The Arizona Diamondbacks haven’t enjoyed a six-game winning streak since they went on a nine-game tear back in 2011. They came close Saturday night, however, before letting it slip away late.
Arizona had won five straight entering play on Saturday, leading Chicago 6-4 heading into the eighth inning. But the Cubs rode the wave of a six RBI night by Anthony Rizzo to even up the three-game series in front of 30,502 fans at Chase Field.
For the fourth consecutive game, the D-backs took the lead in the first inning. Following an A.J. Pollock strikeout, Mark Trumbo doubled to right off of Jake Arrieta while Paul Goldschmidt coaxed a walk. Two batters later, Yasmany Tomas extended his current hitting streak to eight games with a two-run single, putting Arizona up 2-0.
The Cubs didn’t threaten until the fourth, when they put runners on first and second with just one out. Rubby De La Rosa induced a double play off the bat of former D-backs catcher Miguel Montero to get out of the inning unscathed, however, and the D-backs held on to their lead.
The 26-year old righty wasn’t able to work out of a similar jam in the fifth though. With two strikes and two outs, he hit Kris Bryant with a pitch while the bases were loaded, driving in Chicago’s first run of the evening. Up next, Rizzo continued his impressive year by doubling to clear the bases.
Yet, the Diamondbacks responded quickly, loading the bases in their half of the inning before getting a three-run triple off the bat of David Peralta to go up 5-4. They added to the lead in the sixth when Tuffy Gosewisch took a 1-0 Arrieta pitch over the left field wall for his first home run of the season.
The Cubs were able to tie the game at six in the top of the eighth courtesy of a two-run double by Jorge Soler. That set up the potential for another extra-inning affair, but Rizzo had other ideas. With one out in the ninth, he hammered a 1-1 Enrique Burgos pitch over the right field wall, giving Chicago a lead they wouldn’t surrender.
-After walking Dexter Fowler to open the game, De La Rosa settled down to retire the next nine consecutive batters in order.
-Gosewisch helped the cause, laying out for a Larry Fitzgerald-esque catch on a Chris Coghlan bunt attempt that was popped up in foul territory to close out the second inning.
-Arizona batters continued to deliver big hits in key situations, driving in five runs with two outs Saturday. For the season, they now have 89 two-out RBI, the best mark in the majors.
-The Diamondbacks had been successful in 11 of their last 12 stolen base attempts — and 13 of their last 15 — entering Saturday’s contest. They went 0-for-2 in that department Saturday however, as Pollock was thrown out trying to take second base in the third inning. Aaron Hill suffered the same fate in the fourth.
-De La Rosa was one pitch away from getting out of the fifth with a 2-0 lead intact but, with the bases loaded, he hit Bryant with a pitch following a quick conference on the mound with Gosewisch. And then he gave up a long double to Rizzo — the only really hard-hit ball of the inning — that cleared the bases.
-In fact, Arizona pitchers hit two Chicago batters –Bryant in the fifth and Montero in the eighth — both of whom ultimately came around to score.
STAT OF THE GAME
8: A day after seeing his six-game multi-hit streak end — but still managing one hit in the outing — Yasmany Tomas extended his overall hitting streak to eight games in the first inning. Nick Ahmed did the same in the fifth.
HE SAID IT
“That’s their guy. It’s tough to watch him with… six RBI, right? They got him up there in leverage situations, which is what you try to do with those guys so you can’t walk them — or even pitch around them. He did a good job. He beat us tonight.” – D-backs manager Chip Hale, discussing Anthony Rizzo’s impact
-New Arizona State head basketball coach Bobby Hurley threw out the ceremonial first pitch, with ASU’s famous “Curtain of Distraction” set up behind home plate.
-Ever since earning a victory over the Dodgers on April 6, Arizona has dropped six consecutive Saturday games.
-Through their first 42 contests of the season, the Diamondbacks have scored 200 runs. Last season, they had just 159 runs after 42 games.
The two clubs will wrap up their three-game series Sunday afternoon at 1:10 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning a half-hour earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
A pair of right-handed pitchers will take the mound, as the Cubs will throw Jason Hammel and the Diamondbacks will counter with Jeremy Hellickson.
Hammel (3-1) has pitched well this season, allowing three earned runs or less in seven of his eight starts. He’s only factored into one decision in his last four starts, however. Hellickson (1-3) is coming off a decent effort in Miami, where he allowed two earned runs over six innings against the Marlins. Though Arizona did win that game, Hellickson hasn’t actually picked up a victory since April 19 in San Francisco. This will be his first ever appearance against the Cubs.
After the series with Chicago, the D-backs begin a six-game road trip through St. Louis and Milwaukee that begins on Monday.