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Sedona Red Recap: Anthony Banda struggles in D-backs’ loss to Astros

Arizona Diamondbacks' Anthony Banda throws a pitch against the Houston Astros during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — The first inning of Anthony Banda’s fourth major league start on Tuesday seemed fine. He stranded a leadoff single and the D-backs went to bat.

The innings after that went very differently.

The Houston Astros (73-46) sent all nine hitters to the plate in the second inning and plated five runs in a frame that included three doubles, a single, a triple and a wild pitch. In the third inning, Houston tacked on two more when Banda hit a batter, intentionally walked another and then gave up a two-RBI double to Astros pitcher Brad Peacock.

It was Peacock’s 17th MLB plate appearance.

The early deficit for the D-backs (66-53) was too much to overcome, and Arizona went on to lose the final game of the home stand, 9-4, in front of 16,935 fans.

“We were playing uphill baseball the whole way,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “I think Anthony never really found a rhythm, made some mistakes to a very, very good offensive team. They’re going to punish you and make you pay for those mistakes.”

Banda’s final line on the day: 4.0 innings, nine hits, eight runs (all earned) three walks (one intentional) and three strikeouts. He also hit a batter.

“When you don’t establish inside to a really good hitting team — arguably the best hitting team — you get those little bloop hits,” Banda said. “I’m not taking anything away from [the Astros], they’re obviously where they’re at because of what they do. But it’s unacceptable and you learn from it and you move on.”

For the Astros, Peacock was perfect through three innings, but the D-backs suddenly strung together five straight base hits on the right-hander to start the fourth. They drew an RBI walk and had the bases loaded with one out, but Chris Herrmann and Gregor Blanco (pinch-hitting for Banda) each struck out to end the threat.

In the fifth, Paul Goldschmidt drove in A.J. Pollock on a double (he reached third on the throw home), and just like that, the D-backs had cut their 8-0 deficit in half to 8-4.

Lovullo called upon just Silvino Bracho and J.J. Hoover to do the pitching for the rest of the day. The tandem combined for five innings, one run (a ninth-inning solo home run on Hoover by Max Stassi), four hits, a walk and five strikeouts.

THE GOOD

– Bracho, called up on Monday to replace the optioned Jake Barrett, pitched two full innings of relief on Tuesday, the first of which he struck out the side. He allowed a total of two hits and no walks.

– In his first game leading off for the D-backs, Ketel Marte went 2-for-5 with a run scored. He has now reached base safely in 15 straight games, which is a career-high. He’s hit .365 in that span.

– Down 8-0 without a hit through three innings, the D-backs mounted a strong offensive showing in the fourth and fifth innings to plate a combined four runs. They cut their deficit in half and sent 14 hitters to the plate over those two frames.

– Considering the starting pitcher gave up eight runs and went four innings, one could consider it some consolation that Lovullo and the D-backs only used two relievers in the game.

THE BAD

– Banda’s eight runs allowed brings his ERA on the season up to 7.32. He’s made just four major league starts, Tuesday being his worst so far.

– Of the 27 outs made by D-backs hitters on Tuesday, a season-high 17 were via the strikeout. The season high for D-backs strikeouts this season had been 15, set on July 21 at Chase Field against Max Scherzer and the Nationals. They struck out 15 times again four days later against the Braves.

– Though they scored three runs in the fourth inning, the D-backs had the bases loaded with one out and struck out twice in a row to leave the runners stranded.

HE SAID IT

“I want to make mention of the two guys that came out of the bullpen — they threw the ball really, really well — Bracho and Hoover. Five innings, one run — a solo home run — you can’t ask for anything more.” — Lovullo

UP NEXT

The D-backs will travel to Houston for two more games against the Astros. On Wednesday, it will be Houston’s Charlie Morton against Arizona’s Taijuan Walker.

Morton, a 10-year veteran and 33-year-old right-hander, has a 3.83 ERA for the first-place Astros this season. It will be his third start against a National League club this year.

Walker, meanwhile, is 6-6 in his 19 starts with Arizona this year, carrying a 3.76 ERA. Last time out, he faced the Cubs and allowed five runs (four earned) over five innings with three walks and two punchouts.

Follow Matt Layman on Twitter

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