PHOENIX — They say you’re only as good as your last performance.
Unfortunately for the Arizona Diamondbacks, that performance is a 6-1 loss to the Cleveland Indians in front of an announced crowd of 21,269 at Chase Field on Wednesday.
Four hits and five baserunners is all the Diamondbacks could muster against starter Corey Kluber, who combined with three relievers for the victory, earning a split of the brief two-game series and snapped a four-game losing streak.
Kluber (7-5) pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing only one hit after the second as he faced the minimum the final five frames he was on the mound. He walked one and struck out eight, slamming the door on any positive momentum the Diamondbacks thought they would be able to carry over from the prior night’s 14-inning marathon win.
“It’s kind of hard when you get shut down like that. He’s been shutting a lot of guys down,” manager Kirk Gibson said. “We hadn’t seen him. He threw the ball very well; hard to get anything going on him. Just couldn’t match him tonight.”
Meanwhile, starter Chase Anderson (5-3) was scored upon in four of the five innings he pitched, losing his third straight decision after opening the season, and his career, 5-0. He allowed four runs on seven hits, including two home runs.
“Just a couple of bad pitches, bad pitch selection on some,” the rookie right-hander said. “But overall, I felt good; just too many runs…probably not the best outing I’ve had. I’ve got to do better next time.”
The loss capped a 3-6 homestand and once again dropped the Diamondbacks to a season-high tying 15 games under .500.
Ender Inciarte accounted for two of the Diamondbacks five hits. He singled in the first and doubled in the third, giving him six hits in the series, including a career-high four in the opener.
Inciarte is batting .500 (7-for-14) in three games since being moved into the leadoff spot.
With his two-out walk in the ninth inning, Paul Goldschmidt extended his streak of reaching base safely to 18 consecutive games, the second-longest streak of his career, during which time he is hitting .306 (19-for-62) with five doubles, four home runs, nine RBI and 19 walks.
Looking to avoid their eighth shutout loss of the season and down to their final out, the Diamondbacks scored their lone run of the game on Miguel Montero’s base hit to center which plated Inciarte. It was Montero’s fifth RBI of the homestand.
Well, that didn’t take long at all. Michael Bourn hit a leadoff triple, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a sacrifice fly and it was 1-0 Indians two batters and five pitches into the game. Anderson would give up one more hit before striking out both Carlos Santana and Jason Kipnis to end the first inning.
Only Colorado has surrendered more home runs than the Diamondbacks, who have now allowed 95 after Yan Gomes deposited a 1-0 offering from Anderson into the seats in left field in the second inning and Michael Brandley nailed a 1-0 pitch over the right field wall in the fifth inning. They were the 12th and 13th long balls given up by Anderson this season, the eighth and ninth this month.
The Diamondbacks’ best scoring opportunity, and what turned out to be their only opportunity against Kluber, came in the first inning, when Inciarte and Gerardo Parra opened with back-to-back singles ahead of Goldschmidt and Montero. However, Goldschmidt struck out looking and Montero hit into an inning-ending double play.
Goldschmidt stuck out three times in his first three at-bats, which marked the first time this season he had struck out three times in back-to-back games. It was his fifth three-strikeout game of the year.
Already in scoring position after a one-out double in the third inning, Inciarte was thrown out trying to steal third. He was first ruled safe by umpire Mike Everitt but Indians manager and former UA Wildcat Terry Francona challenged the call, which was overturned after a 46-second review, snapping the Diamondbacks’ run of eight straight successful stolen base attempts.
STAT OF THE GAME
1: The number of hits the Diamondbacks had with runners in scoring position and it came with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning on Montero’s single to center
HE SAID IT
“I knew I had to try to get deeper into the game just because the bullpen was spent,” Anderson said.
“Just didn’t do my job tonight. I got to get better next time.”
• Bourn hit a leadoff triple down the right field line in both the first and third innings and scored one batter later each time; they were his sixth and seventh three-base hits of the season, fourth-most in baseball
• Goldschmidt has worked at least one free pass in a season-high five straight games while his 21 walks this month are a club record for June
• Kluber improved to 6-0 with a 2.29 ERA (10 ER in 39.1 IP), 40 strikeouts and three walks in six career interleague games
• Chris Owings returned to the starting lineup after missing the previous three games because of ankle and shoulder issues
The Diamondbacks left immediately after the game for San Diego, where they’ll enjoy the day off on Thursday before beginning a three-game series against the Padres on Friday, June 27, the start of an 11-day, nine-game road trip.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Brandon McCarthy (1-10, 5.38) gets the call in the opener. The veteran right-hander has struggled this season with just the one win, which came against the Padres back on May 3. He’s lost four of his last five starts.
One-time teammate Tyson Ross is the opposition. He and McCarthy played together in Oakland. Ross (6-7, 3.22) has dealt with his own struggles, especially as of late, losing three of the last four times he’s stepped on the mound.
The Diamondbacks are 4-2 against the Padres this season.