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Grit Index: Padres’ five-run inning stymies Miley, D-backs

A strange fourth inning lost the Diamondbacks their two-run lead and ousted starting pitcher Wade Miley from the game after just 3.2 innings pitched on Saturday at Chase Field.

Chaos ensued after Eric Chavez dove to stab a sharply-hit Carlos Quentin groundball, only to misplace the ball, confusedly looking at shortstop Didi Gregorius for help with locating it. Quentin, who led off the fourth inning, doesn’t run well and would have been easily thrown out at first, were it not for Chavez’s misplacement. Instead, he was granted an infield single — the first of five eventual hits in the Padres’ nine-batter inning.

Three pitches later, second baseman Jedd Gyorko stung Miley in the upper left thigh with a one-hopper back to the mound. Miley fell on the play but managed to get the runner out, with Quentin advancing to second base. Manager Kirk Gibson and the Diamondbacks training staff visited the mound to check on Miley, who tossed a few warmup pitches and eventually stayed in the game.

But he didn’t last much longer.

The left-hander coaxed just one more out after being hit with Gyorko’s come-backer, ultimately allowing five earned runs in the inning, seven in the game.

The Diamondbacks offense offered no support to Miley thereafter, all four of their runs coming in the first three innings of Saturday’s game. Three of those runs, however, were scored off of the bat of Chavez, the cleanup man, who hit a two-run homer in the first — his sixth of the season — and a sacrifice fly in the third, which Padres outfielder Kyle Blanks leapt and nabbed just beneath the leftfield wall. Padres’ starting pitcher Andrew Cashner saw his struggles end there.

Cashner, a hard-throwing right-hander whose fastball velocity touched 97-mph on Saturday, is now 3-0 with a 2.63 ERA in his last four starts. For him, the win was his first walk-less five-plus inning outing.

Everth Cabrera led the Padres offensive onslaught, coming just a triple shy of the cycle while knocking in four runs and scoring twice. Cabrera also recorded his 100th career stolen base on Saturday and he now leads the majors with 19 on the season.
Though both teams had 12 hits in the game, the Diamondbacks only plated four runners. Be it the offense, Miley’s struggles, or the defense, which committed two errors, the team’s struggles were many. As Gibson said following the game, “It just wasn’t a very good game for us all around.”

The Good

A few players are exempt from the Diamondbacks’ RISP trials. One such player is Chavez, who has one RISP run batted in (13) for every two RISP at-bats (26). The third baseman’s batting average with men on second and/ or third base has swelled to .385 — more than forty one-hundredths higher than his season bating average.

Chavez’s first-inning home run on Saturday came with Gerardo Parra on first base, upping his season batting average with men on base to .369 and his OPS in such contexts to 1.093, with 18 RBI to boot. The 35-year-old has 46 at-bats with men on base this season, which serve as the backdrop for the excellent splits above.

The Bad

Miley has now lost three consecutive starts, surrendering more earned runs (15) than his innings pitched total between the three (14.2). He has a 9.20 ERA in those starts and he now has a career 7.51 ERA against the Padres.

Miley’s current losing streak is the longest of his career. The second-year pitcher, who was the 2012 runner-up in NL Rookie of the Year voting, lost two consecutive decisions on only one occasion last year.

Stat of the Game

The Diamondbacks are batting .202 with two outs this season; .155 with runners in scoring position and two outs. Both marks are the worst in baseball.

He Said It

“It wasn’t like I was throwing good and then the come-backer happened and I threw bad. I just was very inconsistent.” -Wade Miley, following Saturday’s 10-4 loss to the Padres

What’s Next?

Arizona Diamondbacks (27-22) vs. San Diego Padres (22-26)
LHP Patrick Corbin (7-0; 1.44) vs. RHP Jason Marquis (6-2; 3.27)

Coming off his first career complete game, Diamondbacks’ No. 5 starter Patrick Corbin will toe the rubber in the series finale versus the Padres. The left-hander has been sensational thus far in the season, as he’s one of just five undefeated starters in baseball. Corbin has lasted at least 6.0 innings while allowing two runs or less in all nine of his starts this season, setting a franchise record in doing so. He has the second-lowest ERA in the majors, with a 1.44 mark — second only to Clayton Kershaw — and he leads baseball in first-pitch strike percentage (71%).

Corbin will face former Diamondbacks right-hander Jason Marquis, who is 6-2 in nine starts this season, while recording a 3.27 ERA and walking a National League-leading 28 batters. The veteran journeyman pitcher has won six straight entering Sunday’s contest and he’s 2-1 with a 2.41 ERA on the road this season. Marquis hasn’t won a single one of his 11 career starts at Chase Field, tallying a 4.57 ERA and an 0-4 record.