The saying goes, “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”
Well, the Diamondbacks didn’t start well and despite a strong finish, lost to the Houston Astros, 4-3, in the interleague series opener in front of an announced crowd of 18,805 at Chase Field on Monday.
Starter Josh Collmenter, who in his last home appearance faced the minimum 27 batters in a shutout victory against the Cincinnati Reds, allowed two runs in both the first and second innings. Matt Dominguez, Jose Altuve and Jason Castro each had RBIs.
“I wasn’t very good the first few innings,” said Collmenter, who suffered his first defeat in nine starts. “Didn’t settle in for awhile, couldn’t find a rhythm.”
He did eventually, surrendering but a pair of singles the final five innings.
Collmenter (4-3) worked seven, giving the bullpen a break. He walked one and struck out five.
Meanwhile, Astros starter Jarred Cosart retired the first 10 Diamondback hitters.
“He had a good live arm,” manager Kirk Gibson said.
Down 4-0, the Diamondbacks scored once in the fourth and twice in the sixth but were silenced the final three innings, striking out five times.
Cosart pitched six innings to even his record at 5-5.
The loss ended the Diamondbacks nine-game winning streak against Houston, what had been tied for the longest active win streak against any opponent in the Majors.
Paul Goldschmidt’s fourth-inning run-scoring double was his 24th two-base hit and 47th RBI of the season, both marks tops among NL first basemen. The hit also extended the Diamondbacks’ streak of consecutive games with a double to 22, second-longest stretch in club history.
Miguel Montero accounted for two of the Diamondbacks six hits. He has now reached base safely in 11 of his last 12 games, hitting .370 (17-for-46).
Josh Collmenter may not have started well, but he certainly finished well, retiring 15 of the last 17 batters he faced, including the final seven. He did not allow a runner to reach second base after the second inning to record his third quality start in his past four outings and fourth overall.
Ender Inciarte made two nice plays in center field. First, he tracked down a Jason Castro deep fly ball, racing to the wall in right-center in the fifth. Later, he sprinted in and dove to rob Jonathan Villar of a base hit for the third and final out in the eighth, stranding runners on first and second.
Martin Prado entered the game six hits from 1,000 and five RBI from 400 for his career. He got no closer to either mark after going 0-for-4, including grounding into an inning-ending 1-4-3 double play stranding a runner in scoring position in the fourth and striking out with runners on first and second and one out in the sixth.
Aaron Hill plays a solid second base, but his glove failed him in the first. With runners on the corners and two outs, he made a backhanded attempt to stop a Robbie Grossman grounder. The ball went in and out of the glove for an error, Hill’s third of the season, allowing the second run of the inning to score.
Hill also saw his six-game hitting streak against the Astros snapped. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.
David Peralta’s hitting streak ended as well with an 0-for-4 performance. He had hit safely in each of his first seven Major League games, the first Diamondback to accomplish the feat.
For the second straight game, the Diamondbacks went hitless the first time through the order with five of the nine batters striking out against starter Jarred Cosart, who finished with a season-high tying eight strikeouts.
STAT OF THE GAME
7: The Houston Astros have won seven of eight and ended a seven-game losing streak against interleague teams; Chad Qualls, the one-time Diamondback, converted his seventh save, while Dexter Fowler extended his hitter streak to seven games
HE SAID IT
“All things considered, with our bullpen the way it was, for (Josh Collmenter) to give us seven innings and give us 100 pitches and that situation the way he started, that was excellent,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “He did his job. We had a great opportunity to come back and win; couldn’t push them across.”
Umpires needed but 38 seconds to review whether or not Miguel Montero tagged out, which he did, Jose Altuve, who was thrown out trying to score from second base by Gerardo Parra
One-time Diamondback reliever Tony Sipp played right field for one batter during his 1.2 inning appearance
Will Harris recorded his first scoreless appearance since April 11 against the L.A. Dodgers
As quickly as it began, it ends.
The two-game interleague series concludes on Tuesday, June 10. Bronson Arroyo and Brad Peacock is the mound match-up. First pitch is scheduled for 12:40 with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Arroyo (5-4, 4.50) is coming off a win at Colorado on June 5 in which he allowed four runs in 6.1 innings. He’s 4-2 with a 2.89 ERA (18 ER in 56.0 IP) in his last eight outings. Peacock (2-4, 4.82), meanwhile, is making his ninth start after beginning the year in the bullpen. The Astros have won each of his last three starts, while he’s picked up wins in two of those three. This will be his first career appearance against the Diamondbacks.