Hard to win when the starting pitcher puts the team in an early hole.
A four-run first inning proved to be left-hander Robbie Ray’s undoing and ultimately the Arizona Diamondbacks as they lost for the second time in as many days to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Jhonny Peralta, Jason Heyward and Yadier Molina each had two RBI, while Tommy Pham finished with three hits and three runs scored in a 9-1 victory in front of an announced Tuesday night crowd of 18,720 at Chase Field.
Ray (3-10), who lost his fifth straight start, lasted a season-low three innings in suffering his worst outing of the year. He was charged with six runs total on five hits with five walks and three strikeouts.
The runs and walks were both season-highs.
Meanwhile, Cardinals starter Jamie Garcia held the D-backs to one run on four hits—two off the bat of Paul Goldschmidt—to win for the fifth time in five career starts against Arizona.
Garcia (6-4) struck out six and walked one.
The Cardinals have won three in a row.
The loss dropped the D-backs a game below .500 (62-63) and 6.5 games back of the first-place Dodgers, who won at Cincinnati, 5-1.
Just another night at the office for Nick Ahmed, who makes the spectacular play seem routine. With one out in the second inning, Ahmed flashed the leather, going full-extension diving into the hole to keep Peralta’s ground ball from going into center field for a base hit. Later in the ninth inning, Ahmed fielded a slow grounder and then threw on the run to retire Pham for out number-three. Ahmed finished with four assists.
After a first-inning walk—his 96th of the season, three shy of his career-best 99 in 2013—Goldschmidt doubled in the fourth and singled in the sixth before being pulled in the top of the eighth in favor of Jake Lamb. Goldschmidt is now batting .404 (19-for-47) with eight doubles, seven RBI, nine runs scored and 17 walks in his last 16 home games.
Down to his last at-bat, Aaron Hill singled through the hole at shortstop to extend his home-hitting streak to seven straight games (.476, 10-for-21). Earlier, Hill hit a four-inning sacrifice fly to drive in Goldschmidt for what turned out to be the D-backs lone run of the game.
Not the start Ray had in mind. He faced nine batters in a 44-pitch, 25-minute first inning in which the Cardinals scored four runs on four hits. Heyward plated two, lining the first offering he saw into center field for a one-out single. Molina followed with a run-scoring double. Then Kolten Wong, after a walk to Stephen Piscotty, capped the scoring with an RBI base hit.
Control was once again an issue for Ray. He walked two batters in both the first and third innings and finished with a season-high five. Ray’s 11 walks over his last three starts are one more than his previous six starts combined. Oh, and he also hit a batter.
Basic fundamental baseball teaches an outfielder to hit the cutoff man. Twice Yasmany Tomas failed in that effort, first in the opening inning and then later in the fourth. In both instances, Tomas’ overthrow allowed the Cardinals’ base runners to advance 90 feet ending at second and third.
A 10-straight scoreless appearance streak ended and ended with a thud for Addison Reed, who surrendered two runs on three hits in his sixth-inning of work. He had not been charged with a run since July 29, covering a span of 13 innings. They were also the first runs allowed in five career appearances against the Cardinals.
STAT OF THE GAME
8: The margin of defeat, marking the second-most lopsided loss of the season for the D-backs, who hadn’t lost by eight or more runs since May 11.
HE SAID IT
“That first inning I couldn’t command my fastball, I couldn’t command anything,” said Ray, his beard gone after a post-game shave. “I mean this is the most I’ve walked guys all year. When you get behind in the count on guys, especially a team like this who is in first place, they make you pay for it and that’s what happened.”
Ray has now allowed at least three runs in five straight starts, during which time his ERA is 7.03 (19 ER in 24.1 IP)
Peter Bourjos’ first-pitch, seventh-inning solo home run was the first pinch-hit home run of his career
Evan Marshall returned to Chase Field—and watched the game with his wife, Allie, from a suite—after taking a line drive to the head earlier this month playing at Triple-A Reno
D-backs announced probable starters Chase Anderson, Jhoulys Chacin and Robbie Ray for the upcoming series against the Oakland A’s
For the 10th time since returning from Tommy John surgery, left-hander Patick Corbin takes the mound as he gets the start in game three of the four-game series on Wednesday, August 26.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Corbin (3-3) is coming off a two-inning, four-run effort in which he allowed eight hits to the 12 batters he faced at Cincinnati. The D-backs, though, won that game 5-4 and have won each of Corbin’s last three outings.
In four home starts, Corbin is 1-2 with a 3.13 ERA (8 ER in 23.0 IP).
This will be his first career appearance against the Cardinals, who will counter with 10-game winner John Lackey.
The 36-year-old right-hander snapped a streak of 12-straight quality starts in his last turn through the rotation with four runs allowed over six innings in a 10-8 loss at San Diego.
Aside from that performance, Lackey (10-8) has been pretty consistent this season, giving up two runs or less in 11 of his last 13 starts and three runs or less in 21 of 25 starts.
He last faced the D-backs in 2010, earning an 8-5 win with Boston.
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