ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Filling in for Walker, D-backs’ Matt Koch impresses in loss to San Diego

Apr 20, 2018, 10:37 PM | Updated: Apr 21, 2018, 8:21 am
Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Matt Koch throws against the San Diego Padres during the firs...

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Matt Koch throws against the San Diego Padres during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, April 20, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — With Taijuan Walker scheduled for Tommy John surgery, the door was open for a young pitcher to step up and step in to the Arizona Diamondbacks starting rotation.

Right-hander Matt Koch may have just kicked in the door.

Making just his third-career start, Koch, 27, made it a quality one. He held the San Diego Padres to one run on two hits with two walks and four strikeouts over a career-high-tying six innings.

Koch was one of the few bright spots for the D-backs, who dropped the series opener to the Padres 4-1 in front of an announced crowd of 24,902 at Chase Field on Friday.

Koch did not factor in the decision.

The Padres scored three ninth-inning runs and snapped a three-game losing streak.

As good as Koch was, his effort was overshadowed some — OK, a lot — by Tyson Ross, who no-hit the D-backs for 7.2 innings. Christian Walker broke up the no-no with a game-tying double. It would be the D-backs’ only hit of the game.

San Diego remains the only active MLB franchise without a no-hitter in its history.

Ross, who turns 31 on Sunday, posted a season-high 10 strikeouts in what was his first start at Chase Field since 2015.

For Koch, the one run he allowed came on a solo home run to Franchy Cordero in the fourth inning, which put the Padres ahead until the D-backs tied it in the eighth. It was Koch’s only mistake of the night.

Asked after the game whether Koch deserved another start, manager Torey Lovullo smiled.

“We’re going to probably go in and talk about it right now,” he said. “Certainly my vote will be yes based on what I saw. He attacked the zone and did a great job.”

THE GOOD

Chalk up another manager’s challenge win for the D-backs. With one out in the first inning, Jarrod Dyson, who drew a four-pitch walk, was called out attempting to steal second base by umpire Chad Whitson. The D-backs challenged and the call was overturned following a 1:32 review. The D-backs are now 7-for-8 in instant replay reviews.

After allowing the home run to Cordero, Koch retired seven of the final eight batters faced, including two more strikeouts which doubled his overall total to four. The lone base runner was Jose Pirela who reached safely to lead off the sixth inning on a fielding error by Nick Ahmed. Koch finished with 10 ground ball outs and four fly ball outs.

It took 27 plate appearances before the D-backs recorded their first hit. Walker laced a 2-0 slider over the head of the center fielder for an RBI double as Deven Marrero scored all the way from first base to tie the game at 1 with two outs in the eighth inning. Walker had been 0-for-5 with four strikeouts since being recalled from Triple-A Reno on April 8.

THE BAD

First time through the order against Ross and D-backs hitters struck out six times, five of them swinging. In fact, Ahmed was the lone holdout as he took a called third strike, frozen by an 85.4 mph slider. David Peralta (groundout) and Ketel Marte (flyout) were the only players to put the ball in play.

A 92-mph fastball over the heart of the plate and Cordero crushed it. The 1-0 offering from Koch hit the video board in straightaway center field, maybe a fourth of the way up on the far right side. It was Cordero’s third homer of the season, traveled 489 feet and it gave the Padres a 1-0 lead with two outs in the fourth inning.

Runner on third base with less than two outs and, yes, the D-backs failed to score. It was the eighth inning. Ahmed drew a leadoff walk, took second on a wild pitch and stole third. That brought the infield in with one out. Marrero grounded a ball to second and the throw home easily beat Ahmed.

Pitching for the third day in a row for the first time this season, Brad Boxberger failed to retire any of the three batters he faced in the ninth inning. Wil Myers, Eric Hosmer and Christian Villanueva each singled — none of them hit sharply — and each scored, thanks in large part to a pair of D-backs fielding errors.

STAT OF THE GAME

1: The D-backs had just one hit; it was the 29th one-hitter in Padres history

HE SAID IT

“The fastball-slider combination and the slider in swing-counts kept us off balance all night,” Lovullo said, referring to Ross’ effectiveness.

NOTED

Koch threw a first-pitch strike to 12-of-22 batters faced; in addition, he reached a three-ball count five times.

Peralta finished 0-for-3 with a walk, thus ending what was an eight-game hitting streak (.394; 13-for-33).

Ahmed committed a pair of fielding errors, in the sixth and ninth innings. He has three errors this season.

The Cordero home run measured 489 feet, the longest in the Majors this season, according to Statcast.

With a first-pitch temperature of 77 degrees, the game was played with the roof open but panels closed.

UP NEXT

Looking to get back in the win column, Zack Godley gets the ball in game two of the three-game series on Saturday, April 21. He’ll be opposed by left-hander Clayton Richard. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

Godley (2-1) won his first two starts, beating the Dodgers and Giants, allowing one run in 14 combined innings, but dropped his most recent decision. He was bounced from that outing at Dodger Stadium after he got roughed up for six runs, five earned, on five hits and six walks in four innings.

In six career starts against the Padres, Godley is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA and 27 strikeouts.

Meanwhile, Richard (1-1) is set to make his fifth start of the season. He hasn’t pitched past the fifth inning in any of his previous three appearances and has given up at least four runs in each of those outings, the last two of which has seen him surrender four total home runs.

This will be Richard’s 18th career start against the D-backs.

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