D-backs squander chances in 10-inning loss to Giants
PHOENIX — Good pitch or good at-bat.
According to Arizona Diamondbacks closer Brad Boxberger it was the former, sort of. Regardless, it was that one pitch, a changeup, that proved to be the difference in the ballgame.
“Right pitch, just left it up and he didn’t miss it,” Boxberger said.
Brandon Belt’s 10th-inning, two-run home run lifted the San Francisco Giants past the D-backs, 4-3, in front of an announced crowd of 16,976 at Chase Field on Wednesday.
The three-game series is even at a game apiece.
Boxberger (0-1) had not allowed a run in seven previous appearances. It was a non-save situation, however.
Boxberger entered a 2-2 game in the 10th inning and promptly allowed a leadoff single to Andrew McCutheon. He then retired the next two batters before Belt belted a 3-2 pitch over the right field fence.
It was Belt’s 100th career home run, and it helped to snap the Giants’ four-game losing streak.
The D-backs never led in this one. They played catch-up from the sixth inning on.
Only after Giants starter Chris Stratton exited the game did the D-backs’ bats really come alive.
And they had their chances.
The D-backs scored single runs in the eighth, ninth and 10th innings but stranded either the go-ahead or game-winning run at third base each time.
“Hitting with men in scoring position is a very difficult chore,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “I know that we had the game on the line a couple of times and didn’t execute but these guys have been consistent with their at-bats and we just got beat tonight. Good pitchers made some good pitches at the right time and beat some really great hitters.”
With his third strikeout of the game — a swing-and-miss by Stratton on a 94.5 mph fastball to end the second inning — Robbie Ray became the fastest left-handed starting pitcher to reach the 600-strikeout plateau in terms of innings pitched (508.2). He accomplished the mark in the third-fewest games (96) by a southpaw, trailing only Herb Score (87) and Frank Tanana (95).
Faced with runners in scoring position in both the second and third innings, Ray was able to escape with no damage. He retired three straight, including a pair of strikeouts, with runners on first and second base in the second; and then struck out Belt with the bases loaded in the third. Combined, the Giants went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position in those two innings.
An error charged to Nick Ahmed with two outs in the fifth inning was overturned after the D-backs challenged the call at first base. McCutchen was signaled safe, beating the throw from Ahmed, who initially dropped the line drive, but upon further review (which lasted 76 seconds), Paul Goldschmidt’s sweep tag caught the back foot of McCutchen for the final out.
It wasn’t until the eighth inning that the D-backs strung back-to-back hits off Stratton. Ahmed led off with a double and Dyson followed with a triple that cut the Giants lead in half, 2-1. That was it for Stratton, and unfortunately for the D-backs that, too, was it for them. Pinch hitter Chris Owings popped up to the catcher and Ketel Marte hit into an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play.
Coming into the game, Evan Longoria had reached base safely three times in five career plate appearances against Ray. Make that now six times in eight career plate appearances. Longoria doubled in the second, walked (on four pitches) in the third and homered in the sixth; the latter of which was his third of the season. He clubbed an 84.1 mph slider over the fence in left field to put the Giants in front, 2-0.
Before Peralta reached on a two-base error by left fielder Hunter Pence with two outs in the sixth inning, Stratton had retired 13 straight D-backs hitters. Of those 13, five were strikeout victims including Alex Avila, who twice went down swinging. Goldschmidt and Pollock also struck out. Stratton entered the game with more strikeouts recorded (11) than hits allowed (10) in his previous three starts.
The D-backs wasted a great scoring opportunity in the seventh inning. Goldschmidt hit a leadoff double—his third double of the season—and then was left stranded there three batters later. Pollock struck out looking, Daniel Descalso flew out to right field and Avila struck out looking; the latter of which saw Avila get ahead in the count 3-0 before taking a called strike three on a 3-2 slider.
In the eighth inning, the D-backs failed to drive the runner home from third base with no outs. In the ninth, they failed to do so with one out. Goldschmidt and Pollock led off with back-to-back doubles; the latter of which tied the game at 2. Pollock then advanced to third on a Descalso fly out to deep center field. Avila struck out, Ahmed walked and Dyson grounded out 3-1 to end the threat and move the game into extra innings.
STAT OF THE GAME
4-for-16: The D-backs batted .250 with runners in scoring position
HE SAID IT
“It’s a little unfair to kind of locate three or four AB’s in a vacuum,” Goldschmidt said, referring to the late-game execution, or lack thereof. “We all know this game is meant to be played over a long period of time so I think for that to be thought about because of a couple of ABs — that honestly could’ve even been really good at-bats, I don’t know; we’d have to go back and look at them and analyze them — that’s probably not the route I’d go.”
Ray threw a first-pitch strike to 14-of-26 batters faced; plus, he reached a 3-ball count six times.
Boxberger snapped a 14-game scoreless streak dating back to last season; September 9, 2017.
Peralta finished 3-for-5 with an RBI double, extending his hitting streak to seven straight games.
Avila struck out four times in the same game for the second time this season (April 5 at St. Louis).
Descalso made two nice diving plays at third base, including one that started a 5-4-3 double play.
With a first-pitch temperature of 81 degrees, the game was played with the roof and panels open.
The series concludes with Zack Greinke taking the mound. He’ll be opposed by left-hander Ty Blach in game three of the three-game set on Thursday, April 19. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.
Greinke (1-1) is coming off his first win of the season. He beat the Dodgers at Dodgers Stadium on April 13, allowing four runs on five hits, including two home runs, with one walk and seven strikeouts in 6.1 innings.
For his career, Greinke is 11-2 in 17 starts against the Giants.
Meanwhile, Blach (1-2) will be looking for his first victory since Opening Day. On that day, he beat Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers. Since then, however, he’s lost two of his last three starts, including his most recent appearance, a 5-1 setback at San Diego.
Blach has faced the D-back four times in his career, but just one of those appearances was a start.