D-backs rally once again neutralized by Padres response in loss
PHOENIX — In the series opener between the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres on Thursday, the D-backs scored five runs in the seventh inning to tie the game, only to surrender the lead and the game the very next inning on a solo home run.
Saturday, Arizona scored four runs in the sixth to tie the game up before San Diego’s Franmil Reyes homered off Matt Andriese in the top of the seventh for a 5-4 D-backs deficit that held to loss number four in a row.
It’s a frustrating loss for the D-backs beyond that, from the beginning of the game to the end.
Arizona hitters got great contact off Padres starter Matt Strahm but stranded a baserunner in scoring position in each of the opening three innings.
San Diego was more advantageous against Merrill Kelly.
The D-backs right-hander could never get himself established. The Padres had three hits in the first, including a two-RBI single by Eric Hosmer.
Ian Kinsler began the second with a double, but even after two more singles, Kelly was able to keep them scoreless in that half-inning and the gap at only two runs.
He wasn’t so lucky in the third, though, when highly-touted rookie Fernando Tatis Jr. followed up a Hosmer double with a two-run homer obliterated to left-center for a four-run Padres lead.
That’s a whole lot of momentum-shifting baseball in the opening third of the game but Kelly was able to settle down a bit and get through five innings.
The D-backs broke through the wall in the sixth.
Christian Walker struck out after David Peralta’s walk, and from there, the D-backs had a runner advance on five straight batters. Eduardo Escobar and Nick Ahmed singled, with Ahmed bringing home Peralta.
Carson Kelly’s double scored Escobar and a fielder’s choice for Ildemaro Vargas moved Kelly to third and saw Ahmed cross home plate. With Adam Jones at the plate down a run and Kelly 90 feet away from tying the game, a grounder hit deep into the left side was enough for Jones to not give Tatis a play and score Kelly.
“It’s just one of the characteristics that this team has that we keep fighting and clawing,” manager Torey Lovullo said after the game of the inning.
The back-breaking inning would be the seventh, and not just because of Reyes’ go-ahead dinger. The Padres walked four straight D-backs hitters to start the inning, and if you’re wondering why that didn’t result in any runs, it’s because Jarrod Dyson was caught stealing on second.
Padres reliever Trey Wingenter’s motion fooled Dyson into thinking a pitch was coming and easily caught Dyson in a rundown.
Dyson said after the game he had never seen the righty’s “inside move” that was able to catch him off-guard.
On second with no outs in a one-run game, the question of Dyson even trying to steal a base is warranted but Lovullo said he’s always going to give Dyson a green light if he wants it.
“I felt like putting it in his hands, he felt comfortable probably making a decision and it just didn’t work out,” Lovullo said of Dyson, the outfielder who is well-known for his base-stealing ability. “Sometimes you get clipped.”
So, after Dyson, Peralta and Walker walked, Escobar was hit by a pitch and Ahmed hit into a double play to end the inning.
The ninth inning presented an opportunity for retribution, when, as the first inning for the D-backs started with a double, so too did the ninth with Ketel Marte.
But like Jones, Marte was left stranded at second for three straight outs. Pinch-hitter Tim Locastro failed to get a bunt down by striking out, Peralta also was punched out and Walker gave Padres closer Kirby Yates the turkey and his ninth save in nine opportunities.
Andriese (1-2) was given the loss while Padres reliever Craig Stammen (2-0) got the win for cleaning up the aftermath of the sixth.
Arizona looks to avoid the sweep and five defeats in a row on Sunday against the Padres at 1:10 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.