Better, but still not good enough, at least to earn a win.
In his first start following seven appearances in the minors, Trevor Cahill pitched five innings Friday against the Chicago Cubs, allowing three earned runs on four hits. He walked two and struck out three before being lifted for a pinch-hitter with the Arizona Diamondbacks trailing 3-2.
Fortunately for Cahill, his teammates bailed him out.
The Diamondbacks scored twice in the fifth and three times in the sixth. In the sixth frame, Paul Goldschmidt homered, Gerardo Parra hit a sacrifice fly and Didi Gregorius lined a 3-2 pitch the opposite way to single home Mark Trumbo for what proved to be the game-winning run.
The Diamondbacks won game one of the three-game series by a final of 5-4, much to the delight of 32,619 fans at Chase Field.
“It was a good team win,” manager Kirk Gibson said.
For Cahill, who was designated for assignment on June 9 and later accepted the minor league stay, it was his first big league start since April 13.
“Still kind of a work in progress,” he said of the mechanical adjustments he’s made. “Felt good out of the windup, even though I walked a guy. Out of the stretch it doesn’t feel as comfortable, but I’m still making improvements.”
Once Cahill exited the game, the Diamondbacks bullpen stepped up to throw four innings of one-run ball.
Eury De La Rosa earned the win, the first of his MLB career.
Addison Reed worked around a one-out walk in the ninth to nail down his 22nd save.
Throwing a first pitch strike to eight of the first 10 batters he faced, Cahill opened his outing with three scoreless innings, allowing but one hit — a single by the opposing pitcher — and one walk, which was erased with a strike ’em out, throw ’em out double play to end the second inning.
David Peralta accounted for the only two Diamondbacks hits through the first four innings. He doubled with one out in the first and singled to lead off the fourth. Peralta finished 2-for-4, and he is now hitting .404 (19-for-47) with nine RBI in his last 13 games.
After thinking he had been hit on the hand by an inside fastball — the home plate umpire called it a foul ball — Goldschmidt homered just over the right field fence three pitches later in the sixth inning. It was his 17th home run of the season.
With the shift on, Miguel Montero laid down a bunt up the third base line and beat the throw from Luis Valbuena for an infield single in the sixth inning. The NL All-Star catcher has now hit safely in 12 of his last 15 games (.254, 15-for-59).
Twice the Diamondbacks recorded four consecutive hits Friday. They did so in the fifth when they scored two runs off starter Edwin Jackson, and then again in the sixth when they plated three baserunners off of three different Cubs pitchers.
After throwing 34 pitches through three innings, Cahill needed 27 to escape the fourth. Once he finally did, the damage assessment read as follows: one walk and three runs on three hits, including a two-run home run by Anthony Rizzo, who smashed a 2-1 pitch over the pool in right field.
Making his way back to the dugout after a groundout in the eighth inning, Martin Prado exchanged words with home plate umpire Cory Blaser and was ejected, the first of his career. Gibson was also tossed during the argument after coming to the defense of his player.
It might be time to end Aaron Hill’s career as a leadoff hitter: Batting first for the second time this season and the 11th time in his career, Hill went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts, making him a .167 (9-for-54) lifetime hitter in the leadoff spot.
STAT OF THE GAME
4: The number of hits the Diamondbacks recorded with runners in scoring position — all of which came in the fifth and sixth innings when the D-backs made their comeback.
HE SAID IT
“It’s part of the game. There’s a lot of emotions. I think I just overreacted. The most important thing is we won the game. The guys just were messing with me that, ‘Hey, you have to get ejected every day.’ It was a pretty good game,” Prado said of his ejection — his first in 933 career games. “Yeah, I was trying to make it a thousand. I came up short.”
– Cahill threw a first pitch strike to 16 of the 20 batters he faced in five innings of work.
– Gregorius recorded his first multi-RBI game of the season with run-scoring singles in the fifth and sixth innings.
– With one out in the seventh inning, Goldschmidt was issued his 35th walk since June 7, the most in the Majors since that time. He has 56 walks overall this year.
– Every Diamondbacks position player recorded at least one hit, including two hits apiece by Gregorius, Peralta and Prado.
The D-backs’ Wade Miley looks for his third win in as many starts. He gets the call in game two of the three-game series on Saturday, July 19. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 30 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Miley (5-6, 4.18) has won back-to-back starts for only the second time this season, and his last outing may have been his best of the year, as he pitched seven scoreless innings in a 2-0 victory at San Francisco on July 12. He is 2-1 in four career starts against the Cubs.
Fellow left-hander Travis Wood (7-8, 4.96) is the opposition, making his 20th start of the season and second against the Diamondbacks. He beat Arizona on April 21, allowing one run on six hits while striking out a season-high-tying nine batters in seven innings of work.