First-year D-back Brandon McCarthy went eight innings for the first time since 2011 and looked poised to get win No. 1 on the season, but the Arizona bullpen let their right-hander down late in Sunday’s contest.
The Phillies scored two times in the ninth inning off de facto closer Heath Bell to force extra innings, and in the tenth former MVP Ryan Howard knocked in the game-winning, two-run single off reliever Matt Reynolds as Philadelphia rallied for a 4-2 comeback victory and a series split with the D-backs.
For Arizona, it was the 11th time this season the bullpen has blown a save. It was also Kirk Gibson and Co.’s first loss in extra innings in 2013.
Coming into Sunday’s outing, Brandon McCarthy had the second-highest ERA among starting pitchers in the National League. However against the Phillies, the 29-year-old was in complete command of his fastball and secondary pitches. In eight scoreless innings, McCarthy gave up seven hits and struck out five.
His seven hits allowed were the fewest all season.
Despite McCarthy’s phenomenal performance, D-backs relievers once again dropped the ball.
Manager Kirk Gibson called on Heath Bell in the ninth to record his fourth save of the week, but early on it was evident the three-time All-Star did not have great stuff.
Bell gave up a double down the right field line to Chase Utley to start the inning. After getting Ryan Howard to ground out, the D-backs closer yielded another double to Delmon Young which cut the deficit to 2-1.
Dominic Brown followed with an RBI single and just like that the game was tied and McCarthy couldn’t factor in the decision.
Bell would allowed one more single in the inning before being pulled in favor of Brad Ziegler.
In the tenth, Matt Reynolds, who came in with a 22-game scoreless streak, couldn’t hold the Phillies offense down either.
After allowing a Jimmy Rollins single and Chase Utley double, Reynolds gave up a go-ahead, two-run single to Howard, who was previously 0-of-18 in the series.
Stat of the Game:
9: Brandon McCarthy has gone nine straight starts without recording a victory dating back to August 31 when he was still a member of the Oakland Athletics.
He Said It:
“Yeah I know, I think for that guy, you know I wouldn’t call it scuffling but he’s been giving up runs every outing so I think it was good for(Gibson) to take him out in the 8th. That’s why we have a closer out there. We have guys out there that can get the job done. I think (McCarthy) did a great job and I agree with taking him out of the game because it will keep his momentum going for him and he came out positive with his confidence back.” — Catcher Miguel Montero on his conversation with Kirk Gibson and Charles Nagy after the eighth inning
• Gerardo Parra hit a leadoff home run to start the game for the second time in his career.
• Eric Hinske made his first start of the season at first base for the D-backs. Paul Goldschmidt had started each of the previous 37 games.
• Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon has now converted 14 straight save opportunities.
Kirk Gibson’s squad concludes its homestand with a three-game series against former D-back Justin Upton and the Atlanta Braves. The first game of the series starts Monday with left-hander Wade Miley (3-1, 2.93 ERA) going against Braves left-hander Mike Minor (4-2, 2.96 ERA). First pitch is at 6:40 p.m. and can be heard on Arizona Sports 620.