Sedona Red Recap: Bullpen falters, D-backs suffer rare back-to-back losses
PHOENIX — Thursday afternoon’s rubber match with the St. Louis Cardinals started off well enough for the Arizona Diamondbacks. They took a 1-0 lead in the third, they managed to tie it back up in the fourth after falling behind 2-1 and they even regained control with a 3-2 advantage in the sixth.
Then the wheels came off.
Patrick Corbin exited the game after holding the Cardinals to two runs over six innings – exactly what Torey Lovullo needed from his young starter. But the D-backs’ normally reliable bullpen melted down after that, surrendering three runs in the seventh, then five more in the eighth. When the dust settled, Arizona had fallen by a final of 10-4, in front of 27,603 fans at Chase Field.
Gregor Blanco delivered a pair of extra-base hits, while Paul Goldschmidt and Jake Lamb each chipped in home runs, but it just wasn’t enough. In fact, offense was hard to come by for the D-backs in this one. They managed a total of four hits off of St. Louis starter Lance Lynn, then finally picked up two more with the game out of reach in the ninth.
With the loss, Arizona has now lost two in a row for the first time since a three-game skid against Miami back at the start of the month. They’re still 50-30 on the season, though, and that’s the best mark after 80 games in franchise history. The next two series are particularly big ones, with Colorado coming to town this weekend, and the D-backs traveling to Los Angeles to square off with the Dodgers next week.
– Corbin really was solid in this one, registering his third consecutive start with two runs or less allowed. And that’s good because his next start is slated to come against Clayton Kershaw on July 5.
– Arizona’s first hit of the game was also Ketel Marte’s first hit as a Diamondback. He doubled to left off of Lynn to begin the third inning.
– Two batters later, Blanco ripped one off the center field wall to double Marte home and give Arizona a 1-0 lead.
– With the bases loaded for the Cardinals and no one out in the fourth, Alex Mejia popped out to right field, where David Peralta came up with the catch, then fired a perfect throw home to hold all the runners in place.
– With two outs and two strikes in that same inning, Chris Iannetta saved a run as well, making a great stop behind the plate on a bouncing pitch.
– Goldschmidt’s homer gives him 19 on the year. And Lamb now has 18.
– After taking the lead in the bottom of the third, the D-backs gave it right back just a half inning later. Corbin allowed the first five batters to reach base, surrendering a walk and four singles. But he managed to retire the next three guys and sneak out of the inning with just two runs on the board.
– Rubby De La Rosa nearly dug his way out of a jam in the seventh, working the count to one ball and two strikes on Randal Grichuk, with two outs. But the St. Louis outfielder launched the next pitch over the left field wall for a three-run home run, giving the Cardinals a 5-3 lead.
– Randall Delgado has given Arizona plenty of good innings this season, but he was touched up for five runs in the eighth this afternoon. It should be noted that only one of those five runs was earned, though.
STAT OF THE GAME
3: The number of consecutive quality starts Patrick Corbin has put together since June 16.
HE SAID IT
“The key point here is that our bullpen has risen to several challenges. And when they don’t come through and moments like that happen – once again, like the offense not coming through – it’s a bit startling. So it was a clunker. We throw it out, and we’ll come out here tomorrow.” – Torey Lovullo
– Goldschmidt was robbed of an extra-base hit on a diving catch by St. Louis right fielder Steven Piscotty in the first inning.
The Diamondbacks begin a pivotal, three-game series with the Colorado Rockies at Chase Field on Friday. First pitch is set for 6:40 p.m., with pregame coverage beginning at 6 on 98.7 FM, Arizona’s Sports Station.
Why is this particular series so important? Well, Arizona will enter the weekend with a three and a half game lead over Colorado for second in the NL West. The Rockies have been right in the mix for the division lead all year long, but they’ve been stumbling lately, losing eight straight.
Robbie Ray (8-3, 2.87) will take the mound for Torey Lovullo’s club in the opener, looking to remain red-hot. The D-backs are 7-0 in his last seven starts, and he’s factored into the decision six times over that stretch – posting a 1.29 ERA and fanning 60 opposing batters along the way.
Ray’s 2.87 ERA is tied for third in the National League. And his 119 strikeouts are good for fifth.
Colorado will counter with Jon Gray (0-0, 4.38), who has been out since mid-April with a stress fracture in his left foot. The 25-year old righty is typically one of the Rockies’ top pitchers, but he’s only made three starts this season. His team won all three, but he has yet to earn a decision. In two career starts against Arizona, he’s 0-1 with a 6.57 ERA.