rookie had one last opportunity to get a hit in the bottom of the ninth with two outs after Cody Ross' pitch-hit single, but he grounded out to first. He went 0-for-4 in the game, but is still batting .322 on the year.
The two clubs combined for 13 runners left on base, with the Diamondbacks stranding seven. Arizona finished with eight hits, while Detroit tallied nine.
Hill went 2-for-4 in the game for his 24th multi-hit outing of the season (in 94 appearances), including his third in a row. The 32-year-old second baseman added one run in the game and is now batting .250.
Goldschmidt went just 1-for-4 in the game, his average falling slightly to .310, but his lone hit was a double, giving him 38 on the season, which is two ahead of Cabrera for the most in the Majors. The two-time All-Star also struck out twice in the contest, and has done so 98 times so far this season.
Monday's meeting with the Tigers marked the Diamondbacks' 100th game of the season. With 43 victories, they have a .430 winning percentage. If they were to have won the series opener, they actually would have moved 1 percentage point ahead of the San Diego Padres -- who had the day off -- for third place in the NL West.