Walks will hurt you every time, and two-out walks are the most painful of all.
Needing only one out to end the eighth inning, Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Will Harris, recalled a week ago from Triple-A Reno, issued back-to-back free passes to Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy. Aramis Ramirez followed with a two-run double and Khris Davis an RBI single.
The three runs snapped a 3-3 tie and ultimately led to a 9-3 victory by the Milwaukee Brewers in the first of a four-game series in front of an announced crowd of 18,262 at Chase Field on Monday.
“We had it set up pretty good right there. It didn’t work out,” manager Kirk Gibson said of opening the inning with Joe Thatcher before turning to Harris.
The Diamondbacks’ bullpen had allowed only four earned runs in 19 innings over the last seven games, yet surrendered six runs — three by J.J. Putz in the ninth — over the final two innings in the series opener against the second-best team in the National League.
Starter Brandon McCarthy struggled early, giving up three runs in the first three innings, but then settled down to retire 13 of the final 14 batters he faced, including nine straight at one point.
“I got back into a good place. Just started attacking more, trying to do everything I could to keep us in it and go as deep as I could,” he said.
Offensively, the Diamondbacks did all their damage in the second frame, scoring three times. However, they did not advance a runner past second following that three-run outburst, falling to 1-5 in the last six games and 2-13 in McCarthy starts.
“That’s the issue for me,” he said. “You want to be part of the team winning, and that’s the most difficult thing about this.”
It took all of one at-bat for Paul Goldschmidt to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. He singled to right in his first plate appearance. Since June 7, Goldschmidt is batting .382 (13-for-34) with four doubles, four home runs and seven RBI.
The first four batters singled to open the second inning to give the Diamondbacks a 3-2 lead. Roger Kieschnick, recalled from Triple-A Reno earlier in the day, drove in the first run with a base hit to center. Brandon McCarthy followed with a base hit to right, plating the tying and go-ahead runs.
With no outs and runners on first and second, Gerardo Parra likely saved a run from scoring in the third inning. He left his feet and made like Superman to rob Ramirez of a hit and perhaps extra bases. On the play, Parra doubled Braun off second for his fourth outfield assist of the season.
More outstanding defense occurred in the seventh inning when Aaron Hill made yet another impressive play at second. On a sharp grounder up the middle, he dove, knocked the ball down and fired to first to beat Mark Reynolds — the one-time Diamondback — by a half-step, if not less, for the first out of the inning.
After a quick nine-pitch 1-2-3 first inning, McCarthy allowed two runs on three hits plus a walk in a 24-pitch second frame. The damage was limited thanks to Jean Segura hitting into a 3-6-3 double play, his eighth grounded into double play of the season.
McCarthy continued to have trouble keeping the ball in the ballpark. For the third straight start, he allowed a home run, a line drive solo shot just above the yellow line in right-center field by Scooter Gennett to lead off the third inning. McCarthy has surrendered 15 homers, tied for the third-most in baseball.
With one out and the go-ahead run at second in the seventh inning, Parra took exception to a Wily Peralta fastball that nailed him in the right side. As he made his way to first, Parra, still with his bat in his right hand, stared down the Brewers pitcher, forcing umpire Ted Barrett to run down the line to keep the peace.
The Diamondbacks lost a seventh inning challenge that Martin Prado had beaten the relay throw on a 3-6-1 inning-ending double play. The umpires reviewed the close play at first, and after 57 seconds the call was confirmed. Prado was out, which dropped Gibson to 5-for-13 on managerial challenges.
STAT OF THE GAME
3: The number of hits the Diamondbacks recorded after the third inning. They finished with 11.
HE SAID IT
“The intention of the replay rule is outstanding and it’s been great,” said Gibson, before commenting on the non-overturned call in the ninth inning that led to his eighth career ejection after arguing with crew chief Ted Barrett. “I don’t know who was there in New York looking at it. It was clear and convincing on our scoreboard that (Elian Herrera’s) foot came off (the third base bag) and his back foot was not on there, and (Prado) had the tag on his helmet. It’s something that I think needs to be talked about because that should not be missed, in my opinion.”
– Miguel Montero has thrown out six of the last eight attempted basestealers.
– McCarthy has walked three batters or fewer in 96 straight starts, the longest-active streak in baseball.
– David Peralta has recorded two or more hits in seven of his first 15 games, tying the club record for a D-back in his first 15 games (Matt Kata, 2003).
– Kieschnick’s RBI single in the second was his first hit and first RBI as a member of the Diamondbacks.
– Before he was even introduced, fans started booing — with a few yelling, “Cheater!” — as Braun made his way to home plate for his first at-bat of the game.
– The Diamondbacks held a moment of silence for long-time San Diego Padres outfielder Tony Gwynn. The Hall of Famer passed away at the age of 54 earlier in the day.
Wade Miley looks to end a six-start winless drought when he takes the mound in the second of a four-game series against Milwaukee on Tuesday, June 17. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Miley (3-6, 4.71) has not registered a win since May 10, going 0-3 with a 4.54 ERA (19 ER in 37.2 IP) since that time. He has not factored in the decision in either of his past two starts.
The Brewers, meanwhile, counter with right-hander Lyle Lohse (7-2, 3.00), who has recorded 11 quality starts in 14 outings this season. He’s 3-3 in 12 career starts against the Diamondbacks, including 0-1 in two opportunities last year.