PHOENIX — Optimism from the Diamondbacks’ come-from-behind Opening Day win lingered with Arizona and San Francisco taking Monday off.
Patrick Corbin’s brief start two days later didn’t quite wash away the D-backs’ good feelings after Sunday’s 6-5 win over the Giants, either. But by the middle of the fifth inning Tuesday, those positive vibes had evaporated quite quickly.
A five-run fifth inning turned a 3-2 Giants lead into a six-run advantage and sealed the Diamondbacks’ 8-4 loss Tuesday at Chase Field.
Like the bullpen’s three earned runs allowed following Zack Greinke’s short appearance in the opener, it was the relief effort that struggled in the second game of 2017.
Replacing Corbin after his four innings and with Arizona trailing 3-2, D-backs reliever Randall Delgado allowed five runs — four earned — in 0.2 innings. He gave up a solo shot to the Giants’ Brandon Crawford on a high fastball to begin the fifth frame. Two singles by the Giants followed and with runners on the corners and an out on the board, a fielding error by Arizona shortstop Chris Owings led to another San Francisco run.
“We liked the idea that Randall was going to be able to walk the ball around against some different type of hitters. We just didn’t play a good inning,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said.
“We didn’t execute at times in several different areas, and it cost us. It cost us in some key moments.”
A two-RBI double by Gorkys Hernandez and an RBI double by Brandon Belt later, the D-backs trailed 8-2.
So much for building on a promising Opening Day.
Prior to that fateful fifth, Corbin’s outing was inefficient but he did leave Arizona in decent shape. The lefty threw 87 pitches, 57 for strikes, and allowed seven hits and three runs — only two were earned due to a Brandon Drury error leading to a run in the top of the third. Corbin also had two walks and one strikeout.
“Not the best results there. They made me work from the get-go,” Corbin said. “Second inning I think I threw 33 pitches, so they made me work through some tough at-bats.”
It wasn’t all bad news for the Arizona pitching staff.
After Delgado’s fifth-inning struggles, Archie Bradley’s 3.1 innings of seven-strikeout, scoreless ball lent more evidence he can act as a band-aid out of the bullpen.
“He saved us tonight,” Lovullo said. “He saved us. He allowed us to have a full bullpen for tomorrow’s ballgame, and that’s what a good teammate does.”
Meanwhile, the D-backs’ offense eventually made Giants starter Johnny Cueto work.
Paul Goldschmidt’s leadoff solo home run in the third inning pulled Arizona within 3-1, and Arizona used that to turn the game for the time being.
After Goldschmidt’s homer, Jake Lamb was walked, and Drury and Owings followed with one-out singles, the latter scoring Lamb and bringing the D-backs within 3-2 before things got ugly.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Lamb’s home run to the pool brought Arizona within 8-4. Cueto finished out the frame, allowing four earned runs and two homers in his own brief appearance.
Two games into the year, Lovullo was asked if it was concerning that Arizona’s first two starters haven’t reached the sixth inning.
“I think if it’s mid-May we’re going to press them a little bit and get them closer to the 100-pitch mark. I think in Patrick’s case we were just going for broke and we were trying to tie the game,” Lovullo said. “I think both could have pitched a little bit deeper into the game. It’s all a process. I know these guys will catch some steam and do what they’re supposed to do.”
Two outs into the bottom of the third, Pollock ran up Cueto’s pitch count with a nine-pitch at-bat culminating in a single. That seemingly carried over into two-run fourth and fifth innings for the Diamondbacks.
Bradley struck out Buster Posey looking with a 97 mph inside fastball — perhaps too inside for a strike — and then got Crawford to pop out to strand a runner on third base in the top of the seventh. Bradley’s fastball clocked in as high as 98 mph. Bradley allowed three hits and walked one in his scoreless outing.
Reliever Tom Wilhelmsen closed for the D-backs, going 1.0 innings with two strikeouts on just 11 pitches.
The Giants’ Eduardo Nunez led off the second with a single, and Joe Panik was walked before Cueto pulled back from a bunting motion to hit a chopper past Drury, who was covering for an inching-up Goldschmidt. That loaded the bases with an out before Hernandez’s pop-fly dropped in shallow right field to give San Francisco a 2-0 lead. David Peralta’s sliding catch of a liner by Pence — off Corbin’s 50th pitch — ended the second.
Drury misplayed a ground ball at second base to put Posey on first to lead off the top of the third inning. Brandon Crawford doubled off the left field wall to follow, and San Francisco scored an unearned run on a sac fly by Chris Marrero.
Corbin sat at 50 pitches after two innings, 69 after three and 87 after four.
HE SAID IT
“We were able to just attack guys and get away with some stuff. I was throwing pretty hard tonight. Hopefully it’s not a flash in the pan, hopefully it’s something here to stay,” Bradley said. “It was an unfamiliar feeling. I knew what my job was tonight and what they expected of me.”
– The Seattle Mariners claimed reliever Evan Marshall off waivers on Tuesday.
– Lovullo said reliever Jake Barrett, who is on the disabled list and working back from shoulder inflammation this spring, threw a bullpen session on Sunday and will pitch a live batting practice on Wednesday. “Beyond tomorrow, I’m not sure what we’ll do,” the manager said.
– Shortstop Chris Owings hit in the 2-hole for the Sunday Opening Day game against left-handed pitcher Madison Bumgarner. Against Cueto on Tuesday, it was Owings batting seventh and left-handed David Peralta in the second spot. Those two will likely switch spots in the order depending on the handedness of the opposing pitcher, Lovullo said.
STAT OF THE GAME
847: Goldschmidt’s home run tied him with Steve Finley for second place on the franchise’s all-time hit total list with 847 hits.
Taijuan Walker makes his D-backs debut on Wednesday facing off against left-hander Matt Moore for San Francisco.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. and the game will air on ESPN Phoenix 620 AM.