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Pollock exits in ninth as D-backs suffer sixth straight defeat

Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder A.J. Pollock (11) leaves the field due to injury as he talks with head athletic trainer Ryan DiPanfilo during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Monday, May 14, 2018, in Phoenix. The Brewers defeated the Diamondbacks 7-2. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Slumps are inevitable over the course of 162 games. That’s why the good teams stack wins while they can, riding the wave to build a buffer when things are going well.

The Arizona Diamondbacks were doing exactly that for the first month and a half of the season, using strong pitching and timely hitting to put a gap between themselves and their division rivals.

Now, though, they’re not really getting any hitting. And that buffer is melting away in a hurry.

Just past the quarter mark of the season, Torey Lovullo’s group still sits atop the NL West. And their 24-17 mark has them ahead of the pace they set through 41 games of their impressive 2017 campaign.

Overall, they’re still in a decent spot. It just doesn’t feel like it at the moment.

That’s because they dropped their sixth straight game on Monday night, in front of 17,390 fans at Chase Field. Jonathan Villar and Tyler Saladino each homered for Milwaukee, as the NL Central-leading Brewers pulled away late in a 7-2 win.

Patrick Corbin surrendered four runs over six innings – the most he’s allowed all season – and the Arizona bats remained mostly silent. In fact, the one through four hitters combined for just one single all night. And then, to really cap off a frustrating evening, A.J. Pollock left in the ninth inning after attempting to make a diving catch on a sharply hit ball to center.

Pollock appeared to roll up on his left wrist as the ball got by him, and exited with a trainer. Lovullo said Pollock was being evaluated after the game, is likely dealing with a thumb issue that is officially being called a “sprain” and will see a hand specialist on Tuesday.

With the loss, the Diamondbacks have dropped nine of 12. And Colorado’s win over San Diego tonight has the Rockies just 1.5 games back of Arizona for the division lead now.

THE GOOD

– Corbin struck out four of the first five batters he faced.

– It still wasn’t a great night statistically for Paul Goldschmidt, who finished 1-for-4. But he hit the ball hard in each of his first three at bats, lining out to deep right center in the first, singling and scoring in the fourth and driving the ball all the way to the right field wall in the fifth.

– Steven Souza Jr. picked up his first RBI as a D-back in the fourth with a sharply hit double down the left field line.

-Souza finished with a pair of hits – his second multi-hit game with Arizona.

– With runners on first and third in the Milwaukee half of the seventh, Daniel Descalso threw out Manny Pina at home to keep the game tied. That was one of the last things that went right for Arizona, though…

THE BAD

– It was the bottom of the Milwaukee order that did the damage, with Pina, Villar and Orlando Arcia – the 6-7-8 hitters – combining for six hits and scoring five runs.

– Tyler Saladino delivered a pinch-hit, two-run, inside-the-park home run in the ninth, drilling a Fernando Salas pitch past Pollock in center. That’s the play Pollock was injured on.

– Salas continued his recent struggles, surrendering three earned runs in just two innings.

– For the fourth time in the last five nights, Arizona was held to two runs or less.

– Corbin picked up his first loss of the season to drop to 4-1. All five of his decisions have come at home.

STAT OF THE GAME

4: Number of pitchers the D-backs had to use in the seventh inning.

HE SAID IT

“I’d just say whatever the effect [of the humidor] is – if there’s a different one – I mean, it’s for both teams. So I think, regardless of if it is affecting the ball – I mean I’m sure there’s some effect, I don’t know what it is – both teams are playing with it so the outcomes of games are not going to be skewed one way or the other.” – Paul Goldschmidt

NOTED

– Ryan Braun missed tonight’s game with mid-back tightness. He was supposed to play instead of Villar.

– Arizona is now 10-4 in series openers this season.

UP NEXT

These two clubs will square off again for the second meeting in this three-game series Tuesday night at Chase Field. Arizona is sending Zack Greinke to the mound while Milwaukee counters with Jhoulys Chacin. First pitch is set for 6:40 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning at 6 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

Greinke (3-2) was brilliant in his last start, scattering four hits and just one run over seven innings, while also singling, driving in a run and stealing the sixth base of his career. That somehow still wasn’t enough, though, as the D-backs fell to the Nationals 2-1 on May 10.

Overall, Greinke has surrendered just four runs over his last three outings – good for a 1.93 ERA over 18.2 innings in that stretch. He’s 1-3 in five career starts against the Brewers, and he also pitched for them in 2011 and 2012.

Chacin (3-1) was solid in his last appearance, yielding two runs over 5.1 innings in a 5-2 victory over the Rockies on May 10. He’s won his last three decisions and, as a team, Milwaukee is 7-2 when he starts the game this year.

In 16 career starts against Arizona, the 30-year old righty is 6-4 with a 3.48 ERA.

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