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Sedona Red Recap: D-backs can’t capitalize with runners on base in loss to Tigers

Arizona Diamondbacks A.J. Pollock reacts to striking out against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, May 9, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — The streak is three.

For the third straight game, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ offense failed to score at least four runs, a season-worst stretch; though to be fair, the season is just entering its sixth week.

Still, the trend is not good, especially now that the team is home.

The D-backs dropped their third in row, tying a season-high, losing the series opener to the Detroit Tigers, 7-3, in front of an announced crowd of 20,455 at Chase Field on Tuesday.

Justin Verlander (3-2) pitched into the seventh inning, limiting the D-backs to three runs on seven hits with three walks and eight strikeouts.

Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt, Yasmany Tomas and Brandon Drury each had RBI in a three-run third.

Verlander, now undefeated in three career starts against the D-backs, would settle down and retire 10 of the next 11. He left the game with a 5-3 lead.

All five runs were charged to D-backs starter Robbie Ray.

Facing the team in which he made his major-league debut, Ray (2-3) tied his season-high in runs allowed and walks issued (five) while pitching a season-low five innings.

James McCann homered in the second, while Miguel Cabrera and Mikie Mahtook accounted for three runs in the fifth with a double and two-run single, respectively.

The Tigers added a pair of insurance runs, including a Justin Upton solo home run in the eighth.

The win snapped a two-game losing streak.

Meanwhile, the D-backs have lost five of six.

THE GOOD

Through three innings, Ray had recorded six strikeouts, two in each frame. Twice he struck out Cabrera. In the first, Ray froze Cabrera with a fastball, while in the third, the pitcher got the Tigers’ No. 3 hitter to chase a slider in the dirt. Ray finished with eight strikeouts in five innings. It’s the third straight game and fifth game overall this season in which he’s struck out at least eight batters.

It was heads up base-running by Goldschmidt in the third inning. After an RBI single to plate the D-backs’ first run, he tagged up and took second on Jake Lamb’s fly ball to left field. Now in scoring position, Goldschmidt slide home on Tomas’ single to tie the game at 2. One batter later, the D-backs went in front, 3-2. Drury drove in the go-ahead run with a ground-rule double into the pool area.

THE BAD

Four batters into the game and the D-backs trailed 1-0. Nicholas Castellanos hit a two-out, two-strike groundball through the left side to score Andrew Romine, who had walked to lead off the inning and advanced to second base on a wild pitch one batter earlier. Castellanos has now recorded at least one base hit in 23 of his first 31 games this season.

It’s a pitch Ray most likely wants back: a 93-mph fastball that got too much of the plate on a 1-2 count. McCann blasted the offering into the pool area beyond the fence in right field for a home run to lead off the second inning and give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. For McCann, it was his second homer in as many games and team-best seventh this season.

With one run already in and the bases loaded with two outs in the fifth inning, Ray, who struck out Upton for out No. 2, was unable to limit the damage to the Cabrera RBI double. Mahtook lined a 1-1 pitch up the middle to plate a pair and put the Tigers in front, 5-3; it was only his fourth and fifth RBI this season. It would be the last batter Ray faced.

Timely hitting eluded the D-backs in back-to-back innings, the sixth and seventh. In the sixth, Drury was left stranded after a one-out double. In the seventh, the first two batters reached base safely. After David Peralta and Goldschmidt flied out, Lamb was intentionally walked. With the bases loaded, Tomas struck out on three pitches, whiffing badly on a curveball.

STAT OF THE GAME

3-for-13: The D-backs went 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position, and 0-for-8 in their last eight opportunities.

HE SAID IT

“A little bit of a frustrating night offensively,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “I felt like we had some opportunities to impact the game but just couldn’t take advantage of some key moments and some key situations. You got to give Verlander some credit. I know he’s been in that situation many times. He didn’t back down and made pitches when he had to.”

NOTED

– Ray threw a first-pitch strike to 17-of-24 batters faced. In addition, he reached a three-ball count nine times.

– Between Ray (28) and Verlander (29), there were 57 pitches (28 strikes) thrown in a 30-minute first inning.

– Replay confirmed Goldschmidt beat the throw and avoided the tag to score the tying run in the third inning.

– T.J. McFarland exited the game after one pitch in the sixth inning after he took a McCann liner off of his left leg.

– Upton put a finger to his lips to shush the crowd on his way to the dugout after his eighth-inning home run.

– Drury has reached base safely in 23 of 26 starts this season over which times he’s hitting .308 (32-for-104).

– Goldschmidt has reached base safely in 21 consecutive home games, the second-longest streak of his career.

– The D-backs and Tigers are meeting for the first time since 2014, and it’s their sixth meeting all-time in Phoenix.

– With a first-pitch temperature of 75 degrees, the game was played with the roof open but the panels closed.

UP NEXT

Right-hander Zack Godley receives a second opportunity to be the long-term solution as the D-backs No. 5 starter. He’ll be matched up against left-hander Matthew Boyd in the series finale on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station.

Godley (0-0, 3.60) made a spot start on April 26, tossing five innings with two runs allowed in an 8-5 loss to the Padres. Upon his return to Triple-A Reno, he pitched once, striking out eight though walked five in 6.1 innings.

Godley has never faced the Tigers.

Meanwhile, Boyd (2-2, 3.78) will be making his first career appearance against the D-backs.

After winning two of his first three starts, he’s winless over his last three, including being the tough-luck loser on Wednesday versus the Indians in which he was tagged for three runs on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts in a season-best 7.2 innings.

Boyd has a 1-0 record in Interleague play.

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