PHOENIX — Maybe this wasn’t the best time for the St. Louis Cardinals to come to town.
When the Arizona Diamondbacks opened this series with the NL Central leaders on Monday, they sat one game above .500, had just rattled off four consecutive wins and were within striking distance of first place in the NL West. Since then, they’ve dropped three straight to the Cardinals, who boast the best record in baseball. And for the year, Arizona is now 0-6 against St. Louis.
Oh, and there’s still one more meeting to go.
Paul Goldschmidt homered and Patrick Corbin bounced back with a fine performance on the mound, but the D-backs couldn’t solve John Lackey. The end result was a 3-1 defeat at the hands of St. Louis in front of 17,572 fans at Chase Field on Wednesday night. With the loss, Chip Hale’s squad drops to 62-64. More importantly, they’re now 7.5 games back of the Dodgers for the division lead.
-Goldschmidt’s first inning homer was his 25th of the season, and he absolutely obliterated it. Estimates had it traveling 482 feet to left center.
-Corbin got out of a potential jam in the third, with runners on first and second and only one out. He snagged the ball off the bat of Jhonny Peralta and fired to Nick Ahmed at second. Ahmed made the catch, tagged the bag then fired to first in mid-air to turn the double play as Tommy Pham was running into him.
-Corbin’s performance tonight would normally earn him a win. He scattered three hits over six innings while striking out seven, but Arizona just couldn’t get him any run support. His one “mistake” was a change-up that former D-back Mark Reynolds knocked over the left field wall to tie the game in the fifth. Other than that, the 26-year-old lefty was dialed in.
-Arizona nearly manufactured a run in the second inning… for St. Louis. First, Corbin committed a throwing error on a slow roller off the bat of Yadier Molina, allowing the Cards’ catcher to reach first. Then he threw a pitch in the dirt that Jarrod Saltalamacchia blocked. Problem is, Saltalamacchia then fired the ball under the glove of Aaron Hill as Molina advanced to second base. Corbin retired the next two batters in order to escape the inning unscathed though.
-David Peralta just missed catching Kolten Wong’s RBI double in the seventh inning. As it turned out, that proved to be the game-winning hit for St. Louis.
-The Diamondbacks hit into three double plays in the first five innings — not the best way to win a low-scoring game against a team like the Cardinals.
-Following Saltalamacchia’s double in the fourth, Arizona managed just one hit the rest of the way.
-Peralta fouled a pitch right into the ground by home plate in the bottom of the ninth, and the ball chopped back up and clipped him in the face. Fortunately, he was able to shake it off — to the point where he even stayed in the game.
STAT OF THE GAME
0: Number of wins the Diamondbacks have mustered in six tries against the Cardinals this season. They’ll get one last crack at St. Louis on Thursday.
HE SAID IT
“He [Lackey] obviously got us out… but we hit the ball extremely hard tonight. Our outs were loud. I felt like we swung the bats well. We swung the bats well enough to win tonight, we just couldn’t find any holes and their outfielders were tracking down a lot of balls near the fence.” – D-backs manager Chip Hale
– Wednesday’s contest lasted just 2:35. If Major League Baseball wants to speed up the games, maybe they should just have Corbin and Lackey pitch every night.
The Diamondbacks will look to salvage a win in this series when the two clubs meet for a fourth and final time at Chase Field on Thursday evening. Rubby De La Rosa will take the mound for Arizona, while St. Louis counters with Carlos Martinez. First pitch is slated for 6:40 p.m., with pregame coverage beginning at 6:00 on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
De La Rosa (11-5) has been on a roll of late, going 5-0 over his last seven starts. In that stretch, he has posted a 2.54 ERA while striking out 26 over 46 innings. His 11 wins lead all D-backs pitchers and have him tied with Max Scherzer and Matt Harvey for eighth in the National League. Thursday will mark his first meeting with the Cardinals this season, and just the second of his career.